Friday, June 5, 2015

REVIEW: Playing With Matches - Lee Strauss

**Disclaimer: I received this book via Xpresso Reads in exchange for an honest review. Any thoughts and opinions are my own.**


Playing with Matches by Lee Strauss 
(Playing with Matches #1) 
Publication date: November 16th 2012 
Genres: Historical, Young Adult


Heinz Schultz’s word could send a man to prison. Though only a youth of fifteen, he was strong, tall, and blond. The boys in his Deutsches Jungvolk unit esteemed him and feared him.

And they wanted to be just like him.
Emil Radle wanted to be just like him.

A dedicated member of Hitler Youth, Emil was loyal to the Fuehrer before family, a champion for the cause and a fan of the famous Luftwaffe Air force.

Emil’s friends Moritz and Johann discover a shortwave radio and everything changes. Now they listen to the forbidden BBC broadcast of news reports that tell both sides. Now they know the truth.

The boys along with Johann’s sister Katharina, band together to write out the reports and covertly distribute flyers through their city. It’s  an act of high treason that could have them arrested–or worse.

As the war progresses, so does Emil’s affection for Katharina. He’d do anything to have a normal life and to stay in Passau by her side. But when Germany’s losses become immense, even their greatest resistance can’t prevent the boys from being sent to the Eastern Front.


Imagine being taught that a certain class of people are evil and a threat to your very way of life. Imagine growing up idolizing the people who helped eradicate that threat from your country. Now imagine learning that everything you thought was true, was good, was actually a lie
Playing With Matches does something I haven't seen before. It tells the story of the Holocaust from the point of view of German boys growing up wanting to join the Nazi army. They are part of the Hitler Youth and believe in everything the Fuehrr says......until they find a shortwave radio and hear BBC broadcasts telling the story from both side of the war. 
This is a very emotional story that gives you a glimpse of what it was like growing up as a German child during the time of the Holocaust. When you think about the Holocaust it is very easy to forget that many Germans in Germany at the time of Holocaust were just normal people who trusted in 
their leader to guide them. They weren't hateful people who were just set on destroying the Jews. They truly believed in what he said, especially the younger generation. 
Reading this book really made you think about what it must have been like to have believed in a cause so strongly and admire someone so much only to find out that they were lying and things weren't as they seemed. That can be a very devastating thing for anyone. I really enjoyed this book for many reasons but one of the biggest reasons is because even though this book is set during the Holocaust, the emotions of the characters are still relevant today. 
These characters could have lost their lives after they decided to covertly spread the word to their community that Hitler was a liar and that things were not as they seemed. Their bravery is very admirable and inspiring. These young people risked everything to help other disillusioned Germans learn the truth. The writing in this book is phenomenal and I cannot wait to read the sequel! 

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