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Graffiti Knight

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  216 ratings  ·  45 reviews
After a childhood cut short by war and the harsh strictures of Nazi Germany, sixteen-year-old Wilm is finally tasting freedom. In spite of the scars World War II has left on his hometown, Leipzig, and in spite of the oppressive new Soviet regime, Wilm is finding his own voice. It’s dangerous, of course, to be sneaking out at night to leave messages on police buildings. But ...more

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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  216 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Rachel Seigel
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely brilliant and compelling work of historical fiction. Wilhem is a complex and layered character, as are his family members and friends. It's about impossible choices, justice, friendship and hope, and it's a fast-paced page-turner. An absolute must-read!
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.

It was good to get back to one of my favourite book topics, especially with a book written by someone from my home province!
Offering a fresh perspective on life for Germans after WWII, this book follows sixteen-year-old Wilm as he navigates Leipzig that is under control of the Soviets. Starting quietly with silly pranks, he leads his friends on missions that become increasingly more daring and that ultimately necessitate their fleeing the city. Readers will be able to feel the slowly simmering hatred that builds in Wilm toward the army that he considers to be his country's oppressors as well as Ernst, once someone he ...more
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There is always another side of the story, and this book makes that abundantly clear. It has compelling, believable characters, and it is set in a place and time period that I knew little about -- despite the fact that my Dad lived in Leipzig during the time period in which the story takes place. My Dad has never talked much about the war and its aftermath, but after reading about Wilm and how he felt about and coped with his circumstances, I think I now have a better understanding of why my Dad ...more
Sylvia McNicoll
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What makes this book special is that it captures a portion of history that has been buried and almost forgotten: the way the victors treat their captives and people once a war is over specifically in this story, WWII. Wilm is a compelling hotheaded rebel taking his mischief against the police and the Soviets to a point that endangers not only himself but his family and friends. Eventually he must say good bye to everything he has ever known.
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Courtney by: Top Grade (ACP) at work.
I've been trying to sit and get this review done for... over a month! I enjoyed the book, so I've no idea why this is taking so long. Wish me luck.

Graffiti Knight takes place in East Germany after the fall of World War II, when the Eastern half of the country was under the control of the Soviets. While you might think this is an upgrade from the [nutcase] system in place running it a decade before, the picture we see of our characters lives make it very clear that isn't the case.

East Germany i
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was well-written -but Bass is actually quite ahistorical in her writing. She does not acknowledge the reasons the Soviets would be furious with the Germans - the Nazi atrocities on the Eastern front were horrendous. Bass does not deal with the history of Nazi Germany at all - in her world, all the former soldiers were merely conscripts. This is a story many Germans tell each other (and I know this from my own family history). Bass leaves out the choices people made to support fascism. This ...more
Morton Hummer
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wilm goes to school during the day like a normal teen, but at night he goes around destroying the soviets property. Karen Bass’s book Graffiti Knight storyline does very well at keeping your attention. The main character that the author created appeals to me. I like the main character wilm because he feels like he makes everything worse for his sister and he wants to do everything to protect her. I also like the fact that he is not afraid to do things to the Soviets. The fact that he is willing ...more
Jessa Franco
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I really didn't like the writing style, so although I want to give it less stars I'm giving it an even 3 because I know that's probably a personal problem and not necessarily going to apply to everyone.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Ok, so this was a Nutmeg choice, and I didn't finish it. It just wasn't holding my attention (gave up at page 124).
Originally posted at http://canlitforlittlecanadians.blogs...

Many books of historical fiction focus on the atrocities and hardships of war time but few examine the aftermath of war, especially for civilians in the defeated countries. Children's fiction and non-fiction of life in Nazi Germany abound, particularly for those who were victimized by the Nazis. But, after Germany's surrender in 1945, its lands were divided between four occupation zones administered by the British, Americans, French an
Shonna Froebel
This teen novel is set in Leipzig, Germany in 1947. Wilm is in his second last year of high school, yet he has stopped trying in school. Living in the Soviet Zone of Germany feels like being in prison, his sister has become a shadow of her former self, and his father's war injury has left him resentful and his mother subdued. Wilm escapes on the weekends to his uncle Bruno's farm to work and get some much needed food. His math teacher Herr Bader has taken an interest in him and tries to get him ...more
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, ya, canadian
Latest YA novel out of Pajama Press-Lots of action and finger biting moments. Takes place in Liepzig, Germany two years after WWII is over and is seen through the eyes of a 16 year old German boy, Wilm who longs for the old days and just to be a kid a little while longer but is driven to grow up over night when he hears some horrifying news about his beloved older sister. After witnessing his one-legged war veteran father assaulted by some local Schupos, German policemen working for the Russian ...more
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
If I could give this book 6 stars, I would. This is one of those rare books that seems to pulse by the bedside, willing me to slip away an hour earlier, just to find out what happens. Undoubtedly a page-turner, it is the characters that really drive this book.

Wilhelm (he prefers Wilm!) is an angry, confused 16 year old who can't make sense of his sister's complete withdrawal since her boyfriend dumped her out of nowhere almost a year ago. What happened to make her so depressed? When he finds ou
Anne Patton
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book provides an intimate portrait of the harsh realities of life in the Soviet Zone of East Germany in 1947: scarce food supplies, cruel and arbitrary masters, inadequate housing and rubble-clogged streets. In the Tauber family the father is demoralized, the sister has retreated into a shell, the mother cowtows to her volatile husband and 16 year-old Wilm is angry. He persuades his two best friends to support him in harassing the police.
As his rebellion escalates, several caring adults tr
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved learning more about the city of Leipzig which I’d briefly visited several years ago. It was also fascinating to learn about the unfamiliar-to-me time period there after the Second World War when the Soviet Army was in control. It was a desperately poor time when the East German people didn’t know who they could trust. Sixteen-year-old Wilm has the courage (or foolhardiness) to risk vandalism and writing shaming graffiti at night to humiliate the Schupo (German police). Karen Bass has cre ...more
Dec 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was definitely unlike anything I've already read. I was quite curious about the subject matter, as having family with experience in these kinds of political situations, the concept was captivating.

The world felt quite real to me. The characters were convincing, and their actions profound. The last half of the book I could barely put it down, and although had hopes for the characters of what would happen, the stakes felt raised enough to convince me that anything could happen.

My only difficu
Jessie Stevens
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love historical fiction but often I feel like I read a different spin on the same time and place over and over and…

Mind you, I’m not complaining, I still love it.

But a book written about post WWII soviet controlled Germany, from a German view point ? That was something entirely new.

This is a young adult novel and, as most young adult novels do, it contains a main character of an age that is full of angst, invincibility and self importance. He is crafted so well that I could imagine sitting in
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The book Graffiti Knight is a thrilling adventure that leaves you breathless and you won't want to put it down once you start reading it. It is full of adventure and action as the German boy Wilm and his friends decide to secretly and cunningly protest against outrageous Schupos. The author Karen Bass does a very good job of putting detail and life into Wilm and his graffiti attacks on Soviet property.

I loved this book very much and enjoyed it because Karen Bass has creatively recreated a histor
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways, ya
I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway.

This is the story of Wilm, a teenager living in post WWII, Soviet occupied Germany. The book highlights the struggles faced by people living in war ravaged countries, regardless of which side they were on during the war. Food is scarce, the townspeople are mistreated, and Wilm is struggling to cope. Eventually, with the help of his friends, he decided to take action instead and stand up for himself.

I enjoyed reading this book. It is well written, a
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, for-jury
It’s not too often I hear about World War 2 era stories that are from the perspective of Germans. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but I really enjoyed it. Graffiti Knight is an interesting view of life in Germany following the war. The kids deal with hunger, violent oppressive police, mistreatment of their older sisters, and depressed or alcoholic parents. Young reader’s will enjoy the protagonist with a rebellious streak and good heart. The balancing act of keeping his independence, ...more
Aug 10, 2014 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. It's absolutely a time period that's not written enough about, at least in YA fiction, and it's well-written and gripping. But as an English major with a minor in history, who's studied a bit of German and has a particular interest in this time period, I know that it's only skimming the surface of what it could be, which made it a little disappointing for me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it and would recommend it - I'm just not sure if it's as strong of a ...more
Tyler Bachinsky
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a verry great book!!! It tells of a young boy who lives in Germany two years after WWII. The portion of the city that Whilham lives in is controlled by the Russians. This book is a details account of a young boy named Whilham. The Russian soldiers that surround the city treat the people living in the city like dirt. As a form of protest Whim (Whilhams nick name) and some of his friend set out to on a devious mission. There plan is to slowly but surely graffiti all the government building ...more
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend to teachers that GRAFFITI KNIGHT by Karen Bass be used in classrooms. This well-researched and well-written compelling historical novel is set in 1947 East Germany, in an area occupied by the Soviets. Bass gives a rare look into a period and place in history not taught in U.S. schools. And the author does it through the lives of teens that teens anywhere can relate to. Believable characters in a repressive and punitive society, trying to find food, and love, and how to belong. ...more
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chsbc-nominee
make that 3.75; thought the start limped along--sounded almost translated---but the last half had the adrenaline pumping! i'm pretty saturated with WWII stories, but it was really interesting to hear this one of Soviet-occupied Germany just after the war. I think Bass does a great job of showing how helpless so many Germans felt, and the voices of her teen main characters sounds authentic. Liked the father-son conflict/resolution, the main character's insight into his own motives, and the sister ...more
Graeme Connell
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Graffiti Knight is listed as juvenile fiction but I was totally absorbed by the scheming adventures and brilliance of the teenager central to the story in war ravaged Germany and the dangers he and his pals faced in Soviet territory. The bleak scenery of the bomb blasted city rose realistically chapter after chapter as I followed Wilm as his personality hardened against his oppressors. His life changed. The lives of his closest friends changed and they set out together to find that new post war ...more
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
- Action-packed gripping teen novel written by Alberta author
- Germany after WW II
Read the ARC and passed it on to my 14 yr. old grandson who was very intrigued with the story-line of a young man's action plan to retaliate with graffiti and tire slashing for his family's suffering under the Soviet's hands. Unfortunately it doesn't stop there. He ends up putting his family and friends in danger.

Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wilm, a young German youth tries to fight back against the Soviets when they invade southeast Germany.
His sister,Anneliese is raped by the Soviet soldiers. Wilm decides to get even with the help of his friend Karl and George.
Wilm meets Otto a bridge inspector who warns him about the dangerous game he is playing and warns it is better to build than destroy.
Wilm is out for revenge against Ernst who hurt his sister and all the Russians who have invaded their country,
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“It doesn’t matter which side of a conflict a person is on, war makes victims of us all.” World War II had been over for two years, and Wilm and his family face the aftermath of German defeat. An action-packed emotional story filled with foolishness, friendship and courage. This story will appeal to mature readers ages twelve and up.
A nice change from dystopian, vampire, werewolf, etc reads for Teens.
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is certainly one of the best YA texts I've read this past year, and trust me, I've read many trying to find a new engaging text for my grade 10 English students. Very excited to be teaching this novel this fall and planning activities with a colleague.

I agree with other is the perspective of Wilm that makes this novel unique. The relationships developed are also rich with authenticity and detail. Even the villain Ernst has dimension.
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Karen's high school teacher told her she should be a writer, but it took quite a few years for that thought to take root. She began writing shortly after she was hired to manage the local library. Run Like Jager is her first novel. Since then she has published Summer of Fire and Drummer Girl, all with Coteau Books. Her newest novel, Graffiti Knight, was released in August 2013 (Pajama Press).

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