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Girl in the Blue Coat
Cover of Girl in the Blue Coat
Girl in the Blue Coat

The national bestseller and winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery

"Girl in the Blue Coat is a powerful, compelling coming-of-age story set against the dark and dangerous backdrop of World War II. It's an important and page-turning look at the choices all of us-including young adults-have to make in wartime. A beautiful combination of heartbreak, loss, young love, and hope." -Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
"A tapestry of guilt and acceptance, growing responsibility, and reluctant heroism, Hanneke's coming-of-age under heartbreaking circumstances is a jarring reminder of how war consumes and transforms the passions of ordinary life. Every devastating moment of this beautiful novel is both poignant and powerful, and every word feels true." -Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Verity

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.


On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman's frantic plea to find a person-a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.


Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel about bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.

The national bestseller and winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery

"Girl in the Blue Coat is a powerful, compelling coming-of-age story set against the dark and dangerous backdrop of World War II. It's an important and page-turning look at the choices all of us-including young adults-have to make in wartime. A beautiful combination of heartbreak, loss, young love, and hope." -Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
"A tapestry of guilt and acceptance, growing responsibility, and reluctant heroism, Hanneke's coming-of-age under heartbreaking circumstances is a jarring reminder of how war consumes and transforms the passions of ordinary life. Every devastating moment of this beautiful novel is both poignant and powerful, and every word feels true." -Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Verity

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.


On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman's frantic plea to find a person-a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.


Beautifully written, intricately plotted, and meticulously researched, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel about bravery, grief, and love in impossible times.

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About the Author-
  • Monica Hesse is a features writer at The Washington Post, where she writes widely-shared longform pieces and has covered royal weddings, dog shows, political campaigns, and White House state dinners. Monica has talked about those stories and others on NBC, MSNBC, CNN, CSPAN, FOX, and NPR. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and their dog.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 25, 2016
    In this riveting Holocaust novel, Hesse, a journalist for the Washington Post, brings readers to 1943 Nazi-occupied Amsterdam as teenage Hanneke Bakker learns more than she ever wanted to know about the atrocities committed against her Jewish neighbors. When Hanneke, who supports her family by delivering black market goods, is enlisted by a customer to search for a disappeared 15-year-old Jewish girl named Mirjam, she tries to keep her quest an isolated concern. As Hanneke’s investigation draws her into the web of systematized degradation and brutality afflicting all Jews, she recognizes that refusing to participate in the underground resistance would make her complicit with evil. Hanneke forcefully conveys the tortured emotions of citizens and city: “Fear. That’s right. That was the odor I couldn’t place before. That’s the smell of my beautiful, breaking country.” Themes of guilt and betrayal, ingenuity and courage, and the divisive effect of the occupation on friendship and community weave through a gripping historical mystery in which people and places, including the title character, are often not what they appear. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown.

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2016
    A political features writer at the Washington Post turns to teen fiction and delivers the goods. World War II Amsterdam, the world of Anne Frank: because most readers know it through that lens, it's imagined as a claustrophobic, invisible world. Hesse's debut novel turns the story around: "Aryan poster girl" Hanneke spends her days cycling through her occupied city, using the ration cards of the dead to play the black market for her undertaker boss. Hanneke knows things are bad, but her own guilty grief--her boyfriend died in the futile fight against the Nazis, and Hanneke blames herself for pushing him to fight--blinds her. When one of her clients asks her to find a missing Jewish girl, 15 and vanished from Mrs. Janssen's hidden room, Hanneke stumbles into a pocket of the resistance and begins to understand the depths of the horror facing her country and the immensity of the Nazi evil. Hesse's impeccable research meshes almost seamlessly with Hanneke's present-tense narration, bringing the time and place to life. Rich in content and emotion, this is a first-rate companion to the historical tales of the onderduikers, the hidden Jews of Holland, and a compelling read despite its mildly rose-tinted resolution. Shelve this one beside resistance tales like Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity (2012) and read next to a box of tissues. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2016

    Gr 9 Up-In Nazi-occupied Holland, Hanneke seems like an ordinary girl working at a funeral parlor to help support her family during wartime. But her Aryan features and charming smile allow her to work as a courier on the black market smuggling cigarettes, meat, and other unavailable items to paying customers. While Hanneke is not a member of the Dutch resistance, her actions are a direct result of the loss of Bas, her boyfriend. Lying about his age, he enlisted and died on the frontlines during the German invasion. When one of her best customers asks for her assistance in finding a Jewish girl she was hiding, Hanneke is stunned. But soon after, she is drawn into the mysterious disappearance of the girl in the blue coat. What she uncovers as she searches for answers leads her on a journey of self-discovery, self-realization, and redemption. Hesse crafts a thought-provoking and gripping historical novel. The themes of love, betrayal, heroism, social responsibility, and atonement are beautifully intertwined with well-developed characters and a compelling story line. Thoroughly researched, this work brings history alive in a clear and concise way that rings true. VERDICT A must-read for fans of historical fiction, especially stories set during World War II.-Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books edwardsh - If you liked Number the Stars you will like this book also.
  • The Edgar Award Winner for Best Young Adult Mystery Novel 2017
    A New York Public Library Best Book for Teens of 2016
    An Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2016
    A Booklist Best Young Adult Book of 2016
    A Notable...
    The Edgar Award Winner for Best Young Adult Mystery Novel 2017
    A New York Public Library Best Book for Teens of 2016
    An Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of 2016
    A Booklist Best Young Adult Book of 2016
    A Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People Selection 2017
    A 2017 Indies Choice Awards Finalist for Best Young Adult Book
    A YALSA 2017 Best Book for Young Adults
    A 2017 Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year
  • Kristin Hannah, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale Girl in the Blue Coat is a powerful, compelling coming-of-age story set against the dark and dangerous backdrop of World War II. It's an important and page-turning look at the choices all of us—including young adults—have to make in wartime. A beautiful combination of heartbreak, loss, young love, and hope.
  • ; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1107305727 0 0 415 0;} @font-face {font-family:Consolas; panose-1:2 11 6 9 2 2 4 3 2... Cambria Math
  • Judy Blundell, New York Times bestselling author of Strings Attached and the National Book Award-winning What I Saw and How I Lied In an occupied city, a young woman's daring transforms into true courage when she confronts a mystifying disappearance. From page one, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Enthralling.
  • Ryan Graudin, author of The Walled City and Wolf by Wolf It's no small feat to bring the past to life, especially a history as dark and desperate as World War II. Monica Hesse does just this with Hanneke's story. Brace yourself, dear reader, to have your heart bruised—and possibly even broken—in the most meaningful of ways.
  • Publishers Weekly Riveting... a gripping historical mystery.
  • Shelf Awareness A poignant, wonderfully crafted story of love and loss, courage and redemption.
  • The Wall Street Journal [An] intelligent and humane historical mystery.
  • School Library Journal The themes of love, betrayal, heroism, social responsibility, and atonement are beautifully intertwined with well-developed characters and a compelling story line. Thoroughly researched, this work brings history alive in a clear and concise way that rings true. A must-read for fans of historical fiction, especially stories set during World War II.
  • Kirkus Reviews Rich in content and emotion, this is a first-rate companion to the historical tales of the onderduikers, the hidden Jews of Holland, and a compelling read
  • Justine Magazine This heartbreaking story of terror and loss sweeps you into a time-is-running-out mystery that delivers plot twists and a shocking final punch that'll haunt you for days.
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch A moving immersion into life in WWII.
  • The South Bergenite A remarkable book overflowing with emotion, suspense, and history.
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