Orphan Monster Spy
A Jewish girl-turned-spy must infiltrate an elite Nazi boarding school in this highly commercial, relentlessly nail-biting World War II drama!After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah--blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish--finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can't attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she's ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined.

Orphan Monster Spy Details

TitleOrphan Monster Spy
Author
ReleaseMar 20th, 2018
PublisherViking Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780451478733
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction

Orphan Monster Spy Review

  • Elizabeth La Lettrice
    January 1, 1970
    This was intense and I loved every section of it. You thought the girls in your high school were mean? Think again. This was an interesting fictional perspective on the horrors of Nazism from a Jewish girl who "passes" and infiltrates a community of Nazi elites. Disclaimer: A few scenes were a bit cringeworthy violent (which I love, in an admittedly sick way) but just a warning for anyone who may be a bit sensitive and/or if considering for a younger teen. (I'm not about censorship but I underst This was intense and I loved every section of it. You thought the girls in your high school were mean? Think again. This was an interesting fictional perspective on the horrors of Nazism from a Jewish girl who "passes" and infiltrates a community of Nazi elites. Disclaimer: A few scenes were a bit cringeworthy violent (which I love, in an admittedly sick way) but just a warning for anyone who may be a bit sensitive and/or if considering for a younger teen. (I'm not about censorship but I understand the need to call it out.) Short key descriptive words here in spoiler, if you need to know: (view spoiler)[ character gets savagely beaten by a teacher; also attempted rape by a pedophile, the lead-up of which gave me the nervous sweats; also murder (hide spoiler)]
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  • Katherine Locke
    January 1, 1970
    While the style of writing and the narration isn't typically my jam, I am thoroughly impressed with the depth of research, worldbuilding, and sensitivity toward the portrayal of a Jewish girl in Nazi Germany. This is the opposite of The Girl Who Wouldn't Die, which I found to be an antisemitic hot mess of a book last year, and I am so very thrilled to see a Jewish girl who is the hero of her own story, who was violent and imperfect and fierce, who had a label thrust upon her and used her ability While the style of writing and the narration isn't typically my jam, I am thoroughly impressed with the depth of research, worldbuilding, and sensitivity toward the portrayal of a Jewish girl in Nazi Germany. This is the opposite of The Girl Who Wouldn't Die, which I found to be an antisemitic hot mess of a book last year, and I am so very thrilled to see a Jewish girl who is the hero of her own story, who was violent and imperfect and fierce, who had a label thrust upon her and used her ability to pass to fight back against the real enemy.
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  • Ellesha
    January 1, 1970
    I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book at Holly Bourne’s book premiere and for Matt Killeen’s first novel, I thought it was amazing! If I was to see this in a book shop, it definitely wouldn’t be something I would’ve even picked up, let alone considered reading, so I am glad that I received this book in my goody bag. Spy novels set in the past are definitely not my kind of thing, but I think as it’s such a realistic book, with no fantasy element and it follows a young girl, it was eas I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book at Holly Bourne’s book premiere and for Matt Killeen’s first novel, I thought it was amazing! If I was to see this in a book shop, it definitely wouldn’t be something I would’ve even picked up, let alone considered reading, so I am glad that I received this book in my goody bag. Spy novels set in the past are definitely not my kind of thing, but I think as it’s such a realistic book, with no fantasy element and it follows a young girl, it was easier for me to read. (I am not really into fantasy so I’m glad it was realistic). I’m a complete sucker for a strong female protagonist and this book definitely delivers. Sarah is independent, lost, sensitive, strong willed, emotional and empowering all at once. To me, Sarah is completely relatable as she is just so different from everyone else, an outsider, and this is something I could really engage with. I love the relationship between her and the Captain, as he completely underestimates her intelligence and she is full of surprises. Throughout the book their relationships develops and it concludes with him almost being like the close relative she never had and I think this book has the potential to have a sequel. The story is engaging and fast paced with loads of great descriptions and flashbacks which make you love Sarah and feel for her even more. The character descriptions are great and although the book is written in third person, you feel like you, yourself are Sarah and all the events are happening to you. Although this is a YA book, I wouldn’t recommend giving it to a younger teen to read as there are scenes of graphic violence and action throughout. I have to say, these parts of the book very suspenseful and engaging and were the highlights of the book for me. The reason I have given it four stars and not five is only because of minor things. I found that there was an overuse of metaphors throughout the book and although I loved the touch of German (as it is set during WW2 from a German’s perspective), the German words were difficult to read mid sentence and sometimes stopped the flow of the book. For me, for a book to be a five star book, it has to be incredible, and I did spend a lot of time debating it, but decided to go for a four in the end. Having said this, it is a very high four star book. Matt Killeen is definitely a best selling author in the making and I really hope he does well because he deserves it. I feel honoured to have received his first ever novel before it’s even been released and I will definitely cherish it.
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  • Farhina The Wanderer Of Inked Adventures
    January 1, 1970
    "Would the future Germany have any evidence of its crimes? Would it smell bad and would people even know why?" This book is a World War II novel. The main protagonist is Sarah, who is a Jew with an Aryan appearance. After her mother get killed abandoned and alone she meets a man who turns out it be a spy. She is recruited by him to to be a spy and go inside and infiltrated a Nazi boarding school. Sarah was an incredibly strong character. She kept all her suffering and violence she has witnesse "Would the future Germany have any evidence of its crimes? Would it smell bad and would people even know why?" This book is a World War II novel. The main protagonist is Sarah, who is a Jew with an Aryan appearance. After her mother get killed abandoned and alone she meets a man who turns out it be a spy. She is recruited by him to to be a spy and go inside and infiltrated a Nazi boarding school. Sarah was an incredibly strong character. She kept all her suffering and violence she has witnessed buried in the back of her mind and used it to be stronger and more push through situations. She is clever, sharp and Swift and deal quickly with situation to keep herself safe.The world building and the insight to Nazi time is done very brilliantly, you can see the research done.. It has a lot of German words and I had to constantly search and find out their meaning (because well I didn't know any of them, totally new to me). But they provided a great insight into those times.This book portrays a great deal inside the mind of Nazi's and how wrong and bad things were back than. The race complex and all the superiority. Also how everyone was supposed to be strong and brutal and serve the "fatherland". How everyone was assigned a role. This book tells you a lot of facts.The thing I struggled with this book was the plot. I know it's supposed to historical fiction. But I just had this feeling in the back of my mind about this being fiction. And how the plot didn't feel so enthralling to me. I know that these things really did happen in time and all. But just this story of Sarah, it being fiction. I don't know to explain but it just didn't move me the way I should have. But that's my own personal problem. I have know to cry over WW stories but I guess I just didn't connect with this one sigh.The plot was chillingly uncomfortable. A lot of things happens that make you gag. Or chill you to the bone. This book though historical fiction is more on the side of a brutal and very difficult spy operation with the war on the backside of things. Over all this book is hauntingly intense. Gives you a deep insight of Nazi times, it's deeply educational for people who might not know nitty gritty in the background of the world war II. Thank you to Usborne for the ARC.
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  • Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
    January 1, 1970
    5 Words: War, power, monster, school, violence.Sarah is FIERCE.Review to come!
  • Lily
    January 1, 1970
    A 15-year-old Jewish girl in Nazi Germany is on the run after her mother dies at a checkpoint. She is recruited to be a spy by a mysterious man who wants her help to infiltrate a Nazi scientist's home. However, his home is a fortress, and the only way to get in is to be invited. So Sarah is sent to Rothenstadt Academy, a school of the daughters of German generals and given her mission, befriend the scientist’s daughter. Orphan, Monster, Spy was a so-so book for me. I was excited to read this boo A 15-year-old Jewish girl in Nazi Germany is on the run after her mother dies at a checkpoint. She is recruited to be a spy by a mysterious man who wants her help to infiltrate a Nazi scientist's home. However, his home is a fortress, and the only way to get in is to be invited. So Sarah is sent to Rothenstadt Academy, a school of the daughters of German generals and given her mission, befriend the scientist’s daughter. Orphan, Monster, Spy was a so-so book for me. I was excited to read this book, the summary sounded good, and I’ve been looking for some historical fiction to read.What made me wary from the beginning was the cliche question that was posed in summary: would she be able to befriend the scientist's daughter and get the blueprints in time? Sometimes, books have a predictable start and then rise to become more original, but I didn't get that feeling with Orphan, Monster, Spy. The story itself was good, but my interest drifted in and out as I read. Matt Killeen apparently did a lot of research for this book. There are references to Kristallnacht and German words scattered throughout. The most frequent German word that appeared was dumme Schlampe.The book starts with the car crashing and Sarah learning that her mother was killed. It gets off to a fast-paced start where Sarah, all alone now, has to run from the officers at the checkpoint. From there it slows down, and there is very little suspense or any super notable events until she arrives at the school. What I remember most about these scenes are Sarah’s exceptional acting skills. We later learn that her mother is the one who taught her how to act, how to cry on command, and how to become someone new. Pretty much all of the most memorable parts of the book are where she has to act to get out of trouble that she encounters. Another thing that I enjoyed about the book was the voices that Sarah hears when she’s in trouble and the flashbacks. I think that flashbacks, when done well, help keep the story moving in the present by providing dedicated sections to the past. I find that while this is sometimes a bit disruptive to the story, that I began to look forward to the little snippets of the past. The voice that she hears continuously encourage her when she doesn’t know what to do and keeps her moving. This voice is her mothers. It started when Sarah’s mother died, and Sarah ran off due to hearing her mother say to her,”The “Ice Queen” was also an outstanding character! She was wickedly mean and controlling and was the perfect character to hate and admire. There were also parts of this book that made me question whether it would be a good book for 12+. There are some pretty intense scenes that I unquestionably didn’t read about when I was 12 years old. View the spoiler for the scenes (view spoiler)[ Sarah was savagely beaten by a teacher and a pedophile tried to rape her (hide spoiler)].There were also parts in the book where it seems to be drawn out. While I didn’t find it hard to read through those parts, I don't distinctly remember them and seemed to be almost filler parts. It also only really picked up in the end, sort of what happened in The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano. I found myself to be much further in the book than I thought whenever I picked it up again. I believe this is because of all the action that happens in the last couple of chapters in the book; it seems a lot faster than the previous chapters.In short, I liked this book for the research put into this book, the flashbacks, and Sarah’s incredible acting skills. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read a good historical fiction book. I didn’t enjoy the book for the slowness in parts of the book and some of the scenes. It was a so-so book for me, I don’t think that I would read it again, but I’m glad that I read it.
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  • Megan (YABookers)
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars. (I can't decide between a 4 or 5 stars so it's going in the middle). I had a feeling I would love this, and there has been a little buzz about this on twitter, so I did have quite high expectations. I've always been a fan of historical fiction, so it plays right into my interests, especially concerning female spies during WW2. *screams about CODE NAME VERITY forever*. Speaking of CNV, Elizbaeth Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars. (I can't decide between a 4 or 5 stars so it's going in the middle). I had a feeling I would love this, and there has been a little buzz about this on twitter, so I did have quite high expectations. I've always been a fan of historical fiction, so it plays right into my interests, especially concerning female spies during WW2. *screams about CODE NAME VERITY forever*. Speaking of CNV, Elizbaeth Wein calls this 'chillingly good' and I have to agree. There has been some positive talk about the Jewish rep, so that is always a plus. Anyway, I love Sarah - fierce, determined, defiant, and angry. An intense and chilling read. Yeah, full review to come soon.
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  • Trisha
    January 1, 1970
    Gosh, long and absorbing. But also violent as is the way with war.Sarah is a strong hero.
  • hiltonjenkin
    January 1, 1970
    Follow my blog for more posts: hjbookblog “Sarah knew better than to judge by appearances. Young and old, tall and short, ugly and beautiful, fit and crippled- Sarah knew them to be equally capable of goodness, or in her experience, equally vicious and horrible.” ‘Orphan Monster Spy’, the debut novel Matt Killeen is a young-adult historical fiction in the backdrop of The Holocaust. The protagonist in the story is Sarah, a fierce, clever Jew with an Aryan appearance, who has nothing to lose.Flee Follow my blog for more posts: hjbookblog “Sarah knew better than to judge by appearances. Young and old, tall and short, ugly and beautiful, fit and crippled- Sarah knew them to be equally capable of goodness, or in her experience, equally vicious and horrible.” ‘Orphan Monster Spy’, the debut novel Matt Killeen is a young-adult historical fiction in the backdrop of The Holocaust. The protagonist in the story is Sarah, a fierce, clever Jew with an Aryan appearance, who has nothing to lose.Fleeing her mother’s brutal death she finds herself all alone in this dangerous world, where people like her is not wanted. When she comes across a mysterious man who turns out to be a spy, she finally finds a purpose of her life. She realises that she does not want to flee her Fatherland but wants to serve a greater purpose. Trained by her mother by the art of theatre, she makes the world her stage. Locking away all her emotions in a black box in her mind, she puts them in use just when needed. She is quick and sly and just like that a little monster is born.The plot development is steady at the beginning and sucks you in right away. Sarah’s character was praise worthy. She taking down her enemies oh so fiercely was a treat to read. But the plot development seemed to wander and fizzle in the middle of the book and then again gained momentum towards the end. Also, I expected a, lot more of spying (because you know, the title!!).The ending was packed with drama. It kept me reading without stop. I hope it is made into a series and we get to see more of the action and a hell lot more of spying.Sarah’s character was quite well developed and it was easy to feel her emotions. Though other characters like that of the Captain’s and more so of Elsa’s needed more attention.The writing style was witty and intense. Much enjoyable. It will keep you interested throughout. Facts about how Jews were portrayed in front of the ‘pure’ German race would intrigue you and to read about the social and personal conditions and injustice (all over again that is) of the time would disturb you.All over this is indeed a good read and will leave you wanting for more. Recommended.
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  • Peter
    January 1, 1970
    Edge of the seat tense from start to finish. I couldn’t put it down.
  • Katherine Moore
    January 1, 1970
    This was such an exhilarating read and a book that really is so different from anything else in the YA genre right now; I read this in its entirety during one day of the '24in48' Readathon this weekend, I absolutely couldn't put it down.Set at the dawn of World War 2, Sarah has just witnessed her mother's murder, after fleeing their home because of Jewish round-ups, and somehow lands in the care of a British spy, Captain Floyd. He takes her under his wing, who realizes that her long blond hair, This was such an exhilarating read and a book that really is so different from anything else in the YA genre right now; I read this in its entirety during one day of the '24in48' Readathon this weekend, I absolutely couldn't put it down.Set at the dawn of World War 2, Sarah has just witnessed her mother's murder, after fleeing their home because of Jewish round-ups, and somehow lands in the care of a British spy, Captain Floyd. He takes her under his wing, who realizes that her long blond hair, pale skin, and blue eyes, make her look less like the Jew that she is, and more like the Aryan Elite that makes her a perfect infiltrate at the Rothenstadt boarding school, an academy for Nazi general's daughters. Now under a new identity as Ursula Haller, Sarah is suddenly on a mission to gather secrets from within, and she is thrown among the wolves where some of the nastiest discipline happens in the name of the Fuhrer. Every day, it feels like there's a danger of her identity being discovered, and even her recurrent nightmares threaten to give her away; throughout the book she has them, and she also continuously 'speaks' to her 'Mutti' for strength, although she has passed away. You constantly get the feeling it's very difficult knowing how hard it is to get through each day without a person to confide in, with no one to trust. The entire book is built around the character Sarah/Ursula, and author Matt Killeen depicts a young teen who has to be very strong, makes hard decisions, has to be very brave, and at times, wishes she could just break down, and in many ways, is still so so immature. I would imagine this to be the way it was for many children forced to grow up in war time (regardless of circumstance). While I don't know how many readers will go into this with extreme detail of World War 2 (being from Britain, having a WW2-obsessed dad I know plenty, believe me), I had SO much anxiety for Sarah throughout the book. I couldn't trust a single, sodding character! I fully realize that this is YA, and Killeen wasn't about to turn this any scarier, but it did get me wondering how much worse things could have turned... There's a lot more war left, after the point the book ended too! More adventures for this spy?I'm going to say immediately that it will be definitely be in contention for a top ten spot for me this year. Any book that sucks me back into a time period where you think about how your very existence could be always in questionable danger, makes such a mark on me, and I hope others reading really felt that too. It made such a change to read a novel about this era for this age group. Put it on your TBR, everyone!!!
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to Edelweiss and Viking Publishing for an eARC copy of this book. All opinions are my own.I really liked this book. The premise (a young Jewish girl, on the run from Germany on the eve of WWII, taken in by a British spy and then used in a spy mission) is FANTASTIC. And, for the most part, this book delivers. The character is a tense study in how far you can go within your own morals while still doing the work you think is important and necessary to the mission. How many lives can be Many thanks to Edelweiss and Viking Publishing for an eARC copy of this book. All opinions are my own.I really liked this book. The premise (a young Jewish girl, on the run from Germany on the eve of WWII, taken in by a British spy and then used in a spy mission) is FANTASTIC. And, for the most part, this book delivers. The character is a tense study in how far you can go within your own morals while still doing the work you think is important and necessary to the mission. How many lives can be sacrificed? What are acceptable costs? Do the ends always justify the means? Sarah/Urusula grapples with all of this and more as she infiltrates a Nationalist Boarding School with the hopes of befriending the daughter of a prominent party member. One who is conducting experiments in his highly guarded estate and trying to build a bomb. One unlike anything else anyone has ever seen.I am glad to have another style of historical fiction to offer my students and I think the ideas in this one (the mystery/thriller aspect) will appeal to many of them. It did seem rough at times, meaning that there were many phrases in German that didn't always translate well, and there were instances when the spies were hinting at plans and insinuating discoveries that were unknown to the reader. This, along with the extensive history and context one might need to fully enjoy and understand the book, will mean the book won't work for everyone. This is a good additional purchase for collections with YA students who enjoy historical fiction and spy literature. I would recommend it as a second purchase. Appropriate for grades 8 and up. Please note: there is also an instance of threatened sexual assault. It is not described, but the stage is clearly set for it.
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  • Nenah Muniz
    January 1, 1970
    I often find myself hesitant to read historical fiction because I feel that the line between fact and fiction can be confusing, as to what actually happened. However, when I received this ARC back in August I was immediately drawn in by the synopsis on the back of the book. Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen is incredibly entrancing. The main character Sarah is incredibly witty, sharp, and clever, making her unique from any other character I've read. A Jewish girl with an Aryian appearance works I often find myself hesitant to read historical fiction because I feel that the line between fact and fiction can be confusing, as to what actually happened. However, when I received this ARC back in August I was immediately drawn in by the synopsis on the back of the book. Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen is incredibly entrancing. The main character Sarah is incredibly witty, sharp, and clever, making her unique from any other character I've read. A Jewish girl with an Aryian appearance works as a spy in an all girls school in Nazi Germany and needs to befriend the meanest girls in school. The way Sarah uses her most horrendous memories and nightmares as stamina to keep herself going, and to push herself through the most terrifying and sometimes life threatening situations is clever and admirable. Sarah is like Liesel from The Book Thief if she was never adopted and forced to survive a on her own. While reading this book you'll find yourself needing to know what's going to happen next, not able to put the book down. You'll feel like a spy like Sarah, her terrors will send shivers down your spine, and her adventures will become your own. Though This is a work of fiction, many of the events mentioned are very true, and were a reality for many people making the book educational as well as an overall good read. I'm so glad I was able to receive this book as an advanced copy and to review it as well. This was one of my favorite reads of 2017 and highly recommend to buy this book as soon as it comes out this March!
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  • Sarah E.
    January 1, 1970
    After reading an excerpt from Buzz Books and Netgalley: Younger kid me enjoyed any stories about WW2, the Titanic, and the Oregon Trail, so I'm not sure why this wasn't on my radar. I enjoyed the short bit I read :)
  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars Interesting & a fast paced read, although there were parts that I was a little confused about. Full review to come on March 15th, closer to the pub date!
  • Kelly Beestone
    January 1, 1970
    A lonely orphan with a dangerous secret. Not just another blonde-haired, blue-eyed little monster. Trapped inside a world full of lies, when does a schoolgirl become a spy.Set against the high-tension, pressure-cooker backdrop of Germany in the late 1930’s, Orphan Monster Spy follows Sarah, a young Jewish girl, who is forced to flee following the brutal death of her mother as they try to escape persecution. Trained in the art of the theatre by her mother, Sarah is cunning and quick, sly and inte A lonely orphan with a dangerous secret. Not just another blonde-haired, blue-eyed little monster. Trapped inside a world full of lies, when does a schoolgirl become a spy.Set against the high-tension, pressure-cooker backdrop of Germany in the late 1930’s, Orphan Monster Spy follows Sarah, a young Jewish girl, who is forced to flee following the brutal death of her mother as they try to escape persecution. Trained in the art of the theatre by her mother, Sarah is cunning and quick, sly and intelligent. And she soon attracts the attention of a British spy. Her mission is simple, but it will turn her into the thing she loathes most. She must infiltrate the Bund Deutscher Madel and win a place at Rothenstadt, a prestigious finishing school for the daughters of high-ranking Aryan officials. There, she must befriend the daughter of a top nuclear scientist by becoming one of the monsters. By forgetting everything she is. But she is a little fish in a sea of sharks, and every slip of the tongue could be her last.Okay, I have to start by telling you guys how excited I was when this turned up on my door. So, I arrived home the other day from my lecture to discover a package labelled for me. This is the first book mail I’ve gotten outside of things I’ve chosen for myself, so I frantically tore into the envelope. Inside was a beautiful black box, containing Orphan Monster Spy, a gorgeous black and gold postcard from the woman who sent me the book, a letter explaining some of the background information on the author, Matt Killeen, and a little handwritten quote about the importance of history to our society. I may or may not have squealed with joy.That feeling stayed with me through most of the novel. Sarah, a Jewish gymnast turned spy, was an awesome kick-ass protagonist, and I loved how sassy she was even when she was in danger. She was intelligent and quick, always managing to twist sticky situations to her advantage. I found her very fresh and intriguing, many books often accidentally make a character too headstrong, too aggressive, too powerful. Sarah turned out to be none of those things. Instead, her voice shines through the pages, and you start to care quite quickly about all the mess she’s waded into. Killeen’s character development doesn’t really extend too much to some of the other characters, Mouse is a bit blurry around the edges, Sarah’s spy handler, Captain Flynn is deliberately mysterious and closed off, and Elsa (the girl Sarah is trying to befriend) is interesting but not particularly refined. Still, I demand that you read some of Killeen’s character descriptions and not be entertained. Like this one:‘He was not comfortably plump or slightly overfed, not jolly, round or chubby as some people can be, but excruciatingly bulbous. It was a fatness that looked like it came fro a deliberate, sustained and highly disciplined over-consumption that had no hint of pleasure in it. The increasing sense of hunger that had been a feature of the last few years yawned to life inside Sarah and she knew instantly that she loathed this man.’ – p. 93Spectacular, right? Killeen’s descriptions of each character Sarah encounters are sharp, witty and striking. Each time I thought they couldn’t get better, I turned the page and bam they did.Yet, perhaps the most interesting thing about the book though is that it occupies a very innovative space in YA. Yes, I’ve read historical fiction before, but adding the spy element turned Orphan Monster Spy into a rollercoaster ride. You don’t have to know that much about World War Two to keep up, although as a history nerd, I did appreciate all the German words and little nods to historical events along the way. Like The Book Thief, it is possible to simply curl up and read without having to google everything as you go. Incorporating spies into the novel was a total stroke of genius, I found myself on the edge of my seat through most of the book, nervously clutching the handle of my coffee mug as I checked to see what was happening. Again, this is in large part down to Killeen’s excellent character development. But it is also the historical context that lends each death-defying moment such a sharp edge; knowing what might befall Sarah if she fails, if people discover she’s Jewish, is absolutely a driving force behind such tension. The last few chapters in particular, are a white-knuckle surge through some terrifying rapids of plot-twists and drama. I won’t spoil them, but honestly, be prepared. If you make the mistake of picking up this book late at night, you should know that you’re committing yourself to an all-nighter of one-more-chapter syndrome.The only time this doesn’t really work [IMO] is right at the start of the novel. Orphan Monster Spy begins in media res, or right in the centre of an action scene. We see Sarah running for her life moments after her mother’s horrifying death, as she struggles to escape to safety and away from the Nazis chasing her. It’s all a bit jumbled, even more so because Sarah hears her mother’s voice in her head telling her to be careful, what to do etc. and even though it is in italics to make it stand out, it’s all a bit higgledy-piggeldy. Possibly because readers are lacking most of the information needed to follow it [we later learn that her mother was an actress who was prevented from working because she was Jewish]. In the opening scene, however, we lack this knowledge, and so it’s a bit confusing to follow. And while I care about Sarah even in the opening chapter, and fear for her safety, it is more the generic feeling I would have about anyone in that situation. I’ve done my GCSE history, I know what happened to people who were caught. Unfortunately, at that exact moment in time, I don’t really know enough about Sarah to care about her as an individual. It’s only later, once the pace has slowed and I’ve started to learn about her as a protagonist, that I begin to be invested in her well-being.Still, as a debut novel, Orphan Monster Spy certainly packs a punch. I read it in two sittings [and if I didn’t have somewhere to be yesterday morning, it would have been one]. I love the way it takes history and adds some exciting spying into the mix. What emerges is a strong book, one which I imagine will capture the attention of many thrill-seeking readers. 8.5/10 from me, and I look forward to reading some more of Matt’s books in the future.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher --- Her name is Sarah. She's blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish in 1939 Germany. And her act of resistance is about to change the world.After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich, and he nee I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher --- Her name is Sarah. She's blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish in 1939 Germany. And her act of resistance is about to change the world.After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich, and he needs Sarah to hide in plain sight at a school for the daughters of top Nazi brass, posing as one of them. If she can befriend the daughter of a key scientist and get invited to her house, she might be able to steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. Nothing could prepare Sarah for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined. But anyone who underestimates this innocent-seeming girl does so at their peril. She may look sweet, but she's the Nazis' worst nightmare.This book got me so excited - what a great premise - but I absolutely HATED the ending and it ruined the entire book for me. (I won't share it as it is too much of a spoiler!) Solid and engrossing writing until the end when I wanted to toss my Kindle against the wall in anger...I have not been this ticked since the end of "Gone, Baby, Gone" ..so my ticked-off-ed-ness was epic.Worth a read, for sure, as you may not agree with me :-)
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  • Joanne
    January 1, 1970
    What starts off with a really gripping scene with the story thrown immediately into action when Sarah, a Jew living in 1939 Germany, meets a spy, things sort of fizzled out afterwards. The story seemed to halt for a bit until Sarah gets enrolled into school to act as a spy to try and stop the building of a nuclear bomb.It was quoted to be 'deeply disturbing and chillingly good' but I didn't feel very thrilled when reading this but I did like the fearless character Sarah becomes as a spy, even if What starts off with a really gripping scene with the story thrown immediately into action when Sarah, a Jew living in 1939 Germany, meets a spy, things sort of fizzled out afterwards. The story seemed to halt for a bit until Sarah gets enrolled into school to act as a spy to try and stop the building of a nuclear bomb.It was quoted to be 'deeply disturbing and chillingly good' but I didn't feel very thrilled when reading this but I did like the fearless character Sarah becomes as a spy, even if she deals with things a little too well. It was a bit disturbing to read about 1939 Germany and how life was for children back then, but the last few chapters of the book definitely cranked up the action.Good if you like historical fiction around the war, but not very thrilling until the last few chapters and the book ends a bit randomly with no real clear ending.
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  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    It's 1939, and Sarah, a fifteen year old, blonde-haired, blue eyed Jewish girl, is just trying to survive. After her mother is killed, Sarah meets a mysterious man who she learns is part of a secret resistance against the Third Reich. She teams up with the man and is sent to live at a boarding school with the daughters of top Nazi leaders. The plan is to befriend the daughter of a scientist who is working on a bomb and steal the blueprints before his creation could destroy the lives of countless It's 1939, and Sarah, a fifteen year old, blonde-haired, blue eyed Jewish girl, is just trying to survive. After her mother is killed, Sarah meets a mysterious man who she learns is part of a secret resistance against the Third Reich. She teams up with the man and is sent to live at a boarding school with the daughters of top Nazi leaders. The plan is to befriend the daughter of a scientist who is working on a bomb and steal the blueprints before his creation could destroy the lives of countless people. But as Sarah soon learns, her biggest challenge might just be surviving the wrath of her schoolmates and teachers. This book is unlike anything I have ever read in the World War 2 young adult historical fiction genre. Sarah is similar to the character of Lizbeth Salander in terms of they both had to grow up faster than they should have due to traumatic events and they are both kick ass females. I really found this to be a fascinating read from start to finish, although I did think one of the plots towards the end wasn't very necessary and detracted slightly from the overall story. I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for something a little bit different to read!I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
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  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    Three and a half stars.I read this book from an ARC copy provided by the publisher via Baker & Taylor’s ARC program.I enjoyed this WWII spy thriller.There are two things I wish could be change, bearing in mind that this is an advance copy and changes might be made in the final print version):1. I wished very much for a historical note with more details about Nazi boarding schools. (The same reaction I had to All the Light You Cannot See, as a matter of fact.)2. I would like to change the tit Three and a half stars.I read this book from an ARC copy provided by the publisher via Baker & Taylor’s ARC program.I enjoyed this WWII spy thriller.There are two things I wish could be change, bearing in mind that this is an advance copy and changes might be made in the final print version):1. I wished very much for a historical note with more details about Nazi boarding schools. (The same reaction I had to All the Light You Cannot See, as a matter of fact.)2. I would like to change the title to “Monster & Spy.” I like this title better because it adds ambiguity — who is the Monster, who is the spy, are the words applying to different people or to the same one? There are multiple points during the story where the reader’s idea about those questions might shift.
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    It's 1939 and Jews like 15 year old Sarah are being persecuted in Germany. She and her mother attempt to escape but her mother is killed. Alone, and trying to survive, she falls in with a British spy who takes her under his wing. He then sends her undercover to a Nazi boarding school for girls where she's supposed to befriend the daughter of a scientist who is making a devastating bomb. This was like Mean Girls with Nazis and I bloody loved it. The writing is excellent and I found myself rooting It's 1939 and Jews like 15 year old Sarah are being persecuted in Germany. She and her mother attempt to escape but her mother is killed. Alone, and trying to survive, she falls in with a British spy who takes her under his wing. He then sends her undercover to a Nazi boarding school for girls where she's supposed to befriend the daughter of a scientist who is making a devastating bomb. This was like Mean Girls with Nazis and I bloody loved it. The writing is excellent and I found myself rooting for Sarah through all her trials. It looks like this is the start of a series and I will be sure to read the rest when published.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I would definitely recommend reading this book when it is released. It is a fast-paced, intriguing story of a Jewish girl who lost everything, then found a purpose working to rid the world of a monstrosity of epic proportions. I hope that this is part of a series, and that Killeen plans to bring Sarah/Ursula and the Captain back for another mission. One of the only critiques of the book was that the main characters are not as fleshed out as I'd like them to be, and I would enjoy learning more ab I would definitely recommend reading this book when it is released. It is a fast-paced, intriguing story of a Jewish girl who lost everything, then found a purpose working to rid the world of a monstrosity of epic proportions. I hope that this is part of a series, and that Killeen plans to bring Sarah/Ursula and the Captain back for another mission. One of the only critiques of the book was that the main characters are not as fleshed out as I'd like them to be, and I would enjoy learning more about them, seeing them grow, and watching relationships develop in future novels.
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  • Tiffany
    January 1, 1970
    This book was AMAZING. The protagonist, Sarah, is an extremely multi-faceted character. Despite "acting" nearly the entire book, her true character still comes through, a testament to the author's skills. My personal favorite parts were the interactions between Sarah and Captain Floyd, their characters just build off of each other so well. Do be warned that the book does contain some possibly disturbing content such as (view spoiler)[ attempted sexual assault and gory-ish violence (hide spoiler) This book was AMAZING. The protagonist, Sarah, is an extremely multi-faceted character. Despite "acting" nearly the entire book, her true character still comes through, a testament to the author's skills. My personal favorite parts were the interactions between Sarah and Captain Floyd, their characters just build off of each other so well. Do be warned that the book does contain some possibly disturbing content such as (view spoiler)[ attempted sexual assault and gory-ish violence (hide spoiler)]. Overall, it was a great read and I can't wait for a final published edition on my shelf. :)
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  • Vera
    January 1, 1970
    I won a copy of this. Only a child and have been forced to run for her life. Was in the car when her Mom was shot. Sarah got out, but was being chased. Thought she found someone to help her, but wanted her to be a spy in a boarding school. Sure not a place for a Jewish girl. She was treated very cruel. Book more disturbing than I care to read. At times thought I might not finish. But want to be fair. Maybe some enjoys books like this.
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  • Katy Morin
    January 1, 1970
    Heart griping, perfectly paced, a must read. Orphan Monster Spy is extremely well written and executed. The characters are engaging, and the plot always has you guessing what's next. You will literally feel as if you're in the story, and that is something I find very hard to achieve. You must get your hands on this book.
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  • Ken
    January 1, 1970
    Matt Killeen did a fantastic job with this mystery. The opening of the car chase and results of a failed escape seem likely to an obvious interment. Sarah meeting with the Captian she to be her doom. With the turn of each page, a layer was peeled back a new challenge presented itself and was met with Sarah's cleverness and fortitude. I was a terrific nonstop read!
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  • Lindsay Katz
    January 1, 1970
    I really loooved Matt Killeen's writing for this story, and I'd definitely be interested in any other book he comes out with in the future!! I don't have too many complaints, but there was one thing I didn't love. Some of the events in the book just seemed too unrealistic to be true, but other than that, it was a fun story to read!!
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  • Barbara Brumfield
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Goodreads for my first Advance Reader’s Copy, Orphan Monster Spy. I was totally absorbed in most places of this young adult spy novel. The Protagonist Sarah was an orphan and spy, but certainly not a monster. Sarah referred to herself as dumme Schlampe a few too many times. Perhaps there’s an over abundance of violence for the 13 year old readers, but the violence is essential to the story.
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  • Kathi
    January 1, 1970
    Didn't love the writing, I thought it brushed over every possible life-threatening subject matter and didn't really take anything seriously. I disliked the characters and the plot was unbelievable, it was hard for me to finish this one.
  • Barbara Leuthe
    January 1, 1970
    This was great book.The whole story of Sarah was interesting and you needed to see what happened next.If you are looking for a remarkable read this is your book.I received this book free as part of goodreads giveaways.
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