C.G. Drews's Reviews > Rose Under Fire

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth E. Wein
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, best-of-2014, historical-fiction, read-2014, young-adult

I went in knowing there was a 99.9% chance my heart would be ripped out and trampled on. (Thanks to Code Name Verity.) So did I survive?


Elizabeth Wein is a story-telling mastermind and genius. I'll read anything she writes. Because she has this way with making a reader get hooked into the story SO DARN BADLY that it's impossible to breathe, because you experience what the narrator is going through. And it's never pretty. She writes such grisly stories about truth and realism. She writes about everything. It's not taboo. It's like the real story. I mean, they're fictional, but they're based on the real story. (I read the author's note.)

Rose is spectacularly brave and phenomenal and real. I could cry right now. All she went through? Her PTSD? Her reactions and actions...omg, how is it possible to capture all of this in a 400-page book?! I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW A BOOK CAN BE WRITTEN THIS WELL. Rose is soft and lyrical. She's a dreamer and seriously sweet. But she's feisty too, on the side, and won't sit down and refuse to fight. Since she's a poet there's a lot of her poetry in the book...something I'm normally not fond of. But here? I didn't mind it.

The first part of the book is about Rose fighting in the war as a pilot. Then a mission goes wrong and we get those devastatingly sad letters from Rose's friend, Maddie (YES from Code Name Verity! SQUEEEE. CAMEO) and everyone believes Rose is dead. I nearly couldn't breath going through that part. Then Rose returns and begins writing in her journal about what happened to her in her 6 months of silence. Two words: Concentration camp. It makes me sick. It's written with such perfect detail that it literally feels like a true-blue account. I just...I couldn't, most of the time. I was so devestatingly sad. IT'S DEPRESSING. And it's horrible! There's torture and starvation and freaky experiments.

Rose gets "adopted" by the "Rabbits"...who are a group of Polish girls and women in the camp, who've been mutilated through the sickening Nazi experiments. They've practically had their legs hacked up to stimulate gunshot wounds and had infections sewed into them, had their bones and muscles cut out. They're all cripples. It's so so so so horrific. We meet Roza, who is the fiestiest pain-in-the-neck, bitter little pumpkin. I loved Roza. She was 14 when she went into the Concentration Camp. She's horrible. She is a mean little bitchy girl. I'M NOT KIDDING. AND SHE HAS EVERY RIGHT TO BE. And in amongst her meanness, she just needs someone to love her, and oh oh oh...I believe my heart is broken now.

Her friendship with Rose? It's so special.
And there are other Rabbits too, and I won't go into everyone...but Lisset and Karolina and Idena and Elodie??? THEY ARE ALL SO INCREDIBLE. It's actually qutie a large cast, but was I ever lost? No. NO no no. I loved these girls.


And in a way they are. (Were.) This stuff happened and the author (in her note at the back) says she wrote it because it's their story and it needs to be told and never ever forgotten.

I'm an emotional mess. The ending was a lot easier than Code Name Verity. It was traumatic. BAD STUFF WENT DOWN, PEOPLES. But I had a lot more closure at the end of this one, and there was hope in the darkness, and I just...the ending had a sniff of happiness and thaaaaank you, Elizabeth Wein. THANK YOU for giving these characters a small rainbow.

And me, too, you know. I'm like, a mess here.

The best historical fiction I've ever read would be this book. And Code Name Verity. The writing is phenomenal, the characters are incredible, the detail is exquisite and gruesome.

I need a moment.
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Reading Progress

April 30, 2013 – Shelved
April 30, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
September 13, 2014 – Started Reading
September 14, 2014 –
30.0% "I think I'm going to cry."
September 26, 2014 –
page 211
44.8% "This book is HARD to read. It is a) freaking sad, b) freaking creepy, and c) freaking confronting."
September 27, 2014 –
page 263
55.84% "Oh gosh...the actual medical horrors this book is detailing. It's despicable and so so sad."
October 7, 2014 –
page 380
80.68% "I'm nearly finished with this torturous book. God, but I live it though."
October 8, 2014 – Shelved as: 5-star
October 8, 2014 – Shelved as: best-of-2014
October 8, 2014 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
October 8, 2014 – Shelved as: read-2014
October 8, 2014 – Shelved as: young-adult
October 8, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-17 of 17 (17 new)

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message 1: by Zoe (last edited Sep 13, 2014 07:38PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zoe You're reading it Cait? HOW CAN YOU DO THAT TO YOURSELF? Haha - just kidding! It will rip out your feels though - just sayin'. ;) I actually liked this more than Verity (not as many pointless, boring plane details in the beginning), so I'm interested in hearing your thoughts. :)

C.G. Drews I'm listening to it on audio so it'll probably take a while. ;-) But I know, right?! I'M JUST ASKING FOR EMOTIONAL TORTURE. I already adored ch 1. xD

Anne Going to go see if the library has a copy of this. Ready for the heartbreak!

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Now I really want to read this, but I don't think I'm ready for the heartbreak...If it's anything like The Book Thief I will die, I have to read this.

message 5: by Ella (new) - added it

Ella Alright, alright, YOU'VE CONVINCED ME. I will go and order this from the library now and start preparing my feels to be SMUSHED.

message 6: by Zoe (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zoe I actually liked this one more than Code Name Verity because it didn't have all the boring plane details at the beginning - LOL. ;) And I completely agree - such a tear-jerking, beautifully written read. The characters were the best, and my heart weeps for them all.

Honestly, though, the saddest part about this book (to me at least) wasn't the details about the Rabbits and the horrors the Nazis did. It was seeing how they tortured them so much that they weren't themselves anymore when they got out of the camps. It made me cry so much seeing how the experience changed Rose.

Thanks for sharing Cait! <3 Glad you loved this one as much as CNV. Now we can cry together, no? *offers tissues*

C.G. Drews @Anne: You need iiiiiiit in your life, I absolutely promise you.

@Louise: It is kind of like The Book Thief. Have you read Code Name Verity? It's NOT as gut-ripping as that.


C.G. Drews @Zoe: I kind of loved the plane details, buuuuut, they did get boring. Like I couldn't handle them reading, but on audio I was totally interested. XD

Oh but yes. Totally yes. Just seeing the after-affects of the torture and what it turned them into while they were there. Like how Roza was really quite an awful person, but...but...but I understood her.

*accepts tissues and passes round consolatory chocolate*


message 10: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, i read it yesterday and I've started this one...
Oh I loved all the details, I've flown a plane before and want to get my pilots license as soon as I can afford it, I've been saving up, and I'm almost of age; soooon, soooon :)

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh, I'm still reeling from Code Name Verity...that was an amazing book, i just need to find a way to write a coherent review...that'll happen :)

message 13: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Louise: The details are sooooo amazing! I've never flown a plane before, but seriously...the writing makes me feel like I am flying. IT'S SO INCREDIBLE. RUF is less-planish than CNV though.

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

That's okay. Yeah, all the details just made me want to get back into a plane, evil authoress, and then she tore up my feels and made me think about what I would've done in Julies or Maddies situation. EVIL AUTHORS!!!! Yeah, I have a ton of feelings, also, I am reading Blood of Olympus...AND Rose Under Fire, at the same time. The FEELS.

message 15: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews OMG. You are really getting it!! Is Blood of Olympus perfection?? I'm so behind with that series but I'm determined to catch up before the end of the year.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh YEEESSS! I posted a review, not very informative, but spoiler free (I absolutely promise). I also finished a review of Rose Under Fire...evil authors.

Shanti If you liked these books you should definitely read The Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper. They have equally appealing heroines, though it is about the Home Front and not Europe as much, but they are very well researched

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