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Girl in the Blue Coat

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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 from a bright new voice.

310 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 5, 2016

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About the author

Monica Hesse

10 books1,008 followers
Monica Hesse is the national bestselling author of the true crime love story American Fire, and the historical mystery novel Girl in the Blue Coat, which has been translated into a dozen languages and won the 2017 Edgar award in the Young Adult category. She is a feature writer for the Washington Post, where she has been a winner of the Society for Feature Journalism's Narrative Storytelling award, and a finalist for a Livingston Award and a James Beard Award. Monica lives in Maryland. with her husband and a brainiac dog.

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5 stars
11,283 (31%)
4 stars
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3 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,051 reviews
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
611 reviews87.5k followers
February 6, 2018
Maybe closer to a 4.5*

This book engrossed from the beginning, maybe partially because it made me think of my own relatives and their experiences in occupied Netherlands. There were little things that reminded me of stories I’d been told and so I had a personal connection to the story. The story itself was very well done, though the ending was a bit confusing and hasty. The characters were very realistic so I came to really care for them and really enjoy the book overall.
October 4, 2018
4.5 stars!

This powerful novel caught my eye when I took my son to a preschool library class – it was calling to me from the library display shelf. I began reading it while my son was playing in the group and even though I am drowning in ARC’s that need to be read and reviewed, I couldn’t leave the library without this book in my hands. I was engrossed in this unforgettable tale from start to finish!

This captivating story revolves around Hanneke, a teenage Dutch girl who, in 1943, spends her days on ‘secret’ missions helping neighbours and friends buy food and other sought after items otherwise not accessible during the Nazi occupation. Hanneke keeps her missions hidden from her unsuspecting parents and feels pride in doing what she can to help her neighbours in need. One day, one of her ‘customers’ requests that Hanneke find something most unexpected – a young Jewish girl that she had been hiding in her house who disappeared without a trace.

The author, Monica Hesse, does an outstanding job creating such real and deeply affecting characters. I adored each and every one of the main characters who were involved in Hanneke’s story. The intensity of the tension throughout this book had my heart racing in the hopes of how things would work out. The atmosphere was gripping, vivid and mesmerizing. I felt deeply immersed within the turmoil and chaos of wartime madness. I will be thinking of this book for a long time.

To find this review, please visit the Traveling Sister blog at:


I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys WWII historical fiction. A remarkable story with unforgettable characters!

Thank you to my amazing local library for making this available to me!
Profile Image for Kelly Hager.
3,101 reviews130 followers
April 8, 2016
Oh, you guys, this book. This book made me cry at least three times, and yes, I will admit that I hugged it when I was done.

I don't want to tell you anything about it except that it is about bravery and cowardice and friends and enemies and heroes and villains and how each of us can encompass all those things.

The long and short of it is that you need this book. You need to read it and you need to make your friends read it.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Feyre.
102 reviews242 followers
September 15, 2018
“But when it comes down to it, we all die alone.”
― Monica Hesse, Girl in the Blue Coat


Well, this was good, a well written novel with an interesting plot, but nothing mind blowing, I mean, I personally found the main character to be a bit annoying and unlikable, and i didn't feel particularly touched by this story, but other than that, I guess this was worth the read.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,006 reviews36k followers
July 9, 2018
The Edgar Award Winner for Best Young Mystery Novel in 2017.

Hanneke -
......a young woman in the Netherlands during the German occupation- is asked to help find Mirjam, a missing young ‘Jewish’ girl she ‘doesn’t’ know from ‘adam’. There is back story too.

A complex journey begins of suspense...
....much courage, love, loss, betrayal, self discovery .. redemption...all the ‘feelings’.... sad moments!
It’s war - heartbreaking- real lives ... the history is ‘is’ real... the story ‘feels’ real.

The characters came so alive - piercing into my heart and awakening my brain cells.
The complexity - - friendships - plot twists - just wonderful...
This novel is so passionately full of life!!!
No wonder it won so many awards. It deserves it!!!!

Multilayered- rich -
Utterly engrossing!!!
Plenty of grist for book discussions.

Profile Image for Andrei Bădică.
371 reviews153 followers
August 17, 2018
"Viața mea de-acum e plină adesea de vină; de mânie, frecvent; de teamă, permanent. Dar de regulă nu este plină de îndoială de sine. Mi-am construit această nouă viață cu destulă grijă ca să simt că mă protejez pe mine însămi și-mi protejez familia cât pot de bine.".
"- Eu am mai văzut războaie, Hanneke, continuă mama. Știu ce se poate întâmpla. Știu ce li se poate întâmpla fetelor tinere. Încerc să te ocrotesc ca să crești cu mai puține griji decât mine. Nu există ceva în lume la care să țin mai mult decât țin la tine. Înțelegi?".
Profile Image for Danielle.
806 reviews400 followers
August 5, 2021
This was an okay read. 😌 I’ve read some really moving and heart wrenching historical fiction, the kind that leave you sobbing and thinking about the story non-stop. This one isn’t close to that level of story. 😬 The main character was a bit annoying and I found my mind wondering a lot… but it’s not the worst thing I’ve read. 🤗
Profile Image for Diane .
383 reviews13 followers
July 7, 2016
In the Note on Historical Accuracy at the end of the book, author Monica Hesse writes that she “wanted to tell a story of small betrayals in the middle of a big war”. In this novel, she has certainly achieved that goal.

Girl in the Blue Coat is a deeply moving story set in Amsterdam in 1943. Much more than a work of historical fiction, there are many intricacies, questions and mysterious twists that the reader is looking to solve along with the narrator, Hanneke. There are so many memorable characters and their development was excellent. I also felt there was some sort of special meaning throughout the entire story with Hanneke, Elsbeth and Bas; and Mirjam, Amalia and “T”. Betrayals and decisions made in haste, in fear, in wanting to do what’s noble, all in the face of an occupation and a war. I noted a particular page where Hanneke and her father were listening to the BBC on the radio “at a low volume, with all of the windows closed and towels stuffed under the doors to keep sound from escaping”. And another where Hanneke is standing in front of a school and thinks that her “whole life has been demolished brick by brick”. As I read this book, I could not help but feel that Monica Hesse put her entire heart and soul into this story. Beautiful prose!

I read this book very quickly, not only because it’s considered Young Adult which may have had something to do with it, but also just because the story was so completely engrossing, each character was so real and I was so vested in them, that each page, each chapter made me want to go on and read more.

Another excellent ‘buddy read’ with my GR friend, Lisa Vegan, who always keeps me on track/in sync and loves to discuss and analyze a good read with me. Also read as a Joint Read with some friends from my favorite GR group, Novel Ideas; and this book was my selection for my live book club, Lange Literati.

Looking forward to more from Monica Hesse.

Note to self: This was the first book I have read on WWII that was set in Amsterdam.
Profile Image for Taury.
501 reviews88 followers
January 25, 2022
The book kept me coming back. It was just another WWII book. Nothing remarkable. Had a story with mystery and death, a little tiny bit of romance.
Profile Image for Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries).
1,225 reviews391 followers
February 11, 2021
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from Amazon Vine.
*plenty of Jewish characters, but they’re almost negligible in the story of their suffering
*Ollie is gay and in a relationship with his roommate

Maybe I’ve finally overdosed on World War II YA fiction? There are more than just a few examples of novels that fit that category, but I don’t think I’ve been so underwhelmed by such a novel as I am with Girl in the Blue Coat. It’s… Well, finding words to describe what’s wrong here is so hard, but in general, the novel takes the story away from the Jewish people in Amsterdam and makes it about the non-Jewish people helping them. They have nowhere near the voice they deserve as the group suffering most during the Nazi occupation of both Amsterdam, the wider Netherlands, and the whole of the Nazi regime.

Since the story is set in Amsterdam in 1943, those of you who recognize the city and year from somewhere will immediately think of one name: Anne Frank. Anne doesn’t make an appearance in person or even in name, but anyone with even a vague knowledge of The Diary of Anne Frank will feel her spirit through this novel. (Admittedly, I have never read her diary. I hope to rectify this one day.) However, this novel is not about a fictional Anne Frank. It’s narrated by and about Hanneke, a non-Jewish girl and small-time delivery girl in the black market when a client asks her to find Mirjam, a Jewish girl Hanneke’s age who disappeared from her hiding place.

Beautifully written the novel is, but the characters aren’t very engaging and some very important bits of information weren’t stated very clearly. Multiple times, I got confused about something because the narrative skipped right over the establishment of a fact or I inadvertently skipped over it due to Hanneke’s dry narration. All of this on its own can make for a boring read, but Girl in the Blue Coat made me shiver with a quiet sort of fury a novel shouldn’t want to incite in a reader.

What bothers me deeply about Girl in the Blue Coat is its overwhelming focus on non-Jewish people and their efforts to save the Jewish population from Amsterdam. Their efforts are admirable and offer hope for readers who want to see that Jewish people weren’t so easily given up to the Nazis, but these non-Jewish voices rule the novel, leaving the Jewish characters as asides in the story of their suffering even when we see them in hiding and they talk about what they’ve suffered through that Hanneke probably never will. Some supporting characters are Jewish, but we get their feelings through the filter of Hanneke. In the end, it seems that the stories of all these Jewish people matter not on their own terms but for how they make Hanneke a better person.


Even the title speaks of Mirjam as a nameless figure: the girl in the blue coat. Her identity and the girl she is don’t matter in the grand scheme of the novel. What matters is how Hanneke changes during the course of her search for Mirjam on her client’s behalf. No marginalized group, especially Jewish people during World War II, should serve as a narrative device or catalyst for character growth in the story of someone like Hanneke, a white Dutch girl who is in no danger from the Nazis for being who she is. It’s utterly unacceptable.

This problem could have been fixed by making this a dual POV novel with Hanneke as one narrator and perhaps Mirjam as the other, but considering a last-minute twist, I find even that idea iffy. These twists toward the end come off as emotional manipulation rather than natural events that follow one another.

Girl in the Blue Coat would do very well as a supplementary novel paired with The Diary of Anne Frank in schools to show the multiple points of view through which we achieve the most accurate version of history, but it’s a borderline offensive failure on its own. All I’d like to do is forget that this book ever happened.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,760 reviews1,218 followers
July 5, 2016
Nothing less than 5 stars for this book but I will deduct ½ star because certain things about the ending could have been a bit better, for me. It’s still a wonderful book and I did love it. 4 ½ stars

I read this as a buddy read with my Goodreads friend Diane. I could have easily read this in 2 days, maybe 3, maybe 1, but I had a lot more time to read than my buddy did, so I tried to slow myself down. I’ve enjoyed all my buddy reads with her so it was worth it to at least try to stay as in sync as possible. We chat as we read along. When we get a bit ahead of one another it works to do emails with a subject heading that says spoilers through page number/chapter number, and that’s what we did this time.

Exceptionally well-crafted story!!!

I love the main character narrator and her voice. All the characters are as complex and complicated as any real people can be. They felt so real. I liked them so much. The admirable characters all had flaws and the nasty characters all had a good side. Many people made mistakes, with their relationships and what they did or didn’t do. Just like real life! Sometimes it was hard to remember that all the characters were entirely fictional. Of course, real people did similar things as these characters and I’m sure shared their emotions.

The story is about bravery, and about friendship and about love and a lot about guilt and, as I usually feel about people’s guilt about the big things, the guilt was largely unwarranted though understandable. I love how most things were resolved, and I’m glad that they were, but that there wasn’t an overly tidy resolution for everyone and everything.

There are many twists throughout the story, all basically believable, and even with my slight issues about part of the end, they were always cleverly done. I’m not sure what I’d hoped for differently at the end. Overall, I liked even that. I correctly anticipated some things but most things entirely surprised me. Brilliantly done! It could be considered a mystery, as there are many things about which I was constantly guessing and there is a mystery at the heart of the story.

The first chapter of the book gives a good introduction to what the story will be about, and I appreciated that. I was hooked from the start.

This book was addictive and it was hard to come up for air. The end of every chapter made me want to start the next chapter, and the chapters are short. It was always hard to stop reading when I did that.

So, so good! Any reader who likes Holocaust historical fiction and can enjoy what is a young adult book, I can heartily recommend it. This is one of the best in those genres that I’ve read.

It’s very sad and uplifting and exciting and very inspirational. It’s also fun at times and suspenseful most of the time. I got such a great feel for what the different characters were experiencing.

I came close to tears a few times as I read the story, but not nearly as much as when reading the note on historical accuracy and the acknowledgments at the end which were informative and fascinating and very touching. I love its last paragraph and especially the last line. I already knew a lot about Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation, but I learned some things
Profile Image for Ingrid.
1,210 reviews50 followers
February 14, 2018
Didn't like the protagonist, Hanneke, much. Considering it's a YA book I guess it's in character to be self-absorbed and not very empathic though.
The story was historically accurate, which always makes me very happy. Except I just could not understand why this search for this Jewish girl took place. There was no real reason and in 1943 it was far too dangerous to start a search because someone asks you to.
I didn't get any further than 3 stars until I came to the end. The plot was well built up and very plausible, so an extra star for that.
Profile Image for Sue.
27 reviews68 followers
February 6, 2016
"Girl in the Blue Coat" by Monica Hess is a YA WW II historical novel that will appeal to a wide scope of readers.

Through Hanneke, the protagonist, the heart is the historian. She suffers great loss when her boyfriend dies as a soldier during the German invasion of Amsterdam. Hanneke also carries the greater burden of guilt that she had convinced him to enlist. Part of her is missing because of the death of Sebastian, her first love.

She hides her suffering from everyone and tries to bury herself too in the day to day struggle of supporting her family by becoming a black market profiteer.

By chance, she becomes involved with the Resistance. This group becomes an all encompassing obsession for her and so does solving the mystery of the girl in the blue coat.

Hanneke goes from caring for immediate family to caring for all others. She progresses from teen to premature adult and heroine.

Thank you for the early e-book copy from NOVL.

NOVL is a place for novel people who love Young Adult books.
Brought to you by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,175 reviews615 followers
August 31, 2016
I thought this was a well written YA novel set during the German occupancy of the Netherlands in WWII. It's told through the eyes of Hanneke Bakker, an eighteen year old whose boyfriend was killed fighting during the German invasion. She is involved in finding and selling black market goods to the wealthier people in town but then becomes involved in searching for a missing girl. This causes her to cross paths with a group of young people involved in the resistance and she sees for herself what is happening in her own town. Historically accurate, I thought the author did a great job in setting the scene of what it would be like for a group of normal teenagers living in an occupied country.
Profile Image for Biz.
222 reviews102 followers
June 15, 2017
This book was just...eh. The plot was honestly fine, in fact, it was a rather enjoyable storyline that had lots of twists and a surprising ending, filled with lots of mystery, but besides the plot I didn't enjoy much else.
1. The characters were bland and their motivations didn't seem plausible at all. Hanneke, at the beginning, was cold and unsentimental, and then for a reason that made no sense she had a change of heart.
2. It always makes me super uncomfortable when historical fiction novels are in present tense. This happened 70 years ago and I don't want to pretend it's happening right now because the world has changed a lot.
3. It was suuuuper annoying that whenever Hanneke discovered a new clue to the mystery, she wouldn't tell the reader until like four pages later. I found myself skipping the pages between her discovery and the readers discovery, as though it built tension the first time she did this, every time after that it was unnecessary and annoying. It's especially annoying when it's in present tense.

Honestly though it was an easy read and very historically accurate, props to the writer for doing her research.
Profile Image for Elise.
392 reviews28 followers
January 24, 2016
Oh my god... What an incredible read. If you like historical fiction, pick up this book in April!

Overview: Hitler's invasion of The Netherlands has taken everything from Hanneke. The war has forced her to make her living dangerously by selling goods in Holland's black market. Her dealings taken an even deadlier turn when a client asks her to find a missing Jewish girl, Mirjam, that she'd been hiding in her pantry. Hanneke's own experiences of loss compel her to risk it all and find the girl in the blue coat.

I knew very little about Holland's involvement in WWII. I thought that they were a neutral country that mostly stayed out of the war. Turns out I was right... until I wasn't. Holland maintained neutrality until Hitler invaded their country, despite promising that he wouldn't. He lied. When he began to exact his "Final Solution" towards the Jewish Dutch, hiding spots were few and far between for families attempting to escape his evil plans. Additionally, I had no idea that the Germans initiated Judenraete, or Jewish Council, a bureaucratic committee created to ensure that their demands were carried out among the Jewish people. While Dutch Jews initially believed this council would help ease relations between the Jews and the Nazi's, it actually made it easier for Nazi' to track them down and round them up for deportation. This is the heartbreaking context within which Girl in the Blue Coat is told.

Hanneke is not used to keeping her head down. Growing up, she was a firebrand; speaking outright against Hitler's dictatorship and never shying away from a political or social debate. She loves a boy named Sebastian, Bas for short, and they plan to get married once he returns from the front lines. When Bas suddenly dies, so does much of Hanneke's spirited nature. His death also hung a weight of guilt over her shoulders, as she feels responsible for his death. When her client, Mrs. Janssen pays her to find the Jewish girl, Mirjam, that she'd been hiding, Hanneke doesn't want to risk more than she already has, but eventually agrees to find her. I thought the development and growth of her character was perfect. Just right for the amount of time that we're with her, which is only about a week. Her story is one of suffering shared by the Dutch, and sensitive and honorable towards the Jewish suffering of that time as well.

The plot and context was another huge asset for this novel. Just when you think that this is a straightforward historical mystery, it's not. It's an emotional roller coaster with twist and turns that only add to the depth of the story instead of distracting from it.

Overall, this is a strong YA novel that explores the deep guilt that comes with choices we regret. Sometimes, war and struggle forces us to be people and do things that we would never have thought ourselves capable of doing. Yet, for all of us, there are moments of hope and opportunities for redemption.
Profile Image for Lindsay (pawsomereads).
678 reviews375 followers
January 2, 2021
This was a really captivating read that provided a lot of historical perspective while weaving an intriguing story of friendship and loss.
I got sucked into Girl in the Blue Coat so quickly. It was interesting from the very beginning and gets right into the action. Set in Amsterdam during World War II, this book follows Hanneke, a Dutch teenager selling black market items as her own little form of rebellion against the Nazi invaders. When one of her buyers elicits Hanneke’s help in finding a Jewish girl she was helping to hide, Hanneke gets drawn into something much bigger than she ever expected.
I liked that the scope of the book grew so much as it progressed. The reader learns so many things at the same time as Hanneke and I really enjoyed that it expanded upon the original plot line into a greater look at the tragedies of the war and brave resistance taking place. A lot of the historical fiction I’ve read was about World War II but this book provided a new perspective from the Dutch point of view which I haven’t read about before, so I definitely appreciated that aspect.
The story had many twists that led to a tangled web, making it so hard to put down before figuring out the mystery. You’ll definitely need your detective cap for this one, I was surprised at every turn. This is now high up on my list of YA historical fiction recommendations!
Profile Image for Cold War Conversations Podcast.
415 reviews262 followers
June 14, 2016
Powerful and poignant YA historical fiction.

Set in German occupied Holland the story is told through the eyes of Hanneke a young teenage girl who works on the black market. In the course of her work around Amsterdam she is asked to find a missing Jewish teenager.

Impeccably researched and at times very moving Girl in the Blue Coat is a very readable story about the frailty of human nature through love, hate, jealousy, and friendship.

Monica Hesse knew little of the period or the location, but through diligent research has recreated World War 2 Holland down to food and the language and interactions of the period.

Highly recommended for anyone who enjoyed The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.
Profile Image for diana.
900 reviews49 followers
January 20, 2020
Primarily, I would like to make it clear that this is not the worst book I've ever read, and from the looks of it, other people seem to have a high opinion of it. I was originally going to give it three stars, but when I looked back on it, the absolute absence of anything enjoyable made me reconsider. I don't even really hate it, other than a few things that irked me; there's just nothing redeemable for me.

So, what's it about Girl in the Blue Coat that gets under my skin? Why am I not gushing over it and saying how it tore me apart emotionally? Why did I, at a certain point, laugh maniacally to myself before throwing this thing across the room, then proceed to pick it up and continue reading with mild interest?

Well. I'll tell you.

For starters, the writing is competent. There is absolutely nothing special about the way the story is told. There's no style or excitement to the writing. It's just there. Not every author needs to be a master wordsmith, but since I wasn't interested in anything else going on, it would have done a world of good to have seen some fabulous description of a building or a rock or something.

The characters are flat, but not in the way that stereotypes are flat. At least with stereotypes there's a sort of personality that comes with it. Here, all the characters are non-people who, if you took away the speaker tags, I never would have been able to tell you who was talking. In the author's note in the back, the author mentions that she wanted to tell a story about people. But I never felt that, because none of these characters ever felt real to me.

Speaking of characters, that main one? Hanneke? Yeah, I didn't like her. And I guess the point is, you're not supposed to like her. At its core, Girl in the Blue Coat is more of a redemption story than anything else. Hanneke is supposed to grow and change and learn to forgive herself for something she didn't actually do (What? You've heard that story already? Don't worry; this entire book is like that).

So yeah, the intent seems to be that you don't like Hanneke in the beginning, since she starts out as a hardened, kind of selfish, broken person. And in the end, after learning her lesson, she becomes...a hardened, kind of selfish, broken person. And yes, I acknowledge that that might have been the author's intent. Another thing the author mentioned is that this story is about people who are both heroes and villains. Hanneke starts out broken and ends broken, but in different ways and also fixed somewhat. But there's a way to write unlikable characters in a likable way. It's not achieved here.

Oh yeah, and then there's a part where a thing happens, this thing being the thing which caused me to throw my book across the room. I'm not going to go into detail, but it involves homosexuality, and it frustrates me to no end to see this trend in books nowadays. While I get that the author's intent was to show the struggle of the gay community during WWII, especially in a country where being gay could literally get you killed, it feels less like an emotional punch and more like, "Well, nothing else is going on, so let's make this kid gay!" It doesn't help that it's brought up in one scene at the tail end of the book and never again. To some people it might have been tragic and gut-wrenching, but to me it just felt cheap.

The most disappointing part of all was how many things this book could have been but wasn't. Hanneke is supposed to find this missing Jewish girl, and when I first read the synopsis, I was genuinely convinced that meant she found the girl within the first few chapters, and the rest of the story would have been them bonding and grieving together, something like that. Or maybe it would have been more involved with Hanneke's black market connections. Or maybe it could have had actual stakes, rather than telling us how much danger the characters were in and instead showing us. The author even mentioned she wanted to highlight certain unknown aspects of the resistance, like the group of university students who rescued and relocated Jewish children, or a group of photographers who secretly photographed the war. So why didn't she tell those stories? Instead, they are parts of a whole.

Instead of stakes, the characters dick around and are rescued before anything bad can ever happen to them. Instead of the story of university students in an underground resistance, we have the story of a girl constantly reminding us how much she's changed, but it never really feels like that means anything when we never see what she was like before. Instead of a unique story set against the backdrop of Amsterdam during WWII, we get a hodgepodge of stories that have been told a thousand times, in WWII settings and contemporary settings and every other setting under the sun, and yet none of them feel universal or as if there's a new perspective on these stories.

I think my biggest problem stems from the fact that there are so many WWII stories out there, especially in YA literature, that are so much better than this. It never feels like the author takes advantage of the setting. In fact, the story really has nothing to do with the titular girl in the blue coat. The story is entirely Hanneke's, and it's a story that could be told in any time period or setting. But there are still ways that the author could have connected Hanneke's struggle to the terrible things occurring around her. We've all seen this tale told a thousand times, and there's nothing new added to it. The girl in the blue coat within the context of the story is more of a plot device than a character in the midst of a terrible war. In this way, it doesn't feel like a WWII story at all, and I truly wonder why the author chose this setting. It feels out of place.

All this said, after reading the author's note, I can't be mad at this book. It's coming from a genuine place, and I can respect that. That doesn't mean I have to like it, or that I feel guilty for taking such issue with it. But I can't fault it for trying to do some good.

Overall, it seems that I'm in the minority when it comes to my feelings about this. It's just not my cup of tea, but I am glad I read it. If the synopsis interests you, then read it. Don't let my silly personal opinion influence yours.

2/5 stars
Profile Image for Irene.
470 reviews92 followers
August 26, 2020
Una historia entretenida, donde descubrimos la invasión de Holanda. El punto de vista es estupendo, el sentido del mercado negro, no había leído nada de este tema, en otras novelas hacen apenas referencia a ello.
Los traslados de judíos y el papel del comité judío holandés me ha parecido sorprendente.
Sin embargo, me ha faltado un poco más de emoción, para la época en la que se desarrolla, a pesar de que los protagonistas son muy valientes.
Profile Image for Brandice.
857 reviews
August 12, 2017
Girl in the Blue Coat was chosen by my book club in 2016. It was a book I probably wouldn't have otherwise read although I'm a big fan of historical fiction. The plot was interesting and had some good twists. Overall, I enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Eden.
507 reviews207 followers
May 14, 2019
As I was reading Girl in the Blue Coat, I was afraid it was going to be another World War II historical fiction novel without heart. I’m a sucker for a good historical fiction novel, and World War II is my favorite subgenre of it. I’ve read books I’ve loved (Code Name Verity, The Librarian of Auschwitz) and others that I’ve thought were overhyped (The Nightingale). The beginning of the novel had me interested, but it lost me as soon as a romance storyline seemed to be a possibility. The characters just weren’t fleshed out enough for there to be a romantic element. I was happy when the book took a turn near the end.

The thing I adored about this story was how there were so many elements I knew nothing about. It brought completely new parts of World War II to light for me. I had no idea there were people secretly photographing the Nazis in creative ways. I didn’t realize there were people smuggling children out of collection centers. I had no idea so many children were saved. Of course I knew of the bravery of the Jews and of the people who were occupied by the Germans during the war, but I still didn’t realize the extent of that bravery.

This book is about flawed people—and I loved that. Hanneke isn’t a martyr. She’s brave, but there are some things she isn’t willing to do. There are people acting nice to the Germans to their faces and then planning revolution behind their backs. There are people whose lives were ruined by the war because of loss, but also because their friends sided with the enemy…fell in love with the enemy.

This was a new perspective for me, and I enjoyed learning more about the courageous people fighting back however they could during World War II.
Profile Image for Shaghayegh.
60 reviews75 followers
July 26, 2021
وای این کتابه خیلیییی قشنگ بود. واقن خیلی وقت بود کتابی که هم انقد روون و خوش خوان باشه و هم انقد کشش داشته باشه نخونده بودم.
داستان در واقع تو دورانی که نازیا یهودیا رو نسل کشی میکردن اتفاقن میوفته توی هلند و کلیتش میشه گفت در مورد قایم کردن یهودیا توسط مردمه. خیلی جزییات قشنگ دیگه هم داره که خب من نمیگم که سپویل نکرده باشم. ترجمه هم خیلی خوب بود. خیلی خیلی خیلی زیبا بود.
May 28, 2019
I'm impressed. I read this in a weekend. It held my attention the entire time and was never boring. A twist of an ending! Heartbreaking, delicate and intricate. A rare 5 out of 5 from me!
Profile Image for Kaitlyn Abshire.
209 reviews12 followers
August 19, 2016
On one of her routine black market deliveries, Hanneke receives a strange request from one of her clients, Mrs. Janssen. Find a young Jewish girl that Mrs. Janssen has been hiding. Knowing how much danger searching for a Jewish girl could put Hanneke and her family in, Hanneke initially refuses to help Mrs. Janssen. However, Hanneke changes her mind and agrees to search for the Jewish girl. Her search opens her up to a world that she never knew existed.

After reading Wolf by Wolf last year and completely falling in love with it, I made the commitment to read more historical fiction novels. When I initially discovered The Girl in the Blue Coat, I was elated. I loved the premise behind it, the setting, and even the cover was beautiful. Needless to say, I was thrilled to start this book.

I had great deal of anticipation starting this book. My hopes were high and I just KNEW that I was going to love this book. So you can imagine my extreme disappointment when I decided to DNF this book. I truly hated to DNF this book because I had been anticipating reading it for such a long time.

The main reason I decided to put this book down was due to the characters. I could not connect with a single one. I couldn’t even see myself “liking” the main character. Perhaps there is character development later within the story, but I couldn’t stick around waiting for it. In addition to having no connections with the characters, the story was very slow. I made it through almost half of this novel and things were just beginning to pick up. So, with no emotional investments and completely disinterested in the story, I decided to put this book down.
Profile Image for Sherrie Miranda.
Author 2 books140 followers
September 9, 2017
Customer Review
5.0 out of 5 stars
I couldn't stop reading!
Reviewed By Sherrie Miranda on September 8, 2017
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best stories about Nazi Germany's invasion of other countries that I have read. I didn't want the story to end, but I couldn't stop reading!
I felt every character as if they were neighbors, people I wish I could have known.
Hess is an amazing historical story teller. There was nothing stuffy or overly-historical in this story. I loved all the characters, especially Hanneke, who is fighting demons, blaming herself for things that aren't her fault, but finally finding a chance to redeem herself. And she does, brilliantly!
Hesse has a talent that is seldom seen in this day of light & easy. I can't wait to read her next book!
Learn the story behind: Publish "Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans.” and help us meet our goal. @indiegogo
Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” will be out en Español very soon! It is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P11Ch... 😉
Profile Image for Hilary .
2,233 reviews398 followers
July 21, 2016
A very well written and moving young adult book which tells the story through the eyes of a young dutch woman living in Nazi occupied Amsterdam. The characters were engaging and realistic, they gave me a good insight into what life was like for young people at that time. There were some notes on historical accuracy at the end which made the story even more poignant. I feel that the sadness of the book and the emphasis on relationships would probably be more of interest or suitability to a slightly older teen, perhaps 14 or 15, but nothing in the book that is really unsuitable for a younger reader. I feel the story would have benefited from hearing a voice from some of the Jewish characters. The fact a young adult book is a good read for an adult says a lot about the quality of the book. My copy came from the library and was classified as historical rather than young adult.
Profile Image for Myrna.
708 reviews
June 14, 2018
I enjoyed this fast-paced story with interesting historical elements. The setting, WWII Amsterdam, introduces us to new information about the resistance in Holland and how they handled the Nazi invasion. It’s written in 1st person from the eyes of Hanneke, who is not likable for a big chunk of the story but undergoes a change. The ending is not what I expected with a huge plot twist and a bit confusing for me. Girl in the Blue Coat is not my favorite historical fiction, but I did like it. 3.5 stars!
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