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Code Name Kris


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Gr 7-10-- This sequel to Lisa's War (Scribners, 1989) opens with 17-year-old Jesper in a cell awaiting execution at the hands of the Gestapo. Recalling the events that brought him there, he attempts to put it all ``in order'' to keep from despairing. As a result of helping his Jewish friends Lisa and Stefan escape to Sweden in 1943, he had gone underground in the Danish Resistance, bearing the code name ``Kris'' and becoming involved in clandestine newspaper operations and sabotage. Jesper/Kris relates how events brought his friend Stefan back to Denmark, and the anti-Nazi activities that led to the young men's capture. Matas, in sparse, understated, and somewhat dispassionate prose, effectively depicts what life was like in occupied Denmark and in the Danish Resistance. Without being didactic, she informs readers about the Resistance's organization, day-to-day activities, and special operations as well as the dangers and fears its members faced. All of this is woven into an easily read, interest-holding story of bravery, loyalty, and patriotism. The author doesn't stoop to unduly bashing the Germans and their collaborators but simply states what happened. The ending is perhaps a bit too pat, but this flaw is more than offset by Matas' storytelling and characterizations. --David A. Lindsey, Lakewood Junior/Senior High School, WA

In this sequel to Lisa's War , Matas again presents a stirring account of a youth's struggle to fight the Nazis who occupy Denmark during World War II. In the earlier book Jesper helps his Jewish friends Stefan and Lisa escape to Sweden. Three years later Jesper, 17, is still working for the Danish resistance. He recounts the dangerous events that lead to his confinement in a German prison. Jesper becomes actively involved in the underground press, which spreads news about what is really happening in the war. When Stefan returns to Denmark, he teams up with Jesper to fight the Nazis. Matas's extensive research, combined with powerful characterization and compelling narration, creates an intense, provocative novel. Lucid, incisive descriptions will entice as well as educate readers. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

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