Preus incorporates archival photographs, maps, and other images to tell this story based on the real-life adventures of Norwegian Erling Storrusten, whom Preus interviewed in Norway. Praise for Shadow on the Mountain
"Newbery Honor winner Preus infuses the story with the good-natured humor of a largely unified, peace-loving people trying to keep their sanity in a world gone awry. Based on a true story, the narrative is woven with lively enough daily historical detail to inspire older middle-grade readers to want to learn more about the Resistance movement and imitate Espen's adventures."
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review "This engrossing offering sheds light on the Norwegians' courage during World War II. Preus masterfully weds a story of friendship with the complications faced by 14-year-old Espen and his friends as Nazi restrictions and atrocities become part of their everyday lives...This is at once a spy thriller, a coming-of-age story, and a chronicle of escalating bravery. Multidimensional characters fill this gripping tale that keeps readers riveted to the end."
--School Library Journal, starred review "A closely researched historical novel... relates this wartime tale with intelligence and humor...Ms. Preus deftly uses together historical fact (Espen is based on a real-life spy) and elements of Norwegian culture to conjure a time and place not so terribly long ago."
--The Wall Street Journal "Margi Preus, who won a Newbery honor for Heart of a Samurai, returns with another riveting work of historical fiction... This fine novel, which includes an author's note, a timeline, a bibliography and even a recipe for invisible ink, is based on extensive research... The result is an authentic coming-of-age story, perfect for readers fascinated by the diary of Anne Frank or Lois Lowry's classic, Number the Stars."
--BookPage "The final chapters, which chronicle Espen's dramatic escape to Sweden--days and nights of mountain skiing, Nazis in hot pursuit--take the book into adventure-thriller territory without losing the humanity that characterizes Preus's account."
--The Horn Book Magazine "Preus makes crystal clear the life imperiling risks that Espen undertakes and the danger to his family."
--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "As readers understand the risks that Espen took, they will want to learn more about this period. That Espen escaped to Sweden by traveling at night on skis with five different guides should intrigue them."
--Library Media Connection Awards
VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2012 list
2013 Notable Books for a Global Society
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award
- ISBN-13: 9781419704246
- ISBN-10: 1419704249
- Publisher: Amulet Books
- Publish Date: September 2012
- Page Count: 286
- Reading Level: Ages 8-12
- Dimensions: 8.53 x 5.83 x 1.27 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.97 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-10-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Newbery Honor winner Preus (Heart of a Samurai) delivers a riveting story about teenage freedom fighters in WWII Norway. Espen and the other members of his soccer team hope to continue to enjoy the game they love following the Nazi invasion, but both Espen's teammates and rivals are soon pulled into the resistance movement as rations are cut and their families assaulted. Espen is drafted to be a courier for the resistance, while his younger sister, Ingrid, starts sneaking ration cards to starving Norwegians. Preus ably develops a large cast of characters, rendering them with persuasive vulnerabilities and showing how each is transformed by the war. Espen's skiing missions for the resistance combine the thrilling aspects of an outdoor adventure story with political peril and the threat of violence. An author's note with photographs of the real-life inspiration for Espen, Erling Storrusten (as well as appendices on code breaking and invisible ink), bring the truth behind the powerful story into startling focus. Ages 10â14. Agent: Stephen Fraser, Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. (Sept.)
A real boy's Resistance
Margi Preus, who won a Newbery honor for Heart of a Samurai, returns with another riveting work of historical fiction. Shadow on the Mountain tells the story of the Nazi occupation of Norway through the experiences of a boy named Espen and his younger sister, Ingrid.
The story begins in 1940, when 14-year-old Espen begins taking tentative steps to help the resistance. Espen has no doubts whatsoever where his allegiance lies, but he finds that some of his friends and classmates think differently. Why is his best friend Kjell riding in a car with soldiers? And how far will his soccer teammate Aksel go to please the occupying soldiers?
Shadow on the Mountain covers nearly five years in Espen’s life, as he takes on increasingly dangerous assignments. Preus captures the tension, fear and determination of Espen and Ingrid, and recounts the changes that take place as normal life disappears.
This fine novel, which includes an author’s note, a timeline, a bibliography and even a recipe for invisible ink, is based on extensive research. Preus had the opportunity to interview Erling Storrusten, who was a teenager in the town of Lillehammer during the Occupation, and many of the incidents are based on his experiences. The result is an authentic coming-of-age story, perfect for readers fascinated by the diary of Anne Frank or Lois Lowry’s classic, Number the Stars.