School Library Journal Review - Run Like Jager

Reviewed by: Caroline Tesauro

Kurt, a Canadian teen, is spending his senior year as an exchange student in Germany. His grandfather, Jäger, emigrated from Germany during the aftermath of World War II and refuses to talk about that part of his life. Kurt hopes to find out about his past, yet is afraid of what he might learn. The first 100 pages of the novel move slowly, and the metaphor of Kurt, a runner, running from his problems is tedious. The pace quickens when he meets Herr Brandt, the grandfather of his love interest and childhood friend of his grandfather. Herr Brandt's stories about himself and Jäger as members of Hitler Youth, as soldiers on the Eastern Front and the brutal fighting with the Russians, and remembrances of Germany in the fever of nationalistic pride preceding the war are well done and intense. Brandt, in his recollections, is a Casanova, and while the descriptions are tame, he does have several sexual encounters. Bass creates believably complex and sympathetic characters in Brandt and Jäger that, while in no way diminishing the horror of the Holocaust, makes it understandable how two naive young men could get caught up in Hitler's lies and dreams. The ending is too neat, but the book will have some appeal to fans of war novels. 

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