WHITE ROSE, by Kip Wilson, Versify, April 2, 2019, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
I generally don’t read a lot of books written in verse. I tend to struggle with them. But the buzz for Kip Wilson’s White Rose was so strong, I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did.
White Rose is a historical fiction novel based on the story of Sophie Scholl, a German college student who challenged the Nazi regime during World War II as part of a non-violent resistance group.
For Sophie, Germany was once a place of peace and freedom. A place where education and literature were valued. But as the Nazis took over, those things slowly started to disappear. As the Nazi rhetoric amped up, Sophie began to see the regime for what it was.
Hoping to bring the government down from the inside of Germany, Sophie joined her brother and his fellow soldiers as part of the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazis and calling for action from their fellow German citizens.
The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested, tried and executed for treason.
White Rose follows Sophie and her friends in the years leading up to her death.
Too often we tend to blame people for their complacency when in fact their situations are varying shades of gray. The fact that I’d never even heard of the White Rose before reading Kip Wilson’s book seems to confirm that.
White Rose unfolds across different times and from occasional differing vantage points. You’d think that would be disjointing, but paired with Wilson’s verse, the narrative flows smoothly.
And while this book could have easily been written in prose rather than verse, I don’t think it would have had the emotional punch that Wilson has created. His verse creates an immediacy that pushes you forward, making it a fast and intense read that’s well worth your time.
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