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Shadow on the Mountain. By Margi Preus. Narrated by Jeff Woodman. 6.25 hrs. CD. Recorded Books, 2013.

This is a historical fiction based on a real teen spy from Norway. The author met the man at a museum and was inspired to write his story (with a few combined characters and mash-ups of events). The end of the book explains which events were true and how. Very interesting.
Nazis have invaded Norway, who claimed they were neutral and were very angered that the Nazis would try to take over. There was a very strong resistance of the Norwegians against the invaders… especially children. They would sit on the sled hills laughing at the Nazis try to ski, when they had been experts since kindergarten. The kids would cause all types of mischief and disobey the Nazis. It’s great that this was the one place where the Nazis were seriously rebelled against and mistreated themselves. Kids are always hearing about how the Nazis basically steamrolled everyone. The Norwegian leaders urged Norway to fight back and not give into Nazi commands.
So here is the story of Espen, a boy living in Norway who likes playing soccer with his friends. Stein is their team captain and a great leader. Axel is the jerk who thinks he’s in charge and uses many tactics to gain control of the team. When the Nazis invade, tell Espen they are confiscating his boy scouts uniform and that he has to be on a Nazi soccer team because all of the other teams are being disbands, Espen walks off the field in anger. This moment changes everything. Espen starts a secret resistance party with his soccer friends, minus Axel. Axel is propelled into the Nazi’s child army and starts to bully his way up the ladder. Espen’s best friend Kjell also seems to be siding with the Nazis, but that’s rather ambiguous until the end.
Espen starts by delivering illegal newspapers on his bike and building a weapons cache with his friends. But then, he moves up, earning a secret code name and gaining harder jobs until he is at the top of the most wanted list by the Nazis. He must escape to Sweden or be caught and tortured.
This is a great book for kids who like adventures that have a moral dilemma attached. Even though there is a lot of action, it is subdued by the cerebral cat and mouse game always being played by the various characters. I like the revelations that each character brings to the story. It lends a lot to the discussion of people’s motivations for which sides to pick. It was nice reading a book about the Holocaust where not everyone was just thrown in the concentration camps. This book was less depressingly intense than other Holocaust books, but it was still adventurously suspenseful.
I couldn’t really find any read-alikes other than a few non-fiction on kids who worked against the Nazis. It wasn’t as suspenseful as a full spy kids kind of book. It wasn’t as intense as all of the usual suspects in the historical fiction Nazi Germany books.
Some suggested read-alikes were Three Years and Eight Months by Icy Smith, Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan, and Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes.