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Summer of Fire
By author: Karen Bass
Selling Points: "WWII, family, coming of age"
Publisher: Coteau Books
Pub Date: Sep/01/2009
Pages: 304
Fiction Ages 13+
Price:  $12.95
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When Canadian teen Delora James finds herself banished to Germany for the summer, reading the professor's old journals seems like a good time-waster. Once Del begins to read the translated diary of Garda—a teenager in World War II, pregnant and desperate—she is engaged by Garda's compelling story. Through a series of rebellions, she begins to draw similarities between her own world and Garda's, and is able to see past her own hostility.

Sixteen-year-old Delora has been shipped off to Hamburg, Germany to live with her controlling sister. Her 'behaviour' at home has caused considerable concern so she is under house arrest till she proves she can behave otherwise.

Through her sister, she meets an English professor who asks her advice on a book she is working on. Del then encounters 16-year-old Garda, whose journals make up the professor's story. Del is transported back to Nazi Germany in the Fall of 1942, is riveted by Garda's story and draws parallels not only between the places they reside in but in the oppression they both feel.

Garda's rape by a member of the Hilter youth, the subsquent pregancy and enstrangement from her family resonate with the reader and with Del. We are presented with the horrors of the Nazi regime through the eyes of an innocent girl. It is a strong dose of life for Del and mirrors so many of her conflicts. As Garda breaks free of her oppression, Del finds strength and acceptance of her world and those who love her.

Karen Bass has been interested in World War II since childhood. She began writing shortly after she was hired to manage a local library, and her stories and articles have been published in local newspapers, magazine and anthologies, and nationally in Writers Circle Nine and the Canadian Writer's Journal. Her first novel, Run Like J├Ąger has received numerous accolades.
Canadian Teacher Magazine - March 1, 2010
"A compelling read."
Canadian Children's Book News - January 1, 2010
"A compelling read that offers two very different young women and their stories to ponder."



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