Shadow on the Mountain
by Margi Preus
Amulet, 2012. 286 pgs. Historical Fiction
When Norway is invaded by Germany during World War II, Espen and his friends feel horrified, and also helpless. But Espen soon gets an opportunity to help. He delivers newspapers to members of the underground resistance movement, illegal papers that tell what is really going on in the world. Soon he graduates to carrying coded messages, skiing cross country and acting so innocent that he waves excitedly to a German plane as it flies overhead. Obedient to his father's mantra that the best way to do anything is the simplest way, he penetrates the Nazi garrison by trading potatoes for trinkets with the prisoners and provides the Resistance with a detailed map of the camp. When Espen's luck runs out, he must ski over the mountains to Sweden and safety--but will he get there before he is betrayed by a young man who has always hated him? or, perhaps, by his best friend. Espen's exciting story is based on the real-life adventures of Erling Storrusten who survived the German invasion and lived to marry his sweetheart and live a long and happy life. Preus, who also wrote last year's award winning The Heart of a Samurai, has done her usual remarkable job of transforming a true story into an engaging, exciting novel for young people. An excellent choice for older elementary and middle school students who need to read a historical fiction title.