The intertwined stories of one 12-year-old in hurricane-flooded New York City in 2012 and another in Nazi-occupied France in 1944.
Lily loves visiting her grandmother Colette in the nursing home despite Granny’s dementia. Granny tells stories of her travels, and Lily runs errands for the staff. Superstorm Sandy forces the evacuation of the home from Queens to Brooklyn with the assistance of the National Guard. Lily’s an invaluable help—soothing her grandmother and organizing food donations—but in the chaos, she loses a fountain pen of Granny’s. Lily’s timeline, recounted in a first-person, past-tense narration, alternates with that of 12-year-old Colette, a baker’s daughter in war-torn France, in the third-person present tense. Everyone’s terrified of the occupying Germans, but Colette wants to help fight the invaders somehow. Disguised as a boy, she works for the Resistance, delivering secret messages, counting German soldiers, and even derailing a train. At any moment she might be arrested and tortured, but with her new friend Marguerite, Colette’s brave enough for anything. Meanwhile, in the present day, Lily’s quest to find a replacement for her grandmother’s lost pen takes her around flood-ravaged New York City and reveals secrets of her grandmother’s past. Lily, her grandmother, and those characters with identifiable race appear to be white. The wholesome contemporary survival tale combines surprisingly well with a spy thriller packed with invisible ink, an exploding cigarette case, and all kinds of secret agent gadgets.
A quick-moving two-in-one success (Adventure/historical thriller. 9-12)