Publication Date: September 2013
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction/Young Adult
Munich, 1938, Nazi Germany. War is on the horizon. A timid Hitler Youth member contracts polio. Photographs she takes of fellow polio patients are turned into propaganda, mocking people with disabilities. She is now an outsider, a target of Nazi scorn and possible persecution. Her only weapon is her camera.
This well-researched historical fiction novel unveils a seldom-seen side of the Nazi agenda. A sequel is in the works.
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Fourteen year old Sophie Adler lives in Germany in 1938; she is part of the Hitler Youth. The Hitler Youth train young people on Hitler’s ideals and prepare them to defend their country. Sophie contributes to the Hitler Youth as a photographer. Sophie doesn’t fully agree with all of Hitler’s ideals, and is confused when her Jewish friend and neighbor is sent away. Sophie’s father, who taught her how to take photographs, also does not agree with everything in Nazi Germany; he tells her to take pictures of the whole truth when she is photographing for the Hitler Youth. When Sophie contracts polio, she worries that her disability might cause her to be considered worthless by the regime, luckily her value as a photographer is still useful. She is ordered to take photographs of fellow patients with polio, which are then turned into propaganda. After that, she decides to take her father’s advice and take photos of the whole truth.
Risking Exposure shows a different side of Nazi Germany from a teenaged girl’s point of view. The fact that disabled people were also targeted is often forgotten, Sophie’s story helps to bring this aspect of the time period to light and is historically accurate. Sophie’s character is wonderful; she feels like a real person and has many difficult decisions to make. Sophie finds courage in the hardest of times in order to carry out what is right, even though it would be easier just to do what everybody else in doing and not have to worry about getting in trouble. Through her actions, Sophie is able to show people that everyone has worth and is able to make an impact. The ending is quite abrupt, but very exciting and I believe a sequel is in the works. Overall, Sophie’s story is a good lesson in doing what is right along with a unique look into this time in history from a German girl’s prospective.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.