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So let me say right up front I think this book is absolutely fabulous... really loved it.

But. There is a chapter* near the end of the book that I think very nearly ruined it... or at best felt like it was written by someone else. It felt completely implausible, lacking in emotion, and out of place. Is it just me? I'm curious if anyone else had a similar reaction (and could, for instance, guess which chapter I'm thinking of.)

*I listened on audio book, so for all I know it's just a section, not a whole chapter.

#1 - March 11, 2013, 09:00 PM
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I also loved this book. I almost put it down at the beginning but am so glad I kept going. I don't remember feeling that way toward the end of the book and I can't remember what part you're talking about.
#2 - March 12, 2013, 04:49 AM

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I have no idea what part you mean.  I loved the ending (if you can love an ending in which all that stuff happens).  I thought it tied everything together in an amazing way. 

Actually, I think I know which part you mean and if I'm right, I disagree.  It was the only possible thing that could happen IMO.
#3 - March 12, 2013, 04:58 AM
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I loved this book and the execution of it, all the way to the end. I'm not sure which part you are talking about, with the voice change. One thing I liked very much, that just as in real life, when emotions are running high, we can do things almost mechanically ... in a detached sort of way. The emotional impact doesn't come until much after.

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#4 - March 12, 2013, 05:19 AM
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No clue what section you are talking about.... but I DIDN'T listen to the audio. Still, if there was a problem with any section, I'd say it was the fault of the reader, not the fault of the writer. Because all the parts that you MIGHT be talking about (no spoilers)... really worked for me in the written book version.
#5 - March 12, 2013, 06:27 AM
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 06:29 AM by literaticat »
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... just as in real life, when emotions are running high, we can do things almost mechanically ... in a detached sort of way. The emotional impact doesn't come until much after.

This was my impression about the section I think you're referring to. I was taken aback by the coldness of it, then realized that's probably how it really would have happened. (I almost put the book down in the beginning, too, and am VERY glad I stuck with it. What an amazing piece of writing.)
#6 - March 12, 2013, 07:31 AM
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Okay, I'm SO glad a couple of you admit to almost putting it down in the beginning because I DID stop reading around mid-book.  :-\

Obviously ALL THE STUFF must happen in the last half of the book because I felt like I was getting very little besides a war/aviation history lesson. I rarely put a book down - I've maybe stopped reading a book partway though four times in my life, and I'm a pretty big reader. Not to say that history might not be interesting or wonderful, it just wasn't for me.

Given all the comments above, maybe I should try picking it back up??
#7 - March 12, 2013, 08:16 AM

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Given all the comments above, maybe I should try picking it back up??

YES!!! You will be amazed by the second half.
#8 - March 12, 2013, 09:08 AM
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Sacha, my husband complained about the whole aviation history part ... but I love this kind of stuff and ate it up. So did my son. You will be richly rewarded if you pick it back up again. And there's much food for thought ...
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#9 - March 12, 2013, 09:11 AM
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 09:25 AM by Vijaya »
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I too put it down in the beginning. I just was not sucked in at all, not like I was with BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY from the very beginning, and I love historical fiction. *Maybe* I'll give it another try... It just seems odd that everyone says about it, "It gets really good later!" Because that's seldom the sign of a book that works.
#10 - March 12, 2013, 09:11 AM
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 09:13 AM by mrh »
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I loved this book, even though, as others have mentioned, it takes a while to become completely pulled into it. I can't think of a chapter near the end that rang false. By that point I was utterly riveted.

When I saw this thread, I was sure the topic would be age range, since as much as I loved this book, I thought it should've been classified as adult rather than YA.
#11 - March 12, 2013, 09:42 AM
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I also liked the second half much more than the first half.
#12 - March 12, 2013, 10:30 AM
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Okay, I don't think the section I had trouble with was what you think I had trouble with.

I did not for a minute believe the meeting and conversation with L'Engle. Across the street from the CDB. I might be persuaded by the awesome writing to believe that someone who was not SS, but was just "an employee," was as involved as she was in the interrogations and the carbolic acid mixing and so forth, and even that this person would ultimately betray her country and her employer... but I don't believe she'd go the further, incredible risk of meeting and talking about it with Maddie. And almost everything in that section is "here's a clear explanation of things that the author has already told you but you might not have been able to piece together." And the writing in that section, to me, seemed flat and expository and forced; I wondered if the editor "made" Elizabeth put it in. So that whole section seemed unnecessary as well as unbelievable to me. (And one of the things I *loved* about the book before then was how it left room for the reader to piece things together between the first part and the second part, so it was a major disappointment when a big chunk of the last several chapters just spelled those things out. Not quite but almost condescending.)

But not to anyone else, obviously! I still love the book. (And interesting... I thought the first half was considerably more riveting than the second half. Different strokes, I guess.)
#13 - March 12, 2013, 10:39 AM
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 10:42 AM by Joni »
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Hee hee ... yes, I thought about that part too, but I didn't mind all the clarifications. After that emotional ride, I was quite happy with it.

Vijaya
#14 - March 12, 2013, 11:54 AM
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(And interesting... I thought the first half was considerably more riveting than the second half. Different strokes, I guess.)


Yes, me too! Until it got toward the ending, of course, when "it" all comes down.
#15 - March 12, 2013, 12:06 PM
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I did not read this like historical fiction -- not the way I would say, Alan Furst’s WWII dramas or Ian McEwan’s The Innocent. I read it as teen entertainment set in a make believe WWII, the way Tarantino made fast and loose with fact in Inglourious Basterds (even the spelling is fabricated). In fact, I was uncomfortable with much of the violence and torture, not because it was too graphic, but because it seemed to trivialize the real suffering and the immeasurable evil that was Nazi Germany. Likewise, the action shoot-out sequences struck me as convincing as a bad video game.  I do think one of the reasons the book starts out slow is that Wein has to build a plausible case for the complete implausibility of the second half of the book. I think the success of the book shows that she’s succeeded in doing so for the relative naïve teen reader. This is not a book like, Pratchett’s Dodger (another Printz finalist), that is likely to please adult crossover audiences, particularly those who have had exposure to the serious literature and nonfiction of WWII.
#16 - March 12, 2013, 12:11 PM
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 06:59 AM by LTMadison »
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This is not a book like, Pratchett’s Dodger (another Printz finalist), that is likely to please adult crossover audiences who have had exposure to the serious literature and nonfiction of WWII.

I've read a great deal about British intelligence support of the Resistance Movements in occupied Europe and wondered if I should read this book...maybe it wouldn't be such a good choice for me, then...?
#17 - March 12, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Very interesting points, LT.
#18 - March 12, 2013, 02:23 PM
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I've read a great deal about British intelligence support of the Resistance Movements in occupied Europe and wondered if I should read this book...maybe it wouldn't be such a good choice for me, then...?

Well, *I* think you should read it.  Who are you going to listen to, huh, huh, huh?

(Just kidding.)
#19 - March 12, 2013, 02:54 PM
VAMPIRINA BALLERINA series (Disney-Hyperion)
SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY (Abrams)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

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#20 - March 12, 2013, 03:35 PM
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Thanks for the convo about this, folks.
#21 - March 12, 2013, 08:28 PM
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