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Lines of Courage

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The stories of five kids living through World War I, each of whom holds the key to the others' futures... if they are lucky - and brave - enough to find each other. World War I stretches its cruel fingers across Europe, where five young people, each from different backgrounds and nations, face the terror of battle, the deprivations of hunger, and all the awful challenges of The stories of five kids living through World War I, each of whom holds the key to the others' futures... if they are lucky - and brave - enough to find each other. World War I stretches its cruel fingers across Europe, where five young people, each from different backgrounds and nations, face the terror of battle, the deprivations of hunger, and all the awful challenges of war. Felix, from Austria-Hungary, longs for the bravery to resist Jewish deportations before his own family can be taken. Kara, from Britain, dreams of someday earning her Red Cross pin and working as a nurse - or even a doctor. Juliette, of France, hopes her family can remain knitted together, despite her father's imprisonment, as the war's longest battle stretches on and on. Elsa, from Germany, hopes her homing pigeon might one day bring her a friend from out of the chaos. And Dimitri, of Russia, wants only to survive the front, where he's been sent with no weapon. None of them will find exactly what they want. But the winds of fate may cross their paths to give each of them just what they need.


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The stories of five kids living through World War I, each of whom holds the key to the others' futures... if they are lucky - and brave - enough to find each other. World War I stretches its cruel fingers across Europe, where five young people, each from different backgrounds and nations, face the terror of battle, the deprivations of hunger, and all the awful challenges of The stories of five kids living through World War I, each of whom holds the key to the others' futures... if they are lucky - and brave - enough to find each other. World War I stretches its cruel fingers across Europe, where five young people, each from different backgrounds and nations, face the terror of battle, the deprivations of hunger, and all the awful challenges of war. Felix, from Austria-Hungary, longs for the bravery to resist Jewish deportations before his own family can be taken. Kara, from Britain, dreams of someday earning her Red Cross pin and working as a nurse - or even a doctor. Juliette, of France, hopes her family can remain knitted together, despite her father's imprisonment, as the war's longest battle stretches on and on. Elsa, from Germany, hopes her homing pigeon might one day bring her a friend from out of the chaos. And Dimitri, of Russia, wants only to survive the front, where he's been sent with no weapon. None of them will find exactly what they want. But the winds of fate may cross their paths to give each of them just what they need.

30 review for Lines of Courage

  1. 5 out of 5

    Skip

    It is a relief to see a historical fiction book about WWI, not WWII. Author Nielson does not cover too much of the war history, presenting the perspectives of five teenagers from five countries, whose lives intersect in unusual ways. Felix (from Austria-Hungary), watches the assassination that started the war and is worried about his father's role in the war, Kara (from Britain), who accompanies her nurse/mother on a Red Cross train, helping save soldier's lives, and disobeys orders, Juliette (f It is a relief to see a historical fiction book about WWI, not WWII. Author Nielson does not cover too much of the war history, presenting the perspectives of five teenagers from five countries, whose lives intersect in unusual ways. Felix (from Austria-Hungary), watches the assassination that started the war and is worried about his father's role in the war, Kara (from Britain), who accompanies her nurse/mother on a Red Cross train, helping save soldier's lives, and disobeys orders, Juliette (from France), displaced from her home and who gets separated from her mother and brother, Elsa (from Germany), whose father is a high ranking officer leading troops, and Dimitri (from Russia), who is not ready for war, finding himself in France. The characters all share decency and abhor the horrors of war and senseless killing. I liked the strange path of a war medal initially given for heroism that moves among the teenagers as they interact.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I checked this out since I've enjoyed Nielsen's books in the past and I'm all for more WWI books. For me, it didn't transcend the fact that I am not the intended audience. But I'm glad it exists. I'm sure I would've been all about this book after reading Rilla of Ingleside as a kid. I checked this out since I've enjoyed Nielsen's books in the past and I'm all for more WWI books. For me, it didn't transcend the fact that I am not the intended audience. But I'm glad it exists. I'm sure I would've been all about this book after reading Rilla of Ingleside as a kid.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel {bibliopals}

    Excellent! Ties in all sorts of historical facts about WW1 from the various countries in the fight (Austro-Hungarian, French, German, British, Russian)! So neat to listen with my kids and have them remember what we just learned this year in school. Highly recommend if you are teaching WW1!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Yapha

    I love books that tell multiple stories and then tie them altogether in the end! This one is a fabulous example of that. It tells the stories of five teenagers during World War I whose lives intersect in unexpected ways. Felix (from Austria-Hungary, who witnesses the start of the war and fears for his Jewish family), Kara (from Britain, serving on a Red Cross train), Juliette (from France, displaced from her home and separated from her family), Elsa (from Germany, whose father is a high ranking I love books that tell multiple stories and then tie them altogether in the end! This one is a fabulous example of that. It tells the stories of five teenagers during World War I whose lives intersect in unexpected ways. Felix (from Austria-Hungary, who witnesses the start of the war and fears for his Jewish family), Kara (from Britain, serving on a Red Cross train), Juliette (from France, displaced from her home and separated from her family), Elsa (from Germany, whose father is a high ranking officer), and Dimitri (from Russia, fighting in France) each give a different perspective on the war. Combining them together into one book provides an exciting and thorough overview of WWI. Highly recommended for grades 5 & up, especially for fans of Echo and Refugee. eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alexx Burris

    Really great historical fiction about WW1 which doesn’t have as many fiction books to read about. Thrilling enough for hard core fans, but gentle enough for those who may be more sensitive to war

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    It should have been an exciting visit to Sarajevo with his father, but instead Felix Baum, a 12-year old Jewish boy, witnesses the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, and feels he is a coward for not warning anyone when he saw the assassin with a hand grenade. Returning home, the Baums are visited by Major Dressler and his daughter Elsa from Germany, who gives Felix the gift of a carrier pigeon . War is soon declared, and Felix's father is called up. Learning that the Russian It should have been an exciting visit to Sarajevo with his father, but instead Felix Baum, a 12-year old Jewish boy, witnesses the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, and feels he is a coward for not warning anyone when he saw the assassin with a hand grenade. Returning home, the Baums are visited by Major Dressler and his daughter Elsa from Germany, who gives Felix the gift of a carrier pigeon . War is soon declared, and Felix's father is called up. Learning that the Russians are coming, Felix and his mother try to leave Lemberg, but instead run into the cruel Russian Captain Garinov. Felix manages to irritate Garinov and pays dearly for it. Luckily, Elsa and her mother rescue Felix and his mother, enabling them to escape to Vienna. Kara Webb, 13 almost 14, wants to be a Red Cross nurse more than anything, just like her mother. Allowed to accompany her mother on the Red Cross Ambulance train traveling throughout France picking up the wounded at Casualty Clearing Stations, Kara may only act as an orderly, never leaving the train. When the Germans begin using poison gas, the number of wounded increase, then the rail line are destroyed, so everyone has help carry soldiers from the battlefield to the train. When an orderly is injured, Kara is finally allowed to help. But when she rescues and hides an injured enemy soldier named Baum, she is no longer allowed to do anymore work on the train, even after Sergeant Baum leaves. Reaching Verdun around Christmas, Kara meets Juliette Caron, selling items to get money for her family to bribe a German guard to get her father out of their prison. Kara buys a bright red hat, but gives it right back to Juliette. Juliette and her family try to leave Verdun, but are soon caught by the Germans. Juliette manages to hide in the woods, but the Germans set up camp so close she can't run away without being seen. After falling asleep, she wakes up on Kara's Red Cross train, but now she doesn't know where her mother and two younger brothers are. After two months, Juliette leaves the train, searching for her family and hoping to free her father. In Lille, she runs into an old friend, Monique, who brings her home, but double crosses Juliette, taking her money. Then, the girls are captured by Germans and taken to a farm to work. Monique does help Juliette escape the farm, but then she runs into Major Dressler, who knows and admires her father. Dressler lets her go instead of sending her back to the farm, and she finds herself back on the ambulance train with Kara. Two months later, Juliette is on the road again, looking for her family when she sees an injured young boy and rescues him, bringing him to the cave she has found shelter in. The boy's name is Dimitri Petrenko, 14, and he's been serving in the war under Captain Garinov, now a Bolshevik who intensely dislikes him for supporting the Tsar. Garinov sends him into no man's land to get a rifle, where he is knocked unconscious and left for dead. After Juliette nurses him back to health, he returns to his unit, knowing what he now wants is freedom. But as soon as Garinov sees him, he orders Dimitri to lead a charge, one that costs him dearly. When news of the Russian Revolution reaches the trenches. Garinov refuses to fight anymore, wanting to return to Russia. After Garinov's mutiny, Dimitri finds himself fighting with the French in Belgium, where he is taken prisoner by the Germans. Taken to Major Dressler's home to work in Freiburg, Dimitri runs into Captain Garinov, also a prisoner. When Garinov finds an old medal in Dimitri's pocket, he tries to get him in trouble, but Elsa Dressler recognizes the medal as belonging to Felix's family. Convinced he didn't steal it, Major Dressler arranges for Dimitri to be driven to the French border and released. Meanwhile, Garinov has stolen a horse from Dressler and run away. The medal that is found on Dimitri is a red thread running through this story and connecting each of the main characters to each other. Felix refused the medal when his father offered it to him. Sergeant Baum had taken it with him to war as a reminder of his own father's courage. He had given it to Kara, who gave it to Juliette. Later, Juliette gave it to Dimitri and Elsa had recognized it. The novel begins in 1914, with the assassination of the Archduke and goes through to November 11, 1918, the end of the war. It is a well-researched work and includes information I did not know, for example, the Red Cross Ambulance Train. But... I've always enjoyed Jennifer Nielsen's historical fiction for young readers, but I'm sorry to say, for me, this is not one of her best books. Writing a story about five very different characters from different countries who are connected to one another and including Dressler and Garinov in the mix is hard to do because so much much depends on coincidences not found in reality. And the novel is so filled with coincidences plus the improbability of its five characters running into each other the way they do was just too hard for me to believe. Nielsen does include some interesting WWI history in the story and in her Author's Note, but the multiple story lines overwhelmed me. I felt like she had five short stories and decided to turn it into a novel by knitting them together using a medal from an earlier Austrian conflict, but it just didn't work for me. I think that given what is going on in Ukraine right now, this would be an interesting novel for anyone interested in history and especially WWI as long as the coincidences doesn't bother them. It is of note that so many young teens were asked to do the job of adults in this war. I can't imagine sending 14-year-olds to war, but I know it could happen again. Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Scholastic Press for providing me with a digital review copy of this novel.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish

    "One day, someone will claim victory in the war, but no one will have won." I've tested the waters with a few stories told around the First World War this year, and I've finally found what I was looking for - the story of five young teenagers, spread across Europe, all trying to survive a war no-one can win. From England, to France, to Austria-Hungary, to Russia, to Germany, these teens all meet each other in unexpected ways, culminating in a group effort to save an enemy. I loved that this story "One day, someone will claim victory in the war, but no one will have won." I've tested the waters with a few stories told around the First World War this year, and I've finally found what I was looking for - the story of five young teenagers, spread across Europe, all trying to survive a war no-one can win. From England, to France, to Austria-Hungary, to Russia, to Germany, these teens all meet each other in unexpected ways, culminating in a group effort to save an enemy. I loved that this story truly showed that there was no bad people, and the complexities of why people fought in the war. The discovery of Ambulance trains via the story of Juliette, a British girl who wanted to serve in the Red Cross, was entirely new and fascinating to me. I'm not sure I've ever heard of them before, speeding their way through Europe to collect the wounded and patching them up again. Each of the teens are on harrowing, unforgettable journeys and I enjoyed my time with every one of them and celebrated when they turned back on again in other's stories. I'm looking forward to reading more of Jennifer's work and seeing what she does next!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew F

    This is one of the few books I’ve read that I won’t rate. This book is meant solely for middle grade readers. I gave this a try since I was interested in the time period and gave it a chance on a whim. Knowing this isn’t for me whatsoever and I don’t have a positive opinion of the book, I won’t give a star rating. The book does a good job featuring kids at the center of the action doing heroic things. Kid readers will clearly love relating to these characters. The book also provides some basic in This is one of the few books I’ve read that I won’t rate. This book is meant solely for middle grade readers. I gave this a try since I was interested in the time period and gave it a chance on a whim. Knowing this isn’t for me whatsoever and I don’t have a positive opinion of the book, I won’t give a star rating. The book does a good job featuring kids at the center of the action doing heroic things. Kid readers will clearly love relating to these characters. The book also provides some basic introductory information about WWI. The history element of the book is very superficial, but could be a good way to engage kids with history. And that’s all this book wanted to be so I can’t fault it for that. However, I do not recommend this book for adults. The story relies heavily on chance encounters and impossible scenarios that no amount of suspension of disbelief can ignore. All of the characters seem to be all knowing about events in the war no child would know and converse with each other with the hindsight of future historians. They understand the implication of events as if they could see decades into the future. Tragic events also get glossed over extremely quickly without giving the characters hardly any chance to grieve or deal with trauma. This is done purposely to teach kids about history, but it weakens the narrative because it’s unrealistic. If you have a young reader in the home that likes these types of stories or want to branch out to historical fiction, I think this is worthwhile to pick up. But I think the author could do more creating historical fiction aimed at younger readers without dumbing it down so much.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus It's 1914, and things are tense in Europe. Felix Baum and his father, who are Jewis and live in Austria-Hungary, see the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Later, they have a visit from Elsa Dressler and her family, long time friends. Elsa raises carrier pigeons and leaves one with Felix, as things are looking fire in Austria-Hungary. When the father is off at war, the Russians take over and Captain Garinov offers Felix's mother a opportunity-- turn over the nam E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus It's 1914, and things are tense in Europe. Felix Baum and his father, who are Jewis and live in Austria-Hungary, see the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. Later, they have a visit from Elsa Dressler and her family, long time friends. Elsa raises carrier pigeons and leaves one with Felix, as things are looking fire in Austria-Hungary. When the father is off at war, the Russians take over and Captain Garinov offers Felix's mother a opportunity-- turn over the names of all of her Jewish friends so they can be put in camps, and he will go easier on her. Felix sends a pigeon to Elsa, who arrives with a wagon to rescue the Baums. Meanwhile, things are bad in England as well, and after the death of her father, Kara Webb accompanies her mother on a Red Cross hospital train, acting as an orderly. She has good medical skills, but runs afoul of the administration when she saves Sgt. Baum's life. He gives her the Golden Cross of Merit that was his father's out of gratitude. Shortly after, Kara meets Juliette in Verdun. Juliette is trying to sell possessions to feed her mother and brothers, and Kara buys a red wool hat from her, but gives it back out of kindness. Juliette and her family try to flee, but the wagon gets stuck. While trying to get it to move, the family is attacked by the Germans and Juliette is separated from them. She passes out, but Kara spots her due to the red hat. She comes aboard the train, but when she has to leave, Kara gives the medal to her. Juliette ends up in a work camp, but eventually runs away and lives in a cave in the woods. By 1917, we also meet Dimitri, a fourteen-year-old Russian boy who has been press ganged into the military and is serving under Garinov. After the death of his friend Igor, he is gravely injured and rescued by Juliette. After he recuperates, he wants to get back to his unit, so Juliette sends him with supplies and the medal. After the death of the tsar, he decides to leave the army. At one point, Elsa comes across him because her father is in charge of prisoners and he is working in their home. He is accused of stealing the medal, which Elsa recognizes as being Felix's father's, and remembers Felix mentioning Kara. As the war winds down, will the five teens be able to find their way back home? Will there be any homes once they get there? Strengths: This was harrowing to read, especially once I realized that Lemberg, where Felix lived, is the modern day Ukranian town of Lviv. World War I doesn't get a lot of coverage, so it was good to have the reasons for the different countries to be fighting. Up until recently, it would have been easy to look at this as a period piece, but looking at Putin's blatant land grab really puts this into perspective. I was able to follow the different perspectives easily enough, and it was interesting to see a range of experiences. The Red Cross hospital train was especially interesting, and the flu pandemic was addressed briefly. This was well researched, and led to a long and interesting conversation with one of my history obsessed friend... maps were involved. (And I'm curious to see if the finished book includes one, since modern day countries are a bit different from that era.) Weaknesses: As in Kessler's When the World Was Ours, it seemed somewhat hard to believe that the characters would run into each other several times during the war, but it did make for a very interesting story. What I really think: Will definitely purchase this, and have to remember to put Resistance up on display on my WWII rack. I have several students following the events in Ukraine right now (3/21/22) who would find this to be a rather illuminative story.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    It's hard to imagine a more relevant middle-grade novel for these turbulent times. Though set in the thick of war-torn Europe during World War I, the themes of demonic despotic rule, innocent wartime slaughter of innocents, and families torn apart by war are prescient of today's newsflashes as they are laid out here in the thrillingly interconnected lives of preteens/young teens Felix (Austrian), Kara (British), Juliette (French), Elsa (German), and Dimitri (Russian). Though separated by languag It's hard to imagine a more relevant middle-grade novel for these turbulent times. Though set in the thick of war-torn Europe during World War I, the themes of demonic despotic rule, innocent wartime slaughter of innocents, and families torn apart by war are prescient of today's newsflashes as they are laid out here in the thrillingly interconnected lives of preteens/young teens Felix (Austrian), Kara (British), Juliette (French), Elsa (German), and Dimitri (Russian). Though separated by language and culture, these five young people have in common a strong ethical sense and sense of justice (in most cases, instilled by their parents); and though all are keenly aware of their powerlessness against the overwhelming odds against their survival, and the political forces that would throttle them, they are driven to tap whatever reserves of courage they can muster deep within their youthful selves not just to save themselves, but also other teens--and adults--who cross their paths desperately seeking some kind of help. We get a front-row seat to unvarnished battlefield scenes, the frazzled life aboard a Red Cross train, and neighbors turning on neighbors as the progress of the war takes one awful turn after another. How did Ms. Nielsen know when she wrote this adventure how tragically Putinesque and Ukrainian the ideologies and scenes she created fictionally would eventually come to be on the real world stage in 2022? Middle-grade students and teachers would be remiss to miss reading and discussing this authentic and ultimately uplifting book in their Language Arts and Social Studies classrooms, in any land or language. Thank you, Ms. N.--long may you share your vital gifts!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shiloh

    4.5 ☆ rounded up Ok, so. My second ever review. First of all, I just want to say that this book was amazing. The characters had a lot of depth, though not so much that the backstories got boring. I've rarely read book about WWI, so at first, it was a little confusing, figuring out everything in my head, but the authors note at the end actually did help a lot. It surprised me that the book was in third person, as I think the rest of Jennifer Nielsen's other books aren't, but I think she did an ama 4.5 ☆ rounded up Ok, so. My second ever review. First of all, I just want to say that this book was amazing. The characters had a lot of depth, though not so much that the backstories got boring. I've rarely read book about WWI, so at first, it was a little confusing, figuring out everything in my head, but the authors note at the end actually did help a lot. It surprised me that the book was in third person, as I think the rest of Jennifer Nielsen's other books aren't, but I think she did an amazing job doing it, especially with the switched perspective. Now for like, the summary part. Kara, a teenaged girl from Britain, longs to become a nurse. She wants to earn her Red Cross pin by working on a train that helps wounded soldiers. Dimitri, from Russia, needs to survive. He is fighting the war against the Germans, weaponless and underage to be a soldier. Juliette, a spirited young girl from France, has to reunite with her family, who she's been separated form, and rescue her imprisoned father. Young Austrian-Hungary boy, Felix, wishes to have the courage to stand up to the soldiers who want to deport the Jews, which includes him and his family. And Elsa, a girl (who uses the word 'most' a lot) from Germany, relies on her homing pigeon to help her find allies in this devastating wartime. Together, the five of them will aid each other in survival, and help them find what they need most- courage to fight, to live. To be free. There. My beautiful explanation. Anyway, there's my review. Bye

  12. 4 out of 5

    a v a

    i am so excited for this book to be released. i fell in love with nielsen's historical fiction books before any of her other ones, and am so ready for another historical fiction. i've been waiting and waiting...and it's almost here!!! *fangirl squeal* i'm also super duper excited for these characters! how could you not be?!? i am so excited for this book to be released. i fell in love with nielsen's historical fiction books before any of her other ones, and am so ready for another historical fiction. i've been waiting and waiting...and it's almost here!!! *fangirl squeal* i'm also super duper excited for these characters! how could you not be?!?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kim McGee

    Jennifer Nielsen has a way of creating characters who are caught in impossible circumstances yet the reader can completely relate to. This time she focuses her attention on WWI and five strangers from the five empires involved in war who come together by fate and guide each other in kindness and strength. Even though their paths are woven together they are fighting a war they don't understand, traveling from their homeland where many of them don't know the fate of the families they left behind, Jennifer Nielsen has a way of creating characters who are caught in impossible circumstances yet the reader can completely relate to. This time she focuses her attention on WWI and five strangers from the five empires involved in war who come together by fate and guide each other in kindness and strength. Even though their paths are woven together they are fighting a war they don't understand, traveling from their homeland where many of them don't know the fate of the families they left behind, wounded, imprisoned or lost. These young people stand by their convictions and offer help to those who are not only strangers but in some instances - enemies as dictated by war. These stories of courage, strength and friendship are usually overshadowed by the horrors of war but in this author's capable hands we see the human side that balances the evil. Riveting historical fiction expertly told that will appeal to middle grades and young adult alike. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    “There is a fire within each of us. If you fuel that fire with anger, it will burn all your happiness. But if you fuel it with courage, then the fire will give you strength to do difficult things.” (45-46) Jennifer Nielsen has become my history teacher. I learned about the rise of the Berlin Wall from A NIGHT DIVIDED, about the Russian occupation of Lithuania (1795-1918) from WORDS ON FIRE, more about Nazi-occupied Poland from reading RESISTANCE, and the French Resistance from RESCUE. My father o “There is a fire within each of us. If you fuel that fire with anger, it will burn all your happiness. But if you fuel it with courage, then the fire will give you strength to do difficult things.” (45-46) Jennifer Nielsen has become my history teacher. I learned about the rise of the Berlin Wall from A NIGHT DIVIDED, about the Russian occupation of Lithuania (1795-1918) from WORDS ON FIRE, more about Nazi-occupied Poland from reading RESISTANCE, and the French Resistance from RESCUE. My father once told me the story about how, as a 6-year-old, he finally was able to walk to the candy store by himself to buy some penny candy. Imagine his excitement! And imagine his disappointment to discover that the store was closing at that very moment. World War I had been declared. A war which meant nothing to a little boy from Pittsburgh. World War I also had little meaning for me, just more dates and names. In Nielsen’s newest novel, LINES OF COURAGE, I learned more in the first chapter about this war than from my high school history classes, seeing the events which precipitated the war from the up close perspective of a young adolescent. “One of the most effective ways to learn about any historical event, and the nuances and effects of those events, is through a novel study—the power of story. Every historical event is distinct and affects people and places uniquely—and each is surrounded by misconceptions, misunderstandings, miscommunications, and differing and shifting perspectives. We may learn about history through textbooks and lectures, but we experience history through novels. And when we live it, we learn it; we do not merely learn about it. We discern the complex issues, and we feel empathy for all affected. We bear witness to the events we read and the plights of the people affected by those events.” (“Learning History through Story” http://www.drbickmoresyawednesday.com...) In Lines of Courage readers experience the war from all perspectives, the Allies and the Central Powers, through the stories of five adolescents: Felix, a young Jew from Austria-Hungary; Kara from Britain whose burning ambition is to earn her Red Cross pin; Juliette from France whose father has been imprisoned; a too-young soldier, Dimitri from Russia; and Elsa from Germany who raises homing pigeons. From June 1914 to November 11, 1918, their stories span the timeline of war. And, as unlikely as it seems, their paths cross as the each find courage to be saved and to save. “…that is life. Mademoiselle, something will always be in your way. So draw your line around it and keep going. You will find your family again, but it will come at the end of a long and crooked path.” (230) A novel for both ELA and Social Studies/History classes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: Deep inside, Felix knew something was wrong. Premise/plot: Lines of Courage is historical fiction (middle grade audience) set during the first world war. The novel opens on June 28, 1914 and concludes on November 11, 1918. The novel doesn't only span the entire war, it also spans Europe. There are FIVE protagonists--five protagonists from five different countries, from both sides of the war. The protagonists are Felix (from Austria-Hungary), Elsa (from Germany), Kara (from Britain First sentence: Deep inside, Felix knew something was wrong. Premise/plot: Lines of Courage is historical fiction (middle grade audience) set during the first world war. The novel opens on June 28, 1914 and concludes on November 11, 1918. The novel doesn't only span the entire war, it also spans Europe. There are FIVE protagonists--five protagonists from five different countries, from both sides of the war. The protagonists are Felix (from Austria-Hungary), Elsa (from Germany), Kara (from Britain), Juliette (from France) and Dimitri (from Russia). (At first I was skeptical as to how these separate stories could come together cohesively. But by the end, I saw.) My thoughts: At first I was skeptical about having FIVE protagonists. That is a LOT of narrators for readers to have to get to know, to come to care for, to become engaged with. It is a big undertaking. For better or worse--my opinion better--the chapters do not alternate. The book is divided into five sections. Each narrator has his or her own section, and narrates a portion of the war. At the end, readers revisit all five protagonists on Armistice day (November 11). My expectations were different coming into this one. I expected ONE narrator, one story. But by the end, I'd come around to HOW this story is told. I think it works. It may not have had me at hello, but, slowly but surely I came to care for this story. The war is bigger than one person's story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    MeganRuth - Alohamora Open a Book

    Solid 4.5 star read. Jennifer Nielsen's newest middle grade historical fiction is solid. It breaks her mold (strong girl character) and instead weaves the story of 5 different kids ( boys and girls) telling different aspects/parts of WWI. A middle grade read about WWI is super rare, and I thought the short stories woven together were well done. At times, the writing felt a bit choppy, or it jumped from one aspect to another without explanation, and I had to reread sections. Overall it was all in Solid 4.5 star read. Jennifer Nielsen's newest middle grade historical fiction is solid. It breaks her mold (strong girl character) and instead weaves the story of 5 different kids ( boys and girls) telling different aspects/parts of WWI. A middle grade read about WWI is super rare, and I thought the short stories woven together were well done. At times, the writing felt a bit choppy, or it jumped from one aspect to another without explanation, and I had to reread sections. Overall it was all in all an excellent read. I highly recommend it. Some favorite quotes: "What was the point of imagining if his mind was already too full of reality. (view spoiler)[ This was from Felix after the assassination attempt. (hide spoiler)] "Sometimes we must grow into our bravery." "Our lives should be messy, b/c that's how our lives connect together."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Erin Isgett

    Another enjoyable middle grade historical fiction by Nielsen! There's not nearly as much written about World War I, so this is a welcome addition. Our middle grade book club has enjoyed her previous books, and we'll be including this one in the fall--lots of good discussion to be had. Another enjoyable middle grade historical fiction by Nielsen! There's not nearly as much written about World War I, so this is a welcome addition. Our middle grade book club has enjoyed her previous books, and we'll be including this one in the fall--lots of good discussion to be had.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    4.5 Stars

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carli

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5. This is an absorbing multi-perspective story set during WWI. Five teens are in different countries and have different lives, but are all brought into each other’s lives during the war. The author does an excellent job of tying the stories together. Highly recommend for both Nielsen’s existing fans as well as those who love Alan Gratz. Recommended for grades 5-8.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tonya

    Although the book takes place during WW1, the bravery the characters portrayed and the kindness for others that are different then ourselves can be carried through with today's division in social believes. Although the book takes place during WW1, the bravery the characters portrayed and the kindness for others that are different then ourselves can be carried through with today's division in social believes.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Hurley-coughlin

    3.5 stars... I really appreciate interested the research on WWI and parallels to today. I personally also adore multiple perspective books. However, this tale stretched believability a tad and read very "young." All that being said, my middle school students who are entranced by historical fiction and war stories will enjoy it. 3.5 stars... I really appreciate interested the research on WWI and parallels to today. I personally also adore multiple perspective books. However, this tale stretched believability a tad and read very "young." All that being said, my middle school students who are entranced by historical fiction and war stories will enjoy it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pam Page

    There are few books on WWI for kids and Jennifer Nielsen has added a fabulous look at this war through the eyes of 5 kids involved in different aspects of the war and in different countries. Love the author's notes at the back of the book. There are few books on WWI for kids and Jennifer Nielsen has added a fabulous look at this war through the eyes of 5 kids involved in different aspects of the war and in different countries. Love the author's notes at the back of the book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rubi

    This book was incredible! And after reading a book this week in which I basically didn't like ANY characters, it was refreshing to read one in which I liked ALL of them 😍😂 Jennifer A. Nielsen really is a master. I loved exploring the different sides of this war from these kids from various country. I also loved that it was acts of kindness that ties them together. It's a good lesson on how one act of bravery, one act of kindness, one choice to do whats right can make a HUGE difference in a life, This book was incredible! And after reading a book this week in which I basically didn't like ANY characters, it was refreshing to read one in which I liked ALL of them 😍😂 Jennifer A. Nielsen really is a master. I loved exploring the different sides of this war from these kids from various country. I also loved that it was acts of kindness that ties them together. It's a good lesson on how one act of bravery, one act of kindness, one choice to do whats right can make a HUGE difference in a life, even MULTIPLE lives! And while there was so much suffering and tragedy as in all wars, I liked that this novel focused and pointed out that not one group of evil or good. There are good and bad people everywhere and we should respect everyone and always treat people humanely. That is what saved that German general at the end, the fact that he treated people right. I loved loved LOVED this book! I think everyone should read it!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Another amazing historical fiction by Jennifer Nielsen. Her passion for writing and historical accuracy comes through in the characters, and the story line. I think I’ve learned more about history- and to love it more by reading her books, than I ever did in college. 5 young people, 5 countries, many chances to show courage. Friendship that comes full circle- even when it seems unlikely that their paths will cross. War is ugly, but kindness and friendship can get you through the worst of times. Another amazing historical fiction by Jennifer Nielsen. Her passion for writing and historical accuracy comes through in the characters, and the story line. I think I’ve learned more about history- and to love it more by reading her books, than I ever did in college. 5 young people, 5 countries, many chances to show courage. Friendship that comes full circle- even when it seems unlikely that their paths will cross. War is ugly, but kindness and friendship can get you through the worst of times. “There is a fire within each of us. If you fuel that fire with anger, it will burn all of your happiness. But if you fuel it with courage, then the fire will give you strength to do difficult things. Anger will not get us through this war. Anger IS the war.”

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christine Barth

    There's not much historical fiction about WWI and none of it is as good as this book. Nielsen did a masterful job of bringing in all sorts of perspectives about the war through the eyes of 5 kids, whose lives all become unexpectedly intertwined by war. I learned a ton, enjoyed a great story, and give the audio narrator an A+! There's not much historical fiction about WWI and none of it is as good as this book. Nielsen did a masterful job of bringing in all sorts of perspectives about the war through the eyes of 5 kids, whose lives all become unexpectedly intertwined by war. I learned a ton, enjoyed a great story, and give the audio narrator an A+!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Aguirre

    Jennifer Nielson is one of my favorite fantasy & MG historical fiction authors. She's done it again in Lines of Courage. It's an amazing story of five young people living through WWI. I highly recommend it. Jennifer Nielson is one of my favorite fantasy & MG historical fiction authors. She's done it again in Lines of Courage. It's an amazing story of five young people living through WWI. I highly recommend it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    Jennifer A. Nielsen, author of Lines of Courage, takes you on not one, but five journeys through World War 1. The multiple plot lines show many different view points and struggles throughout World War 1. There are story lines from soldiers, nurses, leaders, and everyday people who are just trying to survive. Though they are all fighting the same war, each individual battle is different. Nielsen does a great job of connecting each character together at the end. The people that were once fighting Jennifer A. Nielsen, author of Lines of Courage, takes you on not one, but five journeys through World War 1. The multiple plot lines show many different view points and struggles throughout World War 1. There are story lines from soldiers, nurses, leaders, and everyday people who are just trying to survive. Though they are all fighting the same war, each individual battle is different. Nielsen does a great job of connecting each character together at the end. The people that were once fighting against one another end up working together to survive. I think the greatest part of this book is the multiple perspectives. I think this brings such a wide-view perspective to World War 1. The characters faced many decisions on who to help, who to trust, and also figuring out who they are during times of devastation. The multiple perspectives brought so much emotion and information to the story, which I truly believe made a major impact. This book was released at the most perfect time. So many of the events in the book are being seen in today's society. I think this book helps us to learn from the past in hopes that we don't make the same mistake again. Because Nielsen gives us such a wide-view of the event, I hope that others can apply what they see in the book to real-life today. I gave this book five stars because it highlights a historical event that we haven't seen for a while in books, and the topic is so relevant to our world today. This book also deserves five stars because of the way Nielsen flawlessly intertwines multiple stories into one. The ending felt a little impossible to have them all in one place, but I think Nielsen did this to provide closure and provide a deep overall message.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Dulaney

    Jennifer Nielsen’s Rescue, Resistance and Words on Fire maintain high circulation numbers and I expect that Lines of Courage may end up being the most popular of her middle grade historical fiction to date. In this fast-paced look at World War II, 5 young people from Britain, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany and Russia have story lines that begin in their home country but war moves them onto paths that result in overlapping experiences for them all. Along the way, readers will experience life on Jennifer Nielsen’s Rescue, Resistance and Words on Fire maintain high circulation numbers and I expect that Lines of Courage may end up being the most popular of her middle grade historical fiction to date. In this fast-paced look at World War II, 5 young people from Britain, Austria-Hungary, France, Germany and Russia have story lines that begin in their home country but war moves them onto paths that result in overlapping experiences for them all. Along the way, readers will experience life on the Red Cross trains, in the trenches of war-torn France, a German prison camp, and caves used as shelter. The politics of the war is incorporated in a factual, yet understandable way for those in grades 5-8 to comprehend. While the loss of life and destruction of property is clearly present, Nielsen deftly conveys the harshness of war in a way that is entirely appropriate for her audience. Highly recommended for libraries with readership in historical fiction. No profanity or sexual content. Other war-time books that successfully establish multiple story lines then weave them together in impressive ways include Echo (Pam Munoz Ryan) and Refugee (Alan Gratz) Other recommended readalikes are books by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, Allies/Grenade/Ground Zero/Prisoner B-3087/Project 1065 by Alan Gratz, Gary Paulsen’s Soldier’s Heart and Hunger Winter by Rob Currie. Thank you, Scholastic, for sending an arc of Lines of Courage to me for sharing among Twitter arc group, #BookAllies.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lila

    Before I started this book, I knew next to nothing about WWI. Now I know the basics about why it was started, how it happened, and the impact it had on millions of people! This story is told in an exciting way that will keep your pages turning! It is thrilling to see how entwined the characters become, and how they interact with each other. Five youths, five backgrounds, and five dreams they want to accomplish. Such a fun book, and I learned so much! This is one of my top favorite Jennifer A. Nie Before I started this book, I knew next to nothing about WWI. Now I know the basics about why it was started, how it happened, and the impact it had on millions of people! This story is told in an exciting way that will keep your pages turning! It is thrilling to see how entwined the characters become, and how they interact with each other. Five youths, five backgrounds, and five dreams they want to accomplish. Such a fun book, and I learned so much! This is one of my top favorite Jennifer A. Nielsen books, along with Words on Fire, Resistance and The False Prince! How often do you find a great historical fiction story set in WWI? Try this, you won't regret it!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lily Chown

    This book was so good. Reading this book just confirms the fact that Jennifer Nielsen is my favourite author of all time. Her books are amazing and she writes my two favourite genres: fantasy and historical fiction. I’ve loved every book of hers I’ve ever read and this book did not disappoint. It was so cool seeing all the different stories get woven together. Jennifer Nielsen really is a master storyteller. I’ve read many historical fiction books, but I haven’t actually read many on World War 1 This book was so good. Reading this book just confirms the fact that Jennifer Nielsen is my favourite author of all time. Her books are amazing and she writes my two favourite genres: fantasy and historical fiction. I’ve loved every book of hers I’ve ever read and this book did not disappoint. It was so cool seeing all the different stories get woven together. Jennifer Nielsen really is a master storyteller. I’ve read many historical fiction books, but I haven’t actually read many on World War 1. It has always confused me and when I don’t understand the war it’s kind of hard to understand and enjoy the story. But this one was different. I learned so much about the war and for once understood it. The five main characters in five different countries with five different stories put together a really good picture of what the war was actually like and the causes and motives of the different countries that I never understood before. This was a really great read and I’m already anticipating Jennifer Nielsen’s next book, whatever it may be.

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