The Boat Runner
A DUTCH SEAFARER, TURNED SMUGGLER.In the tradition of All The Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale, comes an incandescent debut novel about a young Dutch man who comes of age during the perilousness of World War II.Beginning in the summer of 1939, fourteen-year-old Jacob Koopman and his older brother, Edwin, enjoy lives of prosperity and quiet contentment. Many of the residents in their small Dutch town have some connection to the Koopman lightbulb factory, and the locals hold the family in high esteem. On days when they aren’t playing with friends, Jacob and Edwin help their Uncle Martin on his fishing boat in the North Sea, where German ships have become a common sight. But conflict still seems unthinkable, even as the boys’ father naively sends his sons to a Hitler Youth Camp in an effort to secure German business for the factory.When war breaks out, Jacob’s world is thrown into chaos. The Boat Runner follows Jacob over the course of four years, through the forests of France, the stormy beaches of England, and deep within the secret missions of the German Navy, where he is confronted with the moral dilemma that will change his life—and his life’s mission—forever. Epic in scope and featuring a thrilling narrative with precise, elegant language, The Boat Runner tells the little-known story of the young Dutch boys who were thrown into the Nazi campaign, as well as the brave boatmen who risked everything to give Jewish refugees safe passage to land abroad. Through one boy’s harrowing tale of personal redemption, here is a novel about the power of people’s stories and voices to shine light through our darkest days, until only love prevails. 

The Boat Runner Details

TitleThe Boat Runner
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 5th, 2017
PublisherHarper Perennial
ISBN-139780062658012
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War, World War II

The Boat Runner Review

  • Angela M
    January 1, 1970
    So many books tell of the magnitude of WWII - taking so many lives, impacting so many people, the Holocaust, the death, losses of loved ones and homes . This is the story of one town in Holland, the story of one family, representative of so many families in occupied countries and how their lives were forever changed by the loss of loved ones, by the loss of their lives as they knew it . We first meet 14 year old Jacob Koopman, who lives a comfortable life with his parents and brother Edwin short So many books tell of the magnitude of WWII - taking so many lives, impacting so many people, the Holocaust, the death, losses of loved ones and homes . This is the story of one town in Holland, the story of one family, representative of so many families in occupied countries and how their lives were forever changed by the loss of loved ones, by the loss of their lives as they knew it . We first meet 14 year old Jacob Koopman, who lives a comfortable life with his parents and brother Edwin shortly before the German invasion and subsequent surrender of Holland. They become caught in the the middle of the German occupation with their lives, their work taken over and the British bombing to get the Germans who have taken over the lightbulb factory owned by Jacob's father. This is tough to read at times. It's heartbreaking, gruesome at times and relentlessly sad. Four years pass and Jacob at 18 can't be sure who the enemy is, who he should hate - the Nazis who took over his country and his life or the British RAF who bomb his town and take so much more away from him. His moral ambiguity charts a dangerous course for him. The writing drew me in immediately and it is so impressive for a debut novel. The characters are developed so fully . We come to know well not only Jacob, but his brother Edwin and his love of art, his father's drive to protect his business in belief that it will protect his family, his mother's love of her family and her music and his Uncle Martin who ultimately becomes the beacon of hope for Jacob to find his way to redemption. An amazing ending brought tears and hope to me with its relevancy for today. Highly recommended.I received an advanced copy of this book from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    It's 1939 in Holland and war is about to erupt. Two young Dutch brothers, Jacob and Edwin, are sent to a German camp in order for their father to secure German business. Then, the war starts and they are separated and their lives are never the same again. The weight of the war, the sense of revenge, the loss, the helplessness. Jacob turns to joining the german forces as the allies have destroyed his life. Naive and too young to serve, he enters blindly feeling conflicted about his loyalties. A c It's 1939 in Holland and war is about to erupt. Two young Dutch brothers, Jacob and Edwin, are sent to a German camp in order for their father to secure German business. Then, the war starts and they are separated and their lives are never the same again. The weight of the war, the sense of revenge, the loss, the helplessness. Jacob turns to joining the german forces as the allies have destroyed his life. Naive and too young to serve, he enters blindly feeling conflicted about his loyalties. A coming of age story wherein lies his truth.Another isolated story of so many we don't hear about- the risks people took to rescue others; the children, learning at such a young age of hate; of loss; of war. 4⭐️
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  • Brenda - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars Traveling Sisters Review by Brenda with Lindsay, Susanne and Jennifer I read The Boat Runner with three of my Traveling Sisters and we were split into different coulees with this one. Some of spilt in the all my heart and emotion Lush Coulee and the rest of us were lost in the overwhelmed Dreary Coulee. The Boat Runner is an ambitious original heartbreaking heavy story of personal tragedy for our main character 14-year-old Jacob. When we first meet Jacob things started off a little slo 3.5 Stars Traveling Sisters Review by Brenda with Lindsay, Susanne and Jennifer I read The Boat Runner with three of my Traveling Sisters and we were split into different coulees with this one. Some of spilt in the all my heart and emotion Lush Coulee and the rest of us were lost in the overwhelmed Dreary Coulee. The Boat Runner is an ambitious original heartbreaking heavy story of personal tragedy for our main character 14-year-old Jacob. When we first meet Jacob things started off a little slow for us as we see and get comfortable with Jacob’s comfortable life and his strong relationship with his brother and parents. Very quickly personal tragedy hits Jacob and his family and we are surrounded by grief, loss, and guilt. This is where we slowing started making our way out of the coulee with half of us separating into the Lush Coulee and the other half getting lost in the Dreary Coulee. So much is thrown at Jacob and very quickly the story became overwhelming with the relentless grief and sadness for some of us. For the sisters lost and really enjoying the Lush Coulee they were drawn to the the intense emotion and felt like they were living through this devastating time with Jacob and were completely immersed in his life. Devin Murphy does a good job creating strong characters faced with tough decisions that had us thinking, questioning and discussing their choices. We enjoyed discussing and seeing how differently we felt towards this story The Boat Runner left us all feeling exhausted but in different ways. The sisters in the Lush Coulee were left feeling exhausted in a good way making this one an unforgettable story and the rest of us exhausted and just wanting to get out of the Dreary Coulee. We all still highly recommend this one. Thank you to Edelweiss, Harper Perennial and Devin Murphy for a copy to read and review.Our full Traveling Sister review can be found on our sister blog:https://twosisterslostinacouleereadin...
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    A fantastic debut novel. It is 1939, Jacob is 14 years old, his father owns and runs a light manufacturing plant in their Dutch town. He looks up to his brother Edwin, and adores his mother, respects his father, who has made a very decent living for this small family. This begins to change with the arrival of the Nazis, his father trying to curry favor in the hopes of landing the large and profitable Volkswagen contract. He even sends Jacob and Edwin to the junior Nazi camp. Jacob's, Uncle is a A fantastic debut novel. It is 1939, Jacob is 14 years old, his father owns and runs a light manufacturing plant in their Dutch town. He looks up to his brother Edwin, and adores his mother, respects his father, who has made a very decent living for this small family. This begins to change with the arrival of the Nazis, his father trying to curry favor in the hopes of landing the large and profitable Volkswagen contract. He even sends Jacob and Edwin to the junior Nazi camp. Jacob's, Uncle is a fisherman with a large boat, his experience in the North Sea, and in an effort to save his family, goes to work for the Germans. He is, however, doing much more than is apparent.This is a coming of age story, a book about conflicting loyalties, and about a family trying to stay alive, while overcoming profound grief. A different aspect of the war, another book that adds additional information to the WWII canon. It is Jacob though, who we follow as he reacts in startling ways to the events as they unfold. He grows up during this war, quickly as many had to, watches and observes, though at first he reacts foolishly. He finely sees, and in the end will make the right, albeit dangerous choice. Some people he encounters are as need as him, some help and are invaluable to his survival. Such an interesting and well written book. It felt very honest, very authentic. While I can't say I enjoyed some of this book, the realities of that time being particularly harsh, but I did like how Jacob changed, grew up, and never gave up hope. A very good first novel.ARC from library thing.
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  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    3 Stars It’s 1939 and Holland has been invaded by the Nazi’s. Everything changes in an instant for the Koopman family and their once seemingly idyllic life is torn apart. When Jacob Koopman and his family think things can’t get worse, they inevitably do. From Nazi occupied Holland, to the Brit’s bombing the town and their losing almost everything, both young Jacob Koopman and his Uncle Martin makes choices none of us could imagine. Each of them make completely different choices. Some understanda 3 Stars It’s 1939 and Holland has been invaded by the Nazi’s. Everything changes in an instant for the Koopman family and their once seemingly idyllic life is torn apart. When Jacob Koopman and his family think things can’t get worse, they inevitably do. From Nazi occupied Holland, to the Brit’s bombing the town and their losing almost everything, both young Jacob Koopman and his Uncle Martin makes choices none of us could imagine. Each of them make completely different choices. Some understandable, some, not so much. I wish I could say that I felt for Jacob Koopman - after all, I felt like I should have. WWII, the Nazi’s, the things that happened, (which I will not ruin for the readers here but which I am sure you can imagine given historical events) – unfortunately, I just didn’t feel that Jacob was a sympathetic character. He was lacking in ethics and there was nothing about him that drew me in. I did, however, love the character of Uncle Martin. He was charismatic, fierce, strong and the love he felt for his family was evident in every action that he took. For me, a myriad of events happened in “The Boat Runner”: boom, boom, boom (no pun intended). My senses were on overload. Those rapid events did not allow me to focus on one event in particular, nor did it allow me to care about its impact on Jacob. Further, gory details were provided ad nauseum and left a bad taste in my mouth. Ultimately, what saved “The Boat Runner” for me was Uncle Martin. If nothing else, I recommend reading this story so that you get to know him. Uncle Martin is one stellar human being, even if he is a fictional character. This was a Traveling Sister Read. It included: Brenda, Lindsay, Berit and Jennifer. Reading this with my sisters was a phenomenal experience. We all had different thoughts on the book and I have to say, that is what made this read so much better. Thank you for that sisters! I so appreciate all of your thoughts and everything you shared.Thank you to Edelweiss, Harper Collins and Devin Murphy for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Published on Edelweiss, Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram on 12/5/17.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    5 original and emotionally tender stars to The Boat RunnerI read quite a bit of World War II fiction; so much in fact, I have to make myself read other books in between at times. What I have read runs the gamut with different locations, perspectives, and characters. The Boat Runner offered something new. Holland just before the war broke out was where it all began. Jacob's family lived in a town near the water, and his father owned a lightbulb factory. Early in the story, Jacob and his brother a 5 original and emotionally tender stars to The Boat RunnerI read quite a bit of World War II fiction; so much in fact, I have to make myself read other books in between at times. What I have read runs the gamut with different locations, perspectives, and characters. The Boat Runner offered something new. Holland just before the war broke out was where it all began. Jacob's family lived in a town near the water, and his father owned a lightbulb factory. Early in the story, Jacob and his brother are sent to a "camp" in Germany, some would say was training boys and teens to be soldiers. After that, Jacob and has family experience tragedy and loss over time, and this is portrayed with authenticity and tenderness. Some of the things that happened to Jacob and his family, as well as decisions that he made, in turn made me question my own beliefs and what would I have done if I had been in his shoes. It was a heavy book, thought-provoking, innovative, well-written, and a first-rate debut. This was a Traveling Sister read, and as always, I enjoyed how the discussion added to my feelings about this book. For the combined sister review, please visit Brenda and Norma's amazing blog: https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    A coming of age story about a Dutch boy in WW2 who narrates his own story. This began well and I enjoyed the first half. The problems began when the war began and the writing took on a histrionic tone and the drama a forced artificial feel. The narrator really began irritating me with his immature megalomania and unrelenting intensity of expression. Every other sentence had the literary equivalent of cymbals crashing in it. Then there’s the fact that he makes so many idiotic decisions that I los A coming of age story about a Dutch boy in WW2 who narrates his own story. This began well and I enjoyed the first half. The problems began when the war began and the writing took on a histrionic tone and the drama a forced artificial feel. The narrator really began irritating me with his immature megalomania and unrelenting intensity of expression. Every other sentence had the literary equivalent of cymbals crashing in it. Then there’s the fact that he makes so many idiotic decisions that I lost patience with him. Also the initial cast of characters who interested me all soon vanish and our narrator is acting in a kind of vacuum for much of the novel which meant there was little opportunity for subtle character development. Instead we get a rather heavy-handed blitzkrieg of horror, anguish and pain. I never really understood why he made any of the major decisions he made – why he chose to fight with the Nazis or why he suddenly decided to stop fighting for them. Did it never occur to him that the Nazis started the war and invaded his country? Instead he blames the Allies. This stance might be credible for a village bumpkin but surely not for someone well educated. I often had problems suspending disbelief. Often I was picturing the writer at his desk instead of the story he was telling. All in all a bit too much like a fanciful boy’s adventure story for me, lacking the artistry or sophistication or subtlety of All the Light to which it’s compared.
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  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars! This was a gripping, heart wrenching and heart pounding WWII story. I am emotionally exhausted after finishing this book. This novel follows Jacob, a 14 year-old Dutch boy who lives through countless wartime atrocities. He is forced to make major life decisions with a conflicted heart and mind. I grew attached to each and every character throughout Jacob’s journey – the author, Devin Murphy, did an outstanding job with character development. I was completely captivated by Jacob in thi 4.5 stars! This was a gripping, heart wrenching and heart pounding WWII story. I am emotionally exhausted after finishing this book. This novel follows Jacob, a 14 year-old Dutch boy who lives through countless wartime atrocities. He is forced to make major life decisions with a conflicted heart and mind. I grew attached to each and every character throughout Jacob’s journey – the author, Devin Murphy, did an outstanding job with character development. I was completely captivated by Jacob in this coming-of-age story – I was rooting for him from start to finish. I found myself fully immersed in his situation, feeling his pain over the many personal losses he faced, contemplating his confusing life changing decisions, struggling to find the strength to have hope and continue on. Murphy did a phenomenal job pulling me right into the emotion of this devastating, yet engrossing journey. My heart was pounding with intensity during several parts of this traumatic and unforgettable debut novel.There were a couple sections that started to drag (only very slightly) but they picked right back up soon after. This story was a slower paced build up, but well worth the wait!A big thank you to Edelweiss, Harper Perennial and Devin Murphy for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review! I am already highly anticipating this author’s next work!I read this book with some of my Traveling Sisters and we had some wonderful discussion. To see this review along with the other Traveling Sister reviews, please visit Brenda and Norma’s fabulous blog at:https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....
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  • Dorie
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher and Edelweiss.This was one really good debut novel! Reading it, feeling it pull me in, experience some beautiful prose “the sun dropped to the water and disappeared below it. It made all the sailing boats look like lean, long-necked birds paddling on the horizon” and really getting to know the characters was really impressive. I love historical fiction so I have read a considerable amount in the last 10 years about WWII and yet I had never read I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher and Edelweiss.This was one really good debut novel! Reading it, feeling it pull me in, experience some beautiful prose “the sun dropped to the water and disappeared below it. It made all the sailing boats look like lean, long-necked birds paddling on the horizon” and really getting to know the characters was really impressive. I love historical fiction so I have read a considerable amount in the last 10 years about WWII and yet I had never read a book about the Dutch during this time, although there probably are books out there. It was a different experience of course for every country and yet it was eerily similar to so many of them in certain ways. The horror of being bombed, burying loved ones, not knowing whether someone was alive or had perished, sending those we care about to war, caring for the wounded, were experienced by many European countries. The American experience was also different here but it isn’t really explored. The main character, Jacob Koopman is introduced when he is in his early teens, a young Dutch teen living in a small town. He is living a good, balanced life. His father owns the highly successful light bulb factory in town and they are well off by community standards. Jacob has a brother, Edwin, to whom he is very close. Edwin is just a few years older but their personalities are somewhat different. We get to know the brothers well during the Youth Camp they attend in Germany at the insistence of their father. It is completely different from anything they have experienced and one brother embraces it while the other has disturbing thoughts about parts of it.We follow Jacob through his many losses, and they are many, and it is sad, but so well told. Ms. Murphy’s descriptions of the countryside, the sea, the sky and storms are wonderful. There are many other memorable characters; his best friend Ludo, Hilda a young woman he loves, Nrs. Von Schuler and at the very center of these his uncle Martin. His uncle ultimately rescues Jacob not only from the Germans during the war but also from his emotional turmoil, guilt and deep sense of loss.This was a very interesting and enjoyable novel and one I will happily recommend.
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  • Jenni Walsh
    January 1, 1970
    This book is not for the faint of heart. But that's what I liked about it. Murphy has a wonderfully clear, direct, stark writing style that is also descriptive, vivid, and raw. I found it very interesting to see WWII through the eyes of a teenage Dutch boy as he grapples with loss, love, right/wrong, and survival. This book had a real authenticity for me and I recommend it for those who enjoy wartime stories!
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  • Caryn
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book I will not soon forget. A read perfect for fans of All the Light We Cannot See, City of Thieves, and The Nightingale. Full review and giveaway on my blog: http://www.thebookwhisperer.org/2017/...
  • Manchester Military History Society (MMHS)
    January 1, 1970
    Major factual errors A book I wanted to like and appears to get good reviews, however I really struggled with this.Whilst the story was reasonably strong there were lots of major factual errors and very unlikely scenarios which seriously impacted on my enjoyment of the book to the point I didn't finish it. e.g. RAF pilots didn't wear jumpsuits, skunks don't live in Holland, German soldiers don't have iron crosses on their hats, the list goes on. Some will undoubtably enjoy this book as evidence Major factual errors A book I wanted to like and appears to get good reviews, however I really struggled with this.Whilst the story was reasonably strong there were lots of major factual errors and very unlikely scenarios which seriously impacted on my enjoyment of the book to the point I didn't finish it. e.g. RAF pilots didn't wear jumpsuits, skunks don't live in Holland, German soldiers don't have iron crosses on their hats, the list goes on. Some will undoubtably enjoy this book as evidenced by other reviews, but in my view if you are setting a book in a historical period you have to do your research even the basics, like does this animal live in Europe or North America. It's patently obvious this author or his researchers did not.I'd like to thank the publishers for providing me with this book and as you can tell I was not required to write a positive review.
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  • ☮Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Jacob Koopman comes of age when the Nazis come to Holland, Rotterdam is flooded, and his brother is lost. Soon he will lose others and be taken under his Uncle Martin's wing, something both educational and dangerous. Martin has to be my favorite character, after Jacob. He runs his boat through the North Sea to help the Germans, but with friends like Martin, the Germans won't know what hit them. A ruthless plotter against the enemy, his teachings and love for Jacob ultimately help Jacob to not on Jacob Koopman comes of age when the Nazis come to Holland, Rotterdam is flooded, and his brother is lost. Soon he will lose others and be taken under his Uncle Martin's wing, something both educational and dangerous. Martin has to be my favorite character, after Jacob. He runs his boat through the North Sea to help the Germans, but with friends like Martin, the Germans won't know what hit them. A ruthless plotter against the enemy, his teachings and love for Jacob ultimately help Jacob to not only survive but to help others survive as well.My first WWII book from the Dutch perspective and it's a good one. I heartily recommend.
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  • S.J. Sindu
    January 1, 1970
    Boat Runner follows the story of a Dutch boy named Jacob as he grows up during WWII. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Devin Murphy deftly balances character development and interiority with a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat story. This is the best kind of literary fiction--one that doesn't fall short on storytelling but has depth, beauty, and heartwrenching revelations. I loved being on this journey with Jacob as he comes of age in wartime. The difficult decisions he has to make. The moral ambiguit Boat Runner follows the story of a Dutch boy named Jacob as he grows up during WWII. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Devin Murphy deftly balances character development and interiority with a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat story. This is the best kind of literary fiction--one that doesn't fall short on storytelling but has depth, beauty, and heartwrenching revelations. I loved being on this journey with Jacob as he comes of age in wartime. The difficult decisions he has to make. The moral ambiguity of wartime choices. His pain as he watches his family fall apart. Even the terrifying way in which ordinary people were beguiled into the Nazi machine. This is a wonderful, well-told debut.
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  • Devin Murphy
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book a thousand times...while writing it!
  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely, unequivocally EXCELLENT!! Intensely riveting, original, and wholly compelling; no matter how many WWII era books you've read, this is ONE you don't want to miss. I'm still gobsmacked!! I mean . . . WOW!!"I once saw a burning oil slick sucked up by the eye of a cyclone while at sea. It pulled fire up into a blazing column that moved over the water like God's fiery finger, tracing a new fault line. . . . if it had crossed our path, my passengers and I would have all died. How could a m Absolutely, unequivocally EXCELLENT!! Intensely riveting, original, and wholly compelling; no matter how many WWII era books you've read, this is ONE you don't want to miss. I'm still gobsmacked!! I mean . . . WOW!!"I once saw a burning oil slick sucked up by the eye of a cyclone while at sea. It pulled fire up into a blazing column that moved over the water like God's fiery finger, tracing a new fault line. . . . if it had crossed our path, my passengers and I would have all died. How could a man-made border mean anything once you've seen something like that?"Despite some crass language and horrific bouts of violence (which I usually avoid like the plague) I simply had - HAD - to keep reading. I was that vested in the story of this young traumatized Dutch teenager, whose world was wholly upended by events of the times. I loved him, loathed him, rallied on his behalf. I feared for his safety, cried in death's shadows, and questioned him AND myself. What would I do if pressed into the "rock-and-a-hard-place" he was forced into - time and time again? Would I go into hiding? Become a turncoat? Go on a vengeance seeking mission? Commit crimes against humanity? Go insane? Rise above and persevere? Off myself? All of the above? None of the above?"The land was full of lank flags, and the earthly history of boundaries claimed and fought over and reclaimed. At sea, the flags were taut and snapped violently in the wind, as if alive, and the waves kept creating and erasing the shape of the world. Powerful yet tranquil, the role of the sea was significant to me in ways my heart could only murmur, and could not put into words."Much to think about . . . And well worth the read!!!!FIVE GAZZILION ***** Unequivocally Enthralling, Thought-Provoking, Ethics Blurring, Violent and Disturbing, Historical Fiction Worthy of Award ***** STARS!!!
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  • Jenny Williams
    January 1, 1970
    This book blew me away. It's much more than a coming-of-age story, though it is that too; it's a novel of family and war on a scale that is both grandly epic and intimately personal. And the writing is luminous--expertly crafted. The best WWII novel I've read in a long, long time.
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  • Mike Nett
    January 1, 1970
    This book is one of my all-time favorites. I love epics that run your through all of your emotions as the pages fly by and the world changes. This was done beautifully in The Boat Runner. Many of the chapters stood on their own like little short stories; and when they joined together, they delivered a powerful and harrowing journey for the main character Jacob Koopman. This is a definite must read.
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  • Skip
    January 1, 1970
    Another WWII book, that has been compared widely with The Nightingale and All The Light We Cannot See. It is unquestionable that all three books show us a slice of the war from a European perspective; however, The Boat Runner is different in that the main character, Jacob Koopman is more of a combatant than the other books' protagonists, even if he was an unwilling one. This novel is also more gritty than the others and therefore felt more authentic as a war novel. Jacob's father is a factory ow Another WWII book, that has been compared widely with The Nightingale and All The Light We Cannot See. It is unquestionable that all three books show us a slice of the war from a European perspective; however, The Boat Runner is different in that the main character, Jacob Koopman is more of a combatant than the other books' protagonists, even if he was an unwilling one. This novel is also more gritty than the others and therefore felt more authentic as a war novel. Jacob's father is a factory owner in a small Dutch town, selling headlights to Volkswagen in the late 1930's. Jacob and his older brother are sent to a German indoctrination camp, but when the Nazi's invade, his family is wrecked, and Jacob joins his Uncle Martin, who seems to be a collaborator. When Jacob learns the truth, he joins the German war machine, earning distinction, and shortly thereafter, self-loathing, causing him to desert. On his way to freedom, his eyes are finally opened and his penance is both quite real and believable.
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  • Becca Sheade
    January 1, 1970
    This is an honest book. Sure there are allies and enemies in war, there has to be, but this novel is a painful and honest look at survival. It is dynamic in its story and the pace never let up. The language was poetic & poignant. Although it is being compared to some heavy hitting novels such as All the Light and The Nightingale, it is in a category of its own for lovers of poetry, story telling and history.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    Unfortunately, this story did not work for me. The narrator, Jacob, never endeared himself to me. I found him annoying and not a character that I could sympathize with. The storytelling felt sterile and disjointed. This was nothing like All the Like We Can Not See and I recommend reading it or rereading it rather than battling through this.
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  • Kate Olson
    January 1, 1970
    A stunning debut with a completely original and riveting take on the European WWII genre.Thanks to Edelweiss, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this digital ARC.A month ago, I declared that I would be DONE with European WWII novels given that they were all seeming the same and I was completely burned out on them. Enter Elise Hooper, the author of THE OTHER ALCOTT, urging me to try this one, as she had been on an author panel with Devin Murphy at ALA and that I'd love it. I con A stunning debut with a completely original and riveting take on the European WWII genre.Thanks to Edelweiss, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this digital ARC.A month ago, I declared that I would be DONE with European WWII novels given that they were all seeming the same and I was completely burned out on them. Enter Elise Hooper, the author of THE OTHER ALCOTT, urging me to try this one, as she had been on an author panel with Devin Murphy at ALA and that I'd love it. I contacted Murphy and he had his publisher provide me with a digital ARC. And OH MY GOODNESS I am so glad I found this book! I will be shouting it from the rooftops as the newest must-read WWII novel for the following reasons that make it fresh, original, and necessary:1) Set in Holland, NOT France, Germany or Poland2) Male narrator3) Maritime premise4) NO ROMANCE - I'm sick of romance sweetening up the horrors of death and war5) An eerie look into Nazi mentality and the ease at which they indoctrinated youth6) Hope within the devastation7) A very relevant message about refugeesI have already put this on hold at my public library for my husband, since I told him he MUST read it. He's excited about it, and I can't wait to hear what he thinks of it. The only thing I wish for is an author's note describing how much of the story is based on fact, since I rely heavily on these pieces to help me in further reading on the topics. I am hoping there is one in the finished edition, otherwise I will be searching it out piece by piece! EDITED TO ADD THIS NOTE DIRECTLY FROM THE AUTHOR: There is an authors note essay in the back of the final version all about how and why I wrote the book. Required reading for lovers of historical fiction and WWII narratives.
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  • Ingrid
    January 1, 1970
    I find this a very difficult book to rate. As I said I am annoyed about the inaccuracies, I found more of them. It makes me wonder what is true and what isn't. For instance I was interested in the story about the Hitler youth, but is that really how these camps were? I cannot trust the author's information. The descriptions of the culture are very un-Dutch too. I wonder if the author has ever been to the Netherlands. Having said all that, I can see that Devin Murphy writes well. Perhaps this sub I find this a very difficult book to rate. As I said I am annoyed about the inaccuracies, I found more of them. It makes me wonder what is true and what isn't. For instance I was interested in the story about the Hitler youth, but is that really how these camps were? I cannot trust the author's information. The descriptions of the culture are very un-Dutch too. I wonder if the author has ever been to the Netherlands. Having said all that, I can see that Devin Murphy writes well. Perhaps this subject was too close to home.
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  • Fred Shaw
    January 1, 1970
    The Boat Runner audio book, by Devin Murphy, read by Matthew Waterson, published by Harper Collins. This is a debut novel for this author and if I may say, an awesome one. This is the story of Jacob Koopman, a Dutchman, and his coming of age just before and 4 yeaars into WW II. Holland was invaded at the start of the war by Germany, and life, as he knew it, was never the same. RAF bombs killed family and friends, and Jacob joins the German army, driven by his youthful confusions, pain and loss. The Boat Runner audio book, by Devin Murphy, read by Matthew Waterson, published by Harper Collins. This is a debut novel for this author and if I may say, an awesome one. This is the story of Jacob Koopman, a Dutchman, and his coming of age just before and 4 yeaars into WW II. Holland was invaded at the start of the war by Germany, and life, as he knew it, was never the same. RAF bombs killed family and friends, and Jacob joins the German army, driven by his youthful confusions, pain and loss. As he matures during his time with the Germans, his eyes are opened to Hitler’s evil cleansing, and he decides to make a difference as a boat runner and smuggler. The author’s quality of writing and story telling are superb and his characters are so viable, yet mortal, making an excellent read. Secondly the author did his homework on the war from the German viewpoint adding to the authenticity of the novel. Some have compared this to The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See. Highly recommended.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    What a wonderful coming-of-age debut novel. Told in a simple understanding way the reader follows Jacob, a little Dutch boy, as he grows up and matures during WWII. From the Nazi camp for young boys to France to England to the German Navy Jacob faces peril, dilemmas and death. I was riveted to the story and I thank the publisher for sending it to me. I recommend if you want to read about another part of history of WWII. Just so sad.
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  • Faith
    January 1, 1970
    This is a coming of age story set in Holland during World War II. It is told from the point of view of Jacob who is 14 at the start of the book. The book felt young adult to me, not just because of the teenaged protagonist, but because the language and images were very simple. This might have been more appropriate if the story had been told in the present tense, but Jacob is an adult now and looking back and his descriptions should have been informed by his knowledge and experience. Maybe I have This is a coming of age story set in Holland during World War II. It is told from the point of view of Jacob who is 14 at the start of the book. The book felt young adult to me, not just because of the teenaged protagonist, but because the language and images were very simple. This might have been more appropriate if the story had been told in the present tense, but Jacob is an adult now and looking back and his descriptions should have been informed by his knowledge and experience. Maybe I have just read too many WWII books and this one didn't really add anything new. It was just ok for me. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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  • Debbie Sheade
    January 1, 1970
    Powerful is the word that best describes this debut novel by Devin Murphy. The Boat Runner captivated me from the first sentence until long after I finished the last page with its complex main character, beautiful prose, and unique perspective on World War II. The novel follows the story of Jacob, a Dutch youth, as he develops from innocence to maturity during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Rarely do books challenge our standard notions of right and wrong, question our conventional judg Powerful is the word that best describes this debut novel by Devin Murphy. The Boat Runner captivated me from the first sentence until long after I finished the last page with its complex main character, beautiful prose, and unique perspective on World War II. The novel follows the story of Jacob, a Dutch youth, as he develops from innocence to maturity during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Rarely do books challenge our standard notions of right and wrong, question our conventional judgements of others, open our eyes to different points of view, tell a fascinating story, as well as move us to tears. The Boat Runner does all this and more. I loved reading this book, and look forward to reading many more by this talented new author.
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  • Elise Hooper
    January 1, 1970
    With all of the recent wonderful novels about World War II, I keep thinking that the topic must be nearing exhaustion, yet then Devin Murphy comes along and captivates me with a riveting story set in a small Dutch town in the late 1930s and early '40s. The narrator, young Jakob Koopman, must fight to find his way through one challenge after another in pursuit of redemption. The Boat Runner is everything excellent historical fiction should be. This beautifully-written novel will be a staple of mi With all of the recent wonderful novels about World War II, I keep thinking that the topic must be nearing exhaustion, yet then Devin Murphy comes along and captivates me with a riveting story set in a small Dutch town in the late 1930s and early '40s. The narrator, young Jakob Koopman, must fight to find his way through one challenge after another in pursuit of redemption. The Boat Runner is everything excellent historical fiction should be. This beautifully-written novel will be a staple of mine for recommendations and gift giving for the foreseeable future.
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  • Lynn Williams
    January 1, 1970
    The Boat Runner is a profound piece of literature. It is eloquently written, so much so that you read some of the passages twice and save them because they are so poetic and beautiful, even though the topic is war. The characters live in a different time, but are relatable and they will lovingly haunt you long after the book stops. This novel is exciting, educational and it hits your heart. This is one of my favorite books – an epic read. A+
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  • Rebecca Levin
    January 1, 1970
    The best book I have read in a long time. This coming-of-age story during Nazi-occupied Europe makes us question what is good and what is evil. It is a reflection not only on World War II, but relevant to our current times and the responsibility we have to tell the stories of those who have been repressed.
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