An American teenager becomes an Allied spy for the French Resistance during World War II in this briskly paced historical to novel.
Seventeen-year-old Betty Sweeney, aka Adele Blanchard, is thrilled to abandon the staid safety of her European boarding school after she is approached by dashing SOE (Special Operations Executive) agents looking for unassuming young women to serve as spies behind enemy lines in France. “All I have to do is drop into a foreign country, aid and train members of the ever-growing Resistance movement, sabotage railways, travel the country on a bicycle while concealing top-secret information, blow things up, and try not to get killed.” At the end of every cliffhanging chapter, intrepid Adele finds herself in a different do-or-die situation, whether it’s unobtrusively trying to carry her bicycle through rough water under an enemy-occupied bridge or leading a German soldier to certain death in the labyrinthine Paris sewers. She is also caught in a love triangle between French farmer-turned-fighter Pierre and downed American pilot Robbie, one of whom is not destined to live to see the end of the war. The fast pace, well-realized setting and fascinating espionage details help make up for the stereotypical characterizations and stiff dialogue.
Readers who prefer layered characters over racing plot should seek out the more subtle works of Judy Blundell or Kathryn Miller Haines. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)