Heinz Schultz’s word could send a man to prison. Though only a youth of fifteen, he was strong, tall, and blond. The boys in his Deutsches Jungvolk unit esteemed him and feared him.
And they wanted to be just like him.
Emil Radle wanted to be just like him.
A dedicated member of Hitler Youth, Emil was loyal to the Fuehrer before family, a champion for the cause and a fan of the famous Luftwaffe Air force.
Emil’s friends Moritz and Johann discover a shortwave radio and everything changes. Now they listen to the forbidden BBC broadcast of news reports that tell both sides. Now they know the truth.
The boys along with Johann’s sister Katharina, band together to write out the reports and covertly distribute flyers through their city. It’s an act of high treason that could have them arrested–or worse.
As the war progresses, so does Emil’s affection for Katharina. He’d do anything to have a normal life and to stay in Passau by her side. But when Germany’s losses become immense, even their greatest resistance can’t prevent the boys from being sent to the Eastern Front.
“One of the best YA books I’ve read in a long time, Playing with Matches grabs you from page one and whisks you back to 1938 Germany. It’s rare that I get so engrossed in a story that I feel as if I’m actually there. I have always wondered what it must have been like for those citizens of Germany who knew something wasn’t quite right. Using actual real-life stories from those who lived through it, Lee Strauss paints a bleak picture of fear and survival. Her characters seem real and jump right off the page.” – Steven Davenport