Booklist Review - Run Like Jager

Reviewed by: John Peters

The two nearly discrete story lines in this otherwise fine debut are perhaps less successful together than they would have been separately. On the one hand, Canadian exchange student Kurt takes up temporary residence in a Berlin suburb and finds himself contending with a particularly nasty bully (with the obligatory abusive father), developing a friendship and more with classmate Marta, and suffering recurrent nightmares about committing atrocities as a German soldier. Meanwhile, he learns that Marta's grandfather, Wolfgang, had been his own grandfather's best friend back during the World War II era. When he sits down with him, he hears a compelling, multichapter memoir about two strong, cocky lads who fell under Hitler's spell, eagerly joined the Hitler Youth, and went on to lose their illusions in the bitter, desperate, hard-fought Russian campaign. Bass creates a convincing sense of the Third Reich's soaring national spirit and tells an absorbing war story to boot. She also weaves engaging banter and familiar coming-of-age themes around a cast of multifaceted characters in two different eras. Although Bass' versatility works against her here, readers capable of enjoying both the romantic and the military action may be drawn in. Article by John Peters.

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