cover image The Darkest Hour

The Darkest Hour

Caroline Tung Richmond. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-545-80127-0

Teenage girls act as spies for the Allies in this WWII thriller primarily set in Nazi-occupied France. It’s 1943, and 16-year-old Lucie Blaise is an American serving with the Covert Ops unit of the Office of Strategic Services as an agent-in-training. Unfortunately, her lack of cold-blooded ruthlessness threatens to end her career before she can avenge her older brother, a soldier killed in action. When Covert Ops gets wind of a secret German project that could devastate Europe, Lucie and her colleagues must do whatever it takes to obtain vital information and prevent disaster. Trading the alternate history of The Only Thing to Fear for historical fiction set in our world, Richmond delivers a pulse-pounding page-turner featuring an unremittingly tense atmosphere and resourceful, fearless heroines who repeatedly defy death. However, that same tension results in a lack of emotional downtime, and the second half of the story feels rushed and underexplored, as Lucie attempts to escape back to England after being captured. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (July)