The Pearl Thief


By Elizabeth Wein

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Don’t miss Elizabeth Wein’s stunning new novel, Stateless

Before Verity . . . there was Julie.

When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she'd imagined won't be exactly what she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather's estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family's employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scottish Traveler boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister, Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she witnesses firsthand some of the prejudices they've grown used to-a stark contrast to her own upbringing-and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travelers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.

This exhilarating coming-of-age story, a prequel to the Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, returns to a beloved character just before she first takes flight.


For Helen

—Time and change shall not avail

to break the friendships formed—

O, my love’s like a red, red rose,

that’s newly sprung in June;

O, my love’s like the melody

that’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

so deep in love am I,

and I will love thee still, my dear,

till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

and the rocks melt wi’ the sun:

I will love thee still, my dear,

while the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only love!

And fare thee well awhile!

And I will come again, my love,

tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

—Robert Burns

1. An assortment of things gone missing

“You’re a brave lassie.”

That’s what my grandfather told me as he gave me his shotgun.

“Stand fast and guard me,” he instructed. “If this fellow tries to fight, you give him another dose.”

Granddad turned back to the moaning man he’d just wounded. The villain was lying half-sunk in the mud on the edge of the riverbank, clutching his leg where a cartridgeful of lead pellets had emptied into his thigh. It was a late-summer evening, my last with Granddad before I went off to boarding school for the first time, and we’d not expected to shoot anything bigger than a rabbit. But here I was aiming a shotgun at a living man while Granddad waded into the burn, which is what we called the River Fearn where it flowed through his estate, so he could tie the evildoer’s hands behind his back with the strap of his shotgun.

“Rape a burn, would you!” Granddad railed at him while he worked. “I’ve never seen the like! You’ve destroyed that shell bed completely. Two hundred river mussels round about, piled there like a midden heap! And you’ve not found a single pearl, have you? Because you don’t know a pearl mussel from your own backside! You’re like a bank robber that’s never cracked a safe or seen a banknote!”

It was true—the man had torn through dozens of river mussels, methodically splitting the shells open one by one in the hope of finding a rare and beautiful Scottish river pearl. The flat rock at the edge of the riverbank was littered with the broken and dying remains.

Granddad’s shotgun was almost too heavy for me to hold steady. I kept it jammed against my shoulder with increasingly aching arms. I swear by my glorious ancestors, that man was twice Granddad’s size. Of course, Granddad was not a very big man—none of us Murrays are very big. And he was in his seventies, even though he wasn’t yet ill. The villain had a pistol—he’d dropped it when he’d been hurt, but it wasn’t out of reach. Without me there to guard Granddad as he bound the other man, they might have ended up in a duel. Brave! I felt like William Wallace, Guardian of Scotland.

The wounded man was both pathetic and vengeful. “I’ll see you in Sheriff Court,” he told my grandfather, whining and groaning. “I’m not after salmon and there’s no law against pearl fishing, but it’s illegal to shoot a man.”

Granddad wasn’t scared. “This is a private river.”

“Those tinker folk take pearls here all the time. They come in their tents and bide a week like gypsies, and go away with their pockets full!”

“No tinker I know would ever rape a burn like this! And they’ve the decency to ask permission on my private land! There’s laws and laws. Respect for a river and its creatures goes unwritten. And the written law says that I can haul you in for poaching on my beat, whether it’s salmon or pearls or anything else.”

“I didn’t—I wasnae—”

“Whisht. Never mind what you were doing in the water: you pointed your own gun at my wee granddaughter.” Granddad now confiscated the pistol that was lying in the mud, and tucked it into his willow-weave fisherman’s creel. “That’s excuse enough for me. I’m the Earl of Strathfearn. Whose word will the law take, laddie, yours or mine?”

Of course Granddad owned all of Strathfearn then, and the salmon- and trout-fishing rights that went with it. It was a perfect little Scottish estate, with a ruined castle and a baronial manor, nestled in woodland just where the River Fearn meets the River Tay. It’s true it’s not illegal for anyone to fish for pearls there, but it’s still private land. You can’t just wade in and destroy someone else’s river. I remember how shocking Granddad’s accusation sounded: Rape a burn, would you!

Was that only three years ago? It feels like Granddad was ill for twice that long. And now he’s been dead for months. And the estate was sold and changed hands, even while my poor grandmother was still living in it. Granddad was so alive then. We’d worked together.

“Steady, lass,” he’d said, seeing my arms trembling. I held on while Granddad dragged the unfortunate mussel-bed destroyer to his feet and helped him out of the burn and onto the riverbank, trailing forget-me-nots and muck and blood. I flinched out of his way in distaste.

He’d aimed a pistol at me earlier. I’d been ahead of Granddad on the river path and the strange man had snarled at me: One step closer and you’re asking for trouble. I’d hesitated, not wanting to turn my back on his gun. But Granddad had taken the law into his own hands and fired first.

Now, as the bound, bleeding prisoner struggled past me so he could pull himself over to the flat rock and rest amid the broken mussel shells, our eyes met for a moment in mutual hatred. I wondered if he really would have shot at me.

“Now see here,” Granddad lectured him, getting out his hip flask and allowing the wounded man to take a taste of the Water of Life. “See the chimneys rising above the birches at the river’s bend? That’s the County Council’s old library on Inverfearnie Island, and there’s a telephone there. You and I are going to wait here while the lassie goes to ring the police.” He turned to me. “Julie, tell them to send the Water Bailiff out here. He’s the one to deal with a poacher. And then I want you to stay there with the librarian until I come and fetch you. Her name is Mary Kinnaird.”

I gave an internal sigh of relief—not a visible one, because being called brave by my granddad was the highest praise I’d ever aspired to, but relief nevertheless. Ringing the police from the Inverfearnie Library was a mission I felt much more capable of completing than shooting a trespasser. I gave Granddad back his shotgun ceremoniously. Then I sprinted for the library, stung by nettles on the river path and streaking my shins with mud. I skidded over the mossy stones on the humpbacked bridge that connects Inverfearnie Island to the east bank of the Fearn, and came to a breathless halt before the stout oak door of the seventeenth-century library building, churning up the gravel of the drive with my canvas shoes as if I were the messenger at the Battle of Marathon.

It was past six and the library was closed. I knew that Mary Kinnaird, the new librarian and custodian who lived there all alone, had only just finished university; but I’d never met her, and it certainly never occurred to me that she wouldn’t be able to hear the bell. When nobody came, not even after I gave a series of pounding kicks to the door, I decided the situation was desperate enough to warrant breaking in and climbing through a window. They were casement windows that opened outward—if I broke a pane near a latch it would be easy to get in. I snatched up a handful of stones from the gravel drive and hurled them hard at one of the leaded windowpanes nearest the ground. The glass smashed explosively, and I could hear the rocks hitting the floor inside like hailstones.

That brought the young librarian running with a shotgun of her own. She threw open the door.

She was bold as a crow. I stared at her openly, not because of the flat, skewed features of her face, but because she was aiming at my head. The library window I’d smashed was public property. Nothing for it but to plunge in: “Miss Kinnaird?” I panted, out of breath after my marathon. “My granddad has caught a poacher and I—I need to use your telephone—to ring the police.”

Her smooth, broad brow crinkled into the tiniest of irritated frowns. She’d sensed the importance of what I’d said, but she hadn’t heard all of it. Now she lowered her gun, and I could see that around her neck hung two items essential to her work: a gold mechanical pencil on a slender rope of braided silk, and a peculiar curled brass horn, about the size of a fist, on a thick gold chain. She’d lowered the gun so she could hold the beautiful horn to her ear.

“Your granddad needs help?” she said tartly. “Speak up, please.”


The poor astonished young woman gasped. “Oh! Strathfearn is your grandfather?”

“Aye, Sandy Murray, Earl of Strathfearn,” I said with pride.

“Well, you’d better come in,” she told me briskly. “I’ll ring the police for you.”

I wondered how she managed the telephone if she couldn’t hear, but I didn’t dare to ask.

“Granddad said to send Sergeant Angus Henderson,” I said. “He’s the Water Bailiff for the Strathfearn estate. He polices the riverbank.”

“Oh, aye, I know Angus Henderson.”

She shepherded me past the wood-and-glass display cases on the ground floor and into her study. But I poked my head around the door to watch her sitting at the telephone in its dark little nook of a cupboard under the winding stairs. I listened as she asked the switchboard operator to put her through to the police station in the village at Brig O’Fearn. There was a sort of Bakelite ear trumpet attached to the telephone receiver. So that answered my question.

I went and sat down in the big red leather reading chair in Mary Kinnaird’s study, feeling rather stunned and exhausted, and after a few minutes she came in with a tray of tea and shortbread.

“I expect Granddad will pay for your window,” I told her straightaway. I assumed his wealth was limitless, three years ago. I hoped he wouldn’t be angry, and I wondered how he was getting on, waiting alone with the vicious and miserable prisoner. “I’m very sorry I had to break the glass.”

“And I am very sorry I pointed my gun at you.” Mary knelt on the floor beside me, there being no other chair but the one behind her desk. She offered the shortbread. I found I was ravenous.

“Oh, I knew you wouldn’t hurt me,” I told her. “You are too bonny.”

“You wee sook!” she scolded. “Bonny?”

“Not beautiful,” I told her truthfully. “Your face is kind. You’re sort of fluttery and quiet, like a pigeon.”

She threw her head back and laughed.

“Prrrrrt,” she said in pigeon-talk, and this made me laugh too. Suddenly I liked her very much.

“What’s your name?” she asked me.

“Lady Julia Lindsay MacKenzie Wallace Beaufort-Stuart,” I reeled off glibly.

“Oh my, that is quite a name. Must I call you Lady Julia?”

“Granddad calls me Julie.”

“I will compromise with Julia. Beaufort and Stuart are both the names of Scottish queens; I can’t quite lower myself to Julie.” She smiled serenely. “Not Murray? Isn’t that your grandfather’s name?”

“Some of my brothers have Murray as a family name.”

“You know the Murrays were in favor with Mary Stuart. There’s a bracelet on display in the library that belonged to her when she was a child. She gave it to your grandfather’s people because she was their patron, four hundred years ago.”

“Scottish river pearls—I know! Granddad showed me when I was little. They’re the only thing I remember about the display cases. All those dull old books along with this beautiful wee bracelet that belonged to Mary Queen of Scots! And I’m related to her on the Stuart side.”

Mary laughed. “Those books are first editions of Robert Burns’s poems! I don’t find them dull. But the pearls are everybody’s favorite.”

My hidden criminal inner self noted what an idiot the wounded trespasser was, stripping young mussels from the river when this perfect treasure lay in plain sight of the general public every day.

But perhaps the river seemed easier prey than Mary Kinnaird.

She said to me then: “So I’m a Mary and you’re a Stuart. And I have the keys to the case. Would you like to try on Mary Queen of Scots’ pearl bracelet while you wait for your granddad to come back for you?”

Mary Kinnaird suddenly became my favorite person in the entire world.

I noticed something. “How can you hear me without your trumpet?”

“I’m watching your mouth move. It helps a great deal to see your mouth straight on. I don’t like the trumpet much.”

“The trumpet is splendid.”

She twisted her mouth again. It wasn’t a smile. “But the trumpet makes me different from everyone else. And I am already a bit different.”

“No one’s exactly alike,” I said blithely. “I can find my mother in a candlelit hall full of dancers by the scent she wears. Everybody’s different.”

It was very easy for me to say, flush with the fear and triumph of my last summer afternoon with my grandfather, the Earl of Strathfearn. I was safe now eating shortbread in the Inverfearnie Library, and looking forward to trying on pearls that had once been worn by Mary Queen of Scots. Everybody’s different: it was easy for me to say.

“You’re a brave lassie!”

It was a perfect echo of Granddad, but of course now it wasn’t Granddad and there wasn’t a life at stake. It was only the taxi driver congratulating me.

“A lass like you, taking the train alone across Europe! Times have changed.”

“I had my own berth on the Night Ferry,” I told him modestly. “Men and women are separated.”

I didn’t tell him I was coming home from my Swiss boarding school for the summer holidays—I’d spent the entire trip carefully trying to disguise myself as being closer to twenty than to sixteen. I’d put my hair up in a chignon and hidden my ridiculously babyish panama school hat in a big paper bag. With my childish socks and school blazer crammed into my overnight case and the collar of my blouse undone, and the help of a lipstick bought in the rail station in Paris, I thought I pulled off a believable imitation of someone old enough to have left school.

“But I did arrange the journey myself,” I couldn’t help boasting. “My people aren’t expecting me for another three days. It may be my own fault I’ve lost my luggage, though. I think it is having its own little secret holiday in a hidden corner of the port at Dunkirk.”

The taxi driver laughed. Now we were on the Perth Road on our way to Strathfearn House. Nearly there—nearly! Scotland, summer, the river, Granddad…

And then that moment when I realized all over again that Granddad was gone forever, and this was the last summer at Strathfearn.

“My grandfather died earlier this year, and my grandmother’s selling their house,” I told the taxi driver. “My mother and I are going to help her with the packing up.”

“Oh, aye, Strathfearn House—he was a good man, Sandy Murray, Earl of Strathfearn. I saw in the Perth Mercury that the Glenfearn School bought the estate. They’ve been working like Trojans to get the house and grounds ready for the students to move in next term. Lucky lads! Your granddad had a nine-hole golf course out there, didn’t he? Good deal of debt, though—”

Bother the Mercury. I hoped they hadn’t published an amount, although I supposed they must have printed some number when the estate went up for sale, including the house and everything in it that my grandmother hadn’t brought with her from France in 1885. She must have been so ashamed. Granddad left tens of thousands of pounds’ worth of debt. Originally he lost a great deal of money when the stock market collapsed in 1929, but then he added to it by borrowing to put a new roof on Strathfearn House; then he’d had to sell parts of the estate to pay back the loan; and then he’d been struck with bone cancer. And the treatment, and the visits to specialists in Europe and America, and the alterations to the house so he could go on living in it, and the private nurses—

And suddenly I was longing to be at Strathfearn, even if it wasn’t ours anymore; longing to see my mother and grandmother and my friend Mary Kinnaird, longing for one last summer of childish freedom on the River Fearn; but also full of grown-up excitement about being included as someone sensible enough to help settle the Murray Estate, when any one of my five big brothers could have done it. I didn’t want the summer to begin. I didn’t want it to end.

The taxi could not go right up to the house because a digger and a steamroller were engaged in widening the drive. I had to put the fare on my mother’s account, but the driver just laughed and said he knew where to find us. I got out to walk the last third of a mile.

The first person I recognized was Sergeant Angus Henderson, the Water Bailiff whom Granddad sent for to take custody of the pearl thief we caught. Henderson was there with his bicycle, with his tall hooked cromach across the bars as if he were about to do a high-wire act and needed a long stick to balance him. He was having a row with the driver of the steamroller.

“I’ve told you before to keep your men off the path by the Fearn when they’re ditch-digging!” the Water Bailiff roared. “Bad enough the place is crawling with those dirty tinker folk camped up in Inchfort Field, in and out the water looking for pearls. That river path to the Inverfearnie Library is off-limits to your men.”

“Those men are digging the pipeline for the new swimming pool—how d’you expect them to stay off the river path?” steamed the roller driver. “All the work is downstream of Inverfearnie. I dinnae want them mixed up with those sleekit tinkers anyway. Bloody light-fingered sneaks. You’d not believe how many tools go missing, spades and whatnot.”

I did not want to get caught in the cross fire of this battle. Sergeant Angus Henderson is a terrifyingly tall and gaunt ex–Black Watch Regiment policeman. Granddad told us that in the heat of the Great War, Henderson allegedly shot one of his own men in the back for running away from a battle, and then strangled a German officer, an enemy Hun, with his bare hands.

“I’m off down the Fearn path now, and if I catch any of your men there—” Henderson let the threat hang, but gave his cromach a shake.

The Water Bailiff had been known to thrash every single one of my five brothers for some reason or other in the past—guddling for rainbow trout out of the brown trout season, or swimming when the salmon were running, or just for getting in his way as he patrolled the narrow path along the burn on his bicycle.

I stepped back so I was well out of his way as he set off along the drive ahead of me. When he’d become nothing but a dark beetling shape among the bright green beeches, I held tight to my small overnight case and set off after him, considerably more slowly. I was looking forward to getting out of my modified school uniform if I could. But the dark skirt and white blouse did give me a smart official air, like a post office clerk or a prospective stenographer for the Glenfearn School, and the men working on the drive paid no attention to me.

My grandmother’s roses in the French forecourt garden in front of Strathfearn House were blooming in a glorious, blazing riot of June color, oblivious to the chaos throughout the rest of the grounds. There were people all about, hard at work building new dormitories and classrooms and playing fields. None of them were people I recognized. I let myself into the house—the doors were wide open.

The whole of the baronial reception hall had been emptied of its rosewood furniture and stripped of the ancestral paintings. I felt as though I had never been there before in my life.

I went straight to my grandmother’s favorite sitting room and discovered it was also in disarray; and my remaining family members were nowhere to be found. Of course I hadn’t told anyone I was coming three days earlier than expected. So like a hunted fox bolting to the safety of its den, I sought out the nursery bathroom high in the back of the east wing, and drew myself a bath because I had been travelling for three days and the hot water seemed to be working as usual.

I didn’t have any clean clothes of my own to change into, but it is a good big bathroom, and in addition to a six-foot-long tub and painted commode there is a tall chest full of children’s cast-offs. I put on a mothy tennis pullover which left my arms daringly bare and a kilt that must have been forgotten some time ago by one of my big brothers (probably Sandy, who was Granddad’s favorite, his namesake and his heir, and who had spent more time there than the rest of us).

I was David Balfour from Kidnapped again, the way I’d been the whole summer I was thirteen, to my brothers’ amusement and my nanny Solange’s despair. I plaited my hair and stuffed it up under a shapeless faded wool tam-o’-shanter to get it out of my face, and wove my way through the passages back to the central oak staircase.

The banisters were covered with dust sheets because the walls had just been painted a modern cool, pale blue—not horrible, but so different from the heraldic Victorian wallpaper. Light in shades of lemon and sapphire and scarlet spilled through the tall stained-glass window on the landing. As I turned the corner, the telephone in the hall below me started to ring.

I swithered on the landing, wondering if I should answer it. But then I heard footsteps and a click, and the ringing stopped, and a harassed man’s voice said, “Yes, this is he—No, they’re not gypsies; they’re tinkers. Scottish Travellers. It’s tiresome, but they’re allowed to stay in that field till the end of this summer—” The voice took a sudden change of tone and continued brightly: “Oh, you’ve sent the Water Bailiff up there now? My foreman thinks they’re pretty bold thieves—wants him to check all their gear for missing tools—Jolly good!” His footsteps thumped smartly back the way they’d come.

Goodness, everyone seemed to have it in for the Travelling folk.

This Scottish traveller didn’t bother anybody. If the ditch-diggers were all downstream and the Water Bailiff was off bothering the campers at Inchfort Field, I could count on having the river path to the library on Inverfearnie Island all to myself. I thought I would go say hello to Mary Kinnaird, who would not care if I was wearing only a kilt and a tennis pullover.

I crossed the broad lawn, broken by men smoothing earth and digging pits and laying paths. In the distance by the edge of the River Tay, over the tops of the birch trees, I could see the ruinous towers of Aberfearn Castle. The Big House is new by comparison; it was built in 1840, before Granddad was born. Before the railway came through. It was hard to believe that none of this was ours anymore.

I passed into the dapple of sunlight and shade in the birchwood by the river.

An otter slid into the burn as I started along the path, and I saw a kingfisher darting among the low branches trailing in the water on the opposite bank. For a moment I stood still, watching and breathing it in. The smell of the Tay and the Fearn! Oh, how I’d missed it, and how I would miss it after this last summer! See me, kilted and barefoot on the native soil of my ancestors, declaiming Allan Cunningham in dramatic rhapsody:

O hame, hame, hame, to my ain countree!

When the flower is i’ the bud and the leaf is on the tree,

The larks shall sing me hame in my ain countree!


  • * "A must for Verity fans and a good read for those who enjoy mystery with a touch of romance."—School Library Journal, starred review

  • * "A finely crafted book that brings one girl's coming-of-age story to life"—Booklist, starred review

  • * "Another ripping yarn from a brilliant author."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

  • * "Each thread of this novel is exquisitely woven"—Publishers Weekly, starred review

  • * "Verity fans will find this irresistible and return to a reread of that title with this new backstory in mind, while fans of period drama . . . will appreciate this as an absorbing read that leads them inexorably to the next book."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

  • "The rich details of the prewar time period, the intriguing history of Scottish river pearls, and the glimpse into the social dynamics between Scottish Travellers and the landed gentry of Scotland make for fascinating reading, but the real treat is reading another chapter in the story of Julie. Give this to fans of the first book, as well as historical fiction buffs."—VOYA

  • "The Pearl Thief stands alone as a diverting piece of historical fiction/mystery but takes on extra poignancy for those aware of Julie's eventual fate."—Horn Book



    2013 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book
    2013 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten
    2013 Edgar Award Winner
    New York Times best seller
    New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2012
    Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2012
    Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2012
    School Library Journal's Best Books of the Year 2012
    The Horn Book Magazine's Best Books of 2012
    Booklist Books for Youth Editors' Choice: 2012
    Library Journal's Best YA Books for Adults
    BookPage Best Children's Books of 2012
    The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbons 2012
    Chicago Public Library Best of the Best 2012
    Young Adult Novels You'll Never Outgrow --part of National Public Radio's Best Books of 2012 series
    A BookBrowse 2012 Favorite
    2012 Cybils Award finalist

    "A fiendishly plotted mind game of a novel, the kind you have to read twice."—New York TImes


    "It has been a while since I was so captivated by a character in YA fiction Code Name Verity is one of those rare things: an exciting-and affecting-female adventure story."—The Guardian


    "This astonishing tale of friendship and truth will take wing and soar into your heart."—Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times best-selling author of Speak, Fever 1793 and Wintergirls


    Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times best-selling author of Speak, Fever 1793 and WintergirlsMaggie Stiefvater, author of the New York Times best-selling Shiver trilogy, The Scorpion Races, and the Raven Cycle series


    "The unforgettable Code Name Verity played with my mind, and then it ripped out my heart."—Nancy Werlin, New York Times best-selling author


    *"A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review


    *"A riveting and often brutal tale of WWII action and espionage with a powerful friendship at its core. [an] expertly crafted adventure."—Publishers Weekly, starred review


    *"[An] innovative spy tale built to be savored."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review


    *"This novel positively soars."—The Horn Book, starred review


    *"[A] taut, riveting thriller. Readers will be left gasping for the finish, desperate to know how it ends."—School Library Journal, starred review


    * "If you pick up this book, it will be some time before you put your dog-eared, tear-stained copy back down."—Booklist, starred review



    Schneider Family Book Award, Best Teen Book, 2014
    Top Ten YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2014
    New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2013
    Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2013
    School Library Journal's Best Books of 2013
    Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books of 2013
    The Children's Book Review Best Young Adult Novels of 2013
    NPR Best Books of 2013
    BookPage Best Children's Books of 2013
    Goodreads Choice for Best Young Adult Book of 2013 nominee
    CILIP Carnegie Medal 2014 nominee
    A Junior Library Guild Selection
    2014 Tayshas List Selection
    [London] Times Best Books of the Year
    Costa Children's Book Award finalist

    "Rose Under Fire is bound to soar into the promised land of young adult books read by actual adults-and deservedly so, because Wein's unself-consciously important story is timeless, ageless and triumphant."—The Los Angeles Times


    "Wein's second World War II adventure novel - the first, Code Name Verity, was highly praised last year - captures poignantly the fragility of hope and the balm forgiveness offers."—The New York Times


    * "[A]lthough the story's action follows [Code Name Verity]'s, it has its own, equally incandescent integrity. Rich in detail, from the small kindnesses of fellow prisoners to harrowing scenes of escape and the Nazi Doctors' Trial in Nuremburg, at the core of this novel is the resilience of human nature and the power of friendship and hope."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review


    * "Wein excels at weaving research seamlessly into narrative and has crafted another indelible story about friendship borne out of unimaginable adversity."—Publishers Weekly, starred review


    * "Readers will connect with Rose and be moved by her struggle to go forward, find her wings again, and fly."—School Library Journal, starred review


    * "In plot and character this story is consistently involving, a great, page-turning read; just as impressive is how subtly Wein brings a respectful, critical intelligence to her subject."—The Horn Book, starred review


    * "At once heartbreaking and hopeful, Rose Under Fire will stay with readers long after they have finished the last page."—VOYA


    * "Wein brings this fascinating period in history to life with several well-engineered plot twists, lots of high-flying, nail-biting tension, and meticulous research."—Publishers Weekly, starred review


    * "Wein brings this fascinating period in history to life with several well-engineered plot twists, lots of high-flying, nail-biting tension, and meticulous research."—Booklist, starred review


    * "Highly recommended for all libraries, especially where her previous titles have flown off the shelves."—School Library Journal, starred review


    * "Wein does again what she did so beautifully in Code Name Verity (2012) and Rose Under Fire (2013): She plaits together the historical record, her passion for flying and ferociously vivid characters to create a heartbreaking adventure that grounds readers in the moment even as geopolitical complexity threatens to knock them off their feet. . . . Unforgettable."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

On Sale
May 1, 2018
Page Count
352 pages

Educator Guide