VANGO by Timothée de Fombelle
Kirkus Star

VANGO

Between Sky and Earth
From the "Vango" series, volume 1
Age Range: 12 & up
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Minutes from joining the priesthood in 1934, Vango, who was found washed ashore on a tiny Italian island as a toddler, must suddenly avoid both arrest and a simultaneous assassination attempt.

Establishing his innocence while on the run across Europe requires untangling his mysterious past. The story’s got all the classic elements of swashbuckling adventure tales like The Count of Monte Cristo—except pistols replace swords, and the villains include men who would become leaders of the Axis powers. Flashbacks to Vango’s childhood demonstrate that his heroism is innate—such as when, at 10, he drops from a cliff into a sinking boat to save a neighbor. But fate doesn’t always reward valor, and de Fombelle notes that by saving his neighbor, the youngster “was embarking on a stormy life ahead.” But Vango’s gentleness and caring earn him loyalty (and potentially romance) from those who help him along his journey. These characters, like Vango, are inherently brave but also shaped by tragedy. Their courage is tested by war and their frustrating inability to counteract the growing power of the Nazi regime. Tension escalates when readers begin to suspect that Vango’s story is more closely interwoven with the conflicts of World War II than either he or his supporters realize.

Beautiful writing, intricate plotting, and breathless reveals—plus several plucky female leads—make this a must-read. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-7636-7196-9
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2014




BEST TEEN BOOKS OF 2014 THAT'LL SEND READERS TRAVELING THROUGH TIME:

ChildrenEGG & SPOON by Gregory Maguire
by Gregory Maguire
ChildrenA MATTER OF SOULS by Denise Lewis Patrick
by Denise Lewis Patrick
ChildrenTHE CARNIVAL AT BRAY by Jessie Ann Foley
by Jessie Ann Foley
ChildrenTHE GOSPEL OF WINTER by Brendan Kiely
by Brendan Kiely

MORE BY TIMOTHÉE DE FOMBELLE

ChildrenA PRINCE WITHOUT A KINGDOM by Timothée de Fombelle
by Timothée de Fombelle
ChildrenTOBY AND THE SECRETS OF THE TREE by Timothée de Fombelle
by Timothée de Fombelle
ChildrenTOBY ALONE by Timothée de Fombelle
by Timothée de Fombelle

MORE BY SARAH ARDIZZONE

ChildrenTHE RABBIT AND THE SHADOW by Mélanie Rutten
by Mélanie Rutten
ChildrenA PRINCE WITHOUT A KINGDOM by Timothée de Fombelle
by Timothée de Fombelle
ChildrenLINE OF FIRE by Barroux
by Barroux

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenBLACK DOVE, WHITE RAVEN by Elizabeth Wein
by Elizabeth Wein