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*Odette's Secrets* by Mary Macdonald - middle grades book review
Odette's Secrets
by Mary Macdonald
Ages 10-14 240 pages Bloomsbury USA February 2013 Hardcover    

In author Maryann Macdonald's novel Odette's Secrets, Odette Meyers experiences the Holocaust in a way different from many: hiding in plain sight. The truth of her life is masked behind the image of a French country peasant living the typical existence of any other: school, chores, Mass. But she isn't just any peasant girl. If found out, she could face a terrible fate at the hands of the Nazis.

With her mother facing scrutiny as a potential asset of the Resistance and her father imprisoned in a Nazi work camp, it is absolutely essential that the peasant girl persona Odette has been given not be seen through. However, a girl assuming a role of such intensely different lifestyles over such a length of time becomes a life-altering experience.

Odette's pre-Holocaust existence becomes a fabric of life-memories with her emotional, psychological, and physical foundations altered so severely for survival. The looming question her new self is presented with is simple: can she return to her old life, or must she embrace the new?

Odette's Secrets was inspired by the real-life experiences of Odette Meyers and her family and friends during the Nazi invasion and control of her country. History's lessons on the attempted permutations of territories, humanity, lives, and believe structures should never be forgotten. Maryann MacDonald eloquently focuses continued understanding of a terrible catastrophe by embracing another direction into which lives were thrown into by telling Odette's story and incorporating the many varied ways that the wartime situations played out on everyone affected.

This read is excellent as a precursor for many Holocaust books. A heavy subject indeed. Four stars.
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