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Odette's Secrets

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3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  646 ratings  ·  146 reviews
For Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris, nowhere is safe. So when Odette Meyer’s father is sent to a Nazi work camp, Odette’s mother takes desperate measures to protect her, sending Odette deep into the French countryside. There, Odette pretends to be a peasant girl, even posing as a Christian–and attending Catholic masses–with other children. But inside, she is burning with secre ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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YA Historical Fiction 2012
62nd out of 117 books — 675 voters
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281st out of 345 books — 617 voters


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Community Reviews

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Margo Tanenbaum
World War II seems to supply authors, whether those for children or adults, with an inexhaustible supply of true stories for inspiration. Author Maryann Macdonald turns to historical fiction in her new novel, Odette's Secrets, about a young Jewish girl in Paris during the Nazi Occupation. Odette's story is told in spare free verse; we meet her Polish-Jewish parents who have immigrated to Paris with their only daughter Odette. Odette is beloved by her gentile godmother, the concierge at her build ...more
Alex Baugh
"My name is Odette.
I live in Paris."

Odette Meyers lives with her parents in an apartment building in Paris and spends a lots of time with her godmother, Madame Marie, who is also the building's caretaker. Odette is around 5 when the Second World War begins. Her father and uncle immediately enlist in the French army, but are soon captured and sent to a Nazi labor camp. Despite the war, life is OK until the Nazis march into Paris and changes drastically for everyone. And Odette quickly learns tha
...more
Brenda
Odette’s Secrets begins “I live in Paris…but it is about the change…soldiers march, their legs and arms straight as sticks. A funny looking man with a mustache should a speech. His name is Hitler. What are these soldiers? Why do they move like machines?” For Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris, nowhere is safe. So when Odette Meyer’s father, an enlisted soldier in the French Army, is sent to a Nazi work camp, Odette’s mother takes measures to protect her. With the help of her godmother, Madame Marie and ...more
Betsy
Odette's Secrets sounded like it was right up my ally: novel in verse, WWII time period, little explored subject within its time frame. And I did enjoy it. Little Jewish Odette lives in Paris as WWII looms large, and Hitler begins his "cleansing" of Europe. Her father goes to fight for France, and he is soon captured and taken as a prisoner of war. As Paris heats up, her mother hatches a daring plan with other resistance fighters: to send their children to willing strangers in the countryside to ...more
Medeia Sharif
When Odette’s father is taken to a Nazi work camp, her mother does whatever she has to do so she and her daughter can survive. Living in German-occupied Paris is impossible when they are Jewish, so they move. Hiding in the countryside pretending to be Christian is not an easy thing. There are ignorant villagers, the truth ready to bubble over, and issues of money and necessities. This is such a powerful story. The loss of homes, livelihood, and loved ones is a horrible thing to experience. Being ...more
Kelly
Katelyn has been reading this book for a week, and she talks about it every night and asks so many questions, so I decided to read it. It's a quick one day read, and I couldn't put it down. It's based on a true story of a Jewish girl in Paris who had to leave with 3 other young girls and live with a family in the country to escape the Nazis. Odette is only 8 years old when she has to leave her mother, and I just kept thinking of Katelyn being the same age and I just can't imagine her going throu ...more
Robin
This is a great book - the style of writing, the historical details, the characters, the message. I love the way Maryann Macdonald brings young Odette to life for readers. The combination of first-person narrative and free verse poetry makes this work of historical fiction approachable and fast-paced, yet the meaning and beauty of the story are not lost. I hope that kids and grown ups will give this book a shot. I also enjoyed reading the Author's Note and I think young readers will appreciate t ...more
Alexa
[Originally posted on the blog]

It's always interesting to dip into historical fiction, especially when it's written to cater to a younger audience. Odette's Secrets was a sweetly told fictional account of Odette Meyer's experience as a Jew in the time of World War II. What made it unique was the fact that it was written in verse, a type of writing that I haven't had that much experience with. Macdonald managed to write an account that was easy to relate to and informative, and I think a lot of r
...more
Brandy Painter
Originally posted at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

Odette's Secrets by Maryann Macdonald is a historical fiction novel based on facts from the life of a real girl who fled Paris and lived as a hidden child during the Nazi occupation because she was Jewish.

Stories of the many Jewish children who hid within other families and pretended to be some one they aren't are fascinating to me. Odette's story is no different. The first person narration helps the reader really see through Odette's eyes and
...more
Ms. Yingling
Odette and her parents live in Paris, and don't really think much about their Polish/Jewish heritage until Paris is invaded. Odette's father goes off to fight in the war but is soon captured, and the kindly landylady, Madame Marie, and her husband, Henri, make sure that Odette and her mother have enough food. The mother works for the Resistance for a while, and sends Odette to the country to live with the Raffins for a while. Odette enjoys the country, and doesn't mind learning to be "Christian" ...more
Teresa Garrett
Odette is Jewish in Paris during WWII. Her parents are basically non practicing Jews but they do little to hide the fact that they are Jewish. Odette is leading a normal life with school, friends and family until WW II intrudes. First her father joins the French army in an attempt to stop the Nazis and her mother joins the French resistance. Odette's life continue as normal until she is forced to wear the yellow Star of David. From that point on nothing is right and eventually she is sent into t ...more
Sara
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Kelly Hager
This is such a sad story. It's not as sad as it could be, obviously---Odette and her mom survive the war, which means that she's better off than a lot of others---but still. This isn't THAT far in the past, not really, and while I like to think that we've grown better as a species, I also know better.

The Holocaust is such a hard subject to write about, and I'm sure it's hard to tell these stories---they're so awful that it's hard to believe. (Note: I'm not a Holocaust denier at all. Those people
...more
Snorkle
This story was different from other books I've read about the Holocaust, mainly because I had not heard (or maybe I've forgotten) about the children who escaped by pretending to be someone else. I liked the historical details and it was interesting to see how much of a struggle it was for Odette. She had to live a very structured lifestyle and was in a constant state of fear that people would not believe her "lifestyle" and take her away.

When I was younger, I was obsessed with historical fiction
...more
Tasha
This true story of a young Jewish girl growing up in Nazi-occupied Paris is told in verse. Odette’s father is sent to a Nazi work camp and her mother works hard to protect Odette. As the Jews in Paris are steadily more badly treated, Odette has to wear a yellow star on her clothing and is unwelcome in many places in the city. Even at school, Odette is bullied for being Jewish. When their apartment is raided in the middle of the night, Odette and her mother hide in their landlady’s cupboard. Afte ...more
Cindy Hudson
Odette was four years old living in Paris with her mother and father at the outbreak of World War II. Right away her father volunteered for the army and went off to fight. As time went by things got more and more difficult for Jewish families in Paris, and Odette’s mother made plans for where they would go if they needed to escape the city.

Odette’s real life story has been brought to life in fiction for young readers in Odette’s Secrets by Maryann Macdonald. After reading Odette’s autobiography,
...more
PacaLipstick Gramma
I won this in a Goodreads Giveaway.

This is a work of fiction, based on the real life of Odette Meyers. Facts are taken from Odette's autobiography, Doors to Madame Marie, and from the author's visits to the the places of Odette's childhood.

I absolutely loved this book. Written in a lyrical prose that draws you in immediately. From the perspective of Odette, an 8 year old Jewish girl, it is poignant portrait of how things were for Jewish children in Paris. I can't begin to imagine what it was lik
...more
Pamela Bennett

From the first page, this dear little girl, Odette, draws you into her world. You sit beside her in the darkened cinema and see the flash of jack-booted Nazis flash across the screen. You feel the splinters of glass beneath your shoes, surveying the broken shop window with her and her mother. Through the use of free-verse poetry, Odette’s joys, and fears are vividly and perfectly expressed. It all feels so real. You fully comprehend why a child’s concern for the loss of her doll can be on a leve
...more
Nicole
When it comes to children’s books about WWII, everyone thinks of The Diary of Anne Frank. Though I certainly do not want to devalue her writing, I was happy to see a different perspective of equal quality. Maryann Macdonald gives her readers a story just as true – Odette was a real person and Macdonald researched her quite a bit – and personalized. In it Odette presents her story through free verse, lending a simple beauty to the pages.
Odette, a young girl, considers herself French as she alway
...more
Anners
Maryann Macdonald’s Odette’s Secrets is a fictional retelling of a young Jewish girl’s life in hiding during the Nazi occupation of France. This middle-grade historical fiction novel brings little new to the genre of Holocaust fiction, but is a strong introduction to the topic in the same tradition as classics such as When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, or Number the Stars. Odette’s story opens as WWII is just beginning and persecution of Jews in France is escalating. After Paris falls to the Nazis, ...more
Lacey Louwagie
This is a beautiful book. It's based on the live of Odette Meyers, who was sent to the countryside to live with a family and pretend to be Catholic to escape being sent to a concentration camp.

No matter how much I read, see, or learn, the Holocaust never ceases to be horrifying. Told through Odette's eyes in verse, the images lose much of their original context, as she doesn't fully understand what has happened. There are hints of the concentration camps in the book's final pages, through the ha
...more
Maggie
Jun 30, 2013 Maggie added it
Maryann Macdonald's Odette's Secrets is elegiac and moving. Odette's a Jewish child living in Paris in World War II. Written in the first person, in a sort of free-verse narrative poetry, Odette tells of daily life in Paris and then in the countryside, keeping secrets all the while. Her child's voice comes through loud and clear, reminding me even of the imperious echt-child Eloise in declarations like "If I had a pet, / I would never give it up!" Her life is hard and complicated, and to survive ...more
Amanda Steadman
A quick read, mainly because it is written in free verse poetry. I was surprised how much I liked this one. Had I realized it was free verse, I NEVER would have picked it up from the library. Usually that kind of thing just drives me batty. In this case, it was very fitting to the character. After I got used to reading that way, it didn't actually bother me at all.

I particularly liked that the author included historical photographs of the people in the book and the notes at the end. Wish the ti
...more
Penny Peck
Based on a true story, Odette and her mother live in Paris during World War II; her father joins the French army to fight the Nazis. Luckily, she is surrounded by caring adults, including the landlady and her husband to help protect Odette and her mother, who are Jewish. Told in free verse poetry, this novel has a spare and quiet quality which actually makes the impact of the war even more striking than if the narrative was overly dramatic. Odette is sent to the country and a nice foster family, ...more
Linda
Written in verse, this book tells the story of a young Jewish girl sent from Paris to the country in order to survive WWII. The first thing she is taught after leaving Paris is how to be Catholic so no one will suspect she is there in hiding. The story is based on actual events. Its a relatively quick read, but the story has left an impression on me. A good recommendation for those who want books about WWII and how children were dispersed. It explores the faith of a child who is forced to wear a ...more
Adrienne
Odette is a Jewish child living in Paris when WWII breaks out. Her father joins the French Army and her mother joins the French resistance. Odette is sent to the country to live there, posing as a Christian child so that she won't be taken away by the Nazis. Since her family has never really practiced Judaism, Odette has no problem learning about saints and prayers and bringing Christianity into her life at first, but later questions her identity and who she really is.

This is a moving verse nove
...more
Teresa
Told in verse, very accessible.

At first I didn't think this was going to cover any new ground, but I really liked how the very act of keeping a secret affected Odette. The people she trusted most in the world have told her to lie.

And then, the fact that she found the saints and medals and various Christian rituals very comforting, but knew that they irritated her mother (when she later joined her in the countryside) is an interesting dynamic. Also, feeling safer in the country and not wanting
...more
EmmaT
Odette and her mother are living during the war and have to act like Christians until the war is over. I liked because it was intense and all the hiding sounds painful. I would reccomend this to boys or girls who like tragic stories.
Erin
Maryann Macdonald's novel Odette's Secrets is a beautifully written historical novel about a young Jewish girl who is hiding, as a Christian, from the Nazi soldiers. Odette is put in many difficult situations, but her willingness to comply and hiding her true identity ultimately become the reason she and her mother make it through the war without having been captured. This book seems to be written for about middle school aged children, the author did a fantastic job of describing the horrors of ...more
Dena (Batch of Books)
I have always appreciated books about World War II. There are so many sides to the story, and each one is unique. I love the simple free verse writing in Odette's Secrets. It conveys her feelings and experiences with a distinct voice. It is a beautifully written story of a girl whose family all came back together even after the horrific trials of the war.

Odette's experiences are written in a way that is accessible to children. They will be able to connect to her story and hopefully see it for wh
...more
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Teacher's Guides, anyone? 1 3 Aug 09, 2013 05:34PM  
Why free verse? 1 6 Aug 03, 2013 05:40PM  
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