Hitler's Secret

William Osborne. Scholastic/Chicken House, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-545-49646-9
Screenwriter Osborne makes his fiction debut with a fast-paced historical adventure that sees two teens infiltrating 1941 Bavaria on a vital mission. Austrian Leni and German Otto, both refugees living in England, are tapped to go undercover as part of a desperate attempt to find and retrieve a girl who holds unknown significance to Adolf Hitler. The meaty plot and dialogue-driven prose take the two on an adventure that, however improbable at times, provides abundant intrigue. With one of the Third Reich's top men, the fearsome Reinhard Heydrich, in hot pursuit, Leni and Otto are forced to bite back their anger at the Nazis and terror of being apprehended to complete their mission (rescuing nine-year-old Angelika from a convent). Osborne writes with an eye for the big screen, his story barreling forward with kinetic energy and punctuated by narrow escapes from wartime and natural hazards, but he never loses sight of his main characters' inner workings. Though the narrative skews toward action over rumination, Osborne maintains a balance between the two and delivers a satisfying, slightly bittersweet experience. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 978-0-545-51533-7
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