Wolf children by Paul Dowswell
Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408858516
(Age: 13+) It is July 1945, Hitler's Third Reich has fallen, and Berlin is in ruins. Living on the edge of survival in the cellar of an abandoned hospital, Otto and his ragtag gang of kids have banded together in the desperate, bombed-out city. The war may be over, but danger lurks in the shadows of the wreckage.
Caught between invading armies, ruthless gangs and the constant threat of starvation, Otto and his friends must learn to stay alive.
But the Nazi regime left psychological wounds that are slow to heal: rifts arise in their little group and terrible secrets surface when a sinister figure emerges from the darkness.
Dowsell has created a masterpiece that draws on themes such as searching for the truth, friendship and survival against the odds. After living through the horrors of war, the children are now trying to find a life that resembles some sort of normalcy in Russian-occupied Berlin. There are a number of strong characters in the book, none more so than Ulrich. He is in constant turmoil between the brainwashing he received in the Hitler Youth and the reality of how he is now forced to live. Ulrich still clings to the ideology of the 'Master Race' but, in reality he is beginning to question this.
This is definitely a YA novel as it tackles some issues that would not be suitable for readers younger than 13. It would be a positive addition to the library collection on World War 2, particularly as it exposes experiences of children on all sides.