History that pulls you in and won't let go.


Hanneke, a Dutch citizen, knows she should only care for herself and her family and not meddle in anyone’s business. Her job is to deliver items bought on the black market to their buyers. She earns good money and can support herself and her parents. This isn't her chosen profession but as the war continues, she has few choices. Stopping the Nazis is hard. Many have lost their lives, including Bas, Hanneke's first love. He went to the front lines to help defend the Netherlands and he was killed.  Even though she didn’t know what to do, she knew that keeping to herself was the best option. But things can change, just like that.

Mrs. Janssen, one of her buyers, asked Hanneke for a favor. She asked Hanneke to find Mirjam Roodvelt, a Jewish girl whom she had kept hidden for the past three weeks. Mirjam’s family had been shot in the middle of the night, and only the girl escaped. Hanneke knew the risk in taking on this challenge, but she did it anyway. She gave it her all because she has always wanted to help people, and this is the kind of thing her Bas would do. Finding a missing person isn't easy in the best of circumstances, but add in the Nazi threat and not knowing the whole truth? This may be nearly impossible. 

BTSYA / Teen Reader (13):
Girl in the Blue Coat is a roller coaster! It had twists and turns no one, not even I, could expect. The writing is wonderful and Hesse not only kept me on my toes, but I kept wanting to read more. The story unfolds slowly, never revealing too much, but it all adds up at the end. I found it interesting how all the characters were crafted, and I was interested in all of them, main characters, side characters, and even characters that only appeared a few times. Some had unexpected sides to them, and I was in as much shock as Hanneke! 

I wasn't expecting this type of plot, as even just one page could change the way I thought was to happen. I also noticed how Hesse kept the originality of the Netherlands within food, places, language, and culture. There are so many things to take away from this book, starting with things are not always what they seem and you have to know and trust in your allies.

Teens ages 13 to 15 who are interested in historical fiction and mystery will find this a worthwhile story. It covers events that really happened and can give insight into what living in World War II Netherlands was like. If I were to receive this book as a gift, I would be ecstatic, but I feel it is better to read it at the library as it can be used to make excellent book reports. Girl in the Blue Coat is sure to hook readers on history and historical fiction. 


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

History as thrilling as it gets. Yes, it is fictional, but being in 1940s Netherlands - with all of the emotions that secrets, mystery, and risk - will feel very real. 

Content Awareness Factors:

None noted by our reviewer.

Type of Book:
This is a historical fiction novel set in World War II Netherlands.
Educational Themes:

When young readers hear about World War II, they tend to think of Germany, Russia, the United States, and Great Britain. But it truly was a "world war" and there were events and fears in many places in Europe. There is a lot to explore - both historical and in character - in Girl in the Blue Coat. This Reading guide for Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse (bookbrowse.com) can help get conversations started.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
11 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 13
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy! Especially if you love edge-of-your-seat mysteries and/or history.

Title Girl in the Blue Coat
Author Monica Hesse
Publisher Little, Brown Books for Young Readers © 2017
ISBN 9780316260633
Material Paperback
Cost $9.99
Genres Mystery, Historical Fiction, 1940s & 1950s, War
be the star you are Cybils
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