Enemies in the Orchard: A World War 2 Novel in Verse by VanderLugt, Dana

Enemies in the Orchard: A World War 2 Novel in Verse

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Set against the backdrop of WWII, this achingly beautiful middle grade novel in verse based on American history presents the dual perspectives of Claire, a Midwestern girl who longs to enter high school and become a nurse even as she worries for her soldier brother, and Karl, a German POW who's processing the war as he works on Claire's family farm. This poignant and moving story of an unlikely connection will stay with readers long after the final page.

It's October 1944, and while Claire's older brother, Danny, is off fighting in World War II, her dad hires a group of German POWs to help with the apple harvest on their farm. Claire wants nothing to do with the enemies in the orchard, until she meets soft-spoken, hardworking Karl. Could she possibly have something in common with a German soldier?

Karl, meanwhile, grapples with his role in the war as he realizes how many lies Hitler's regime has spread--and his complacency in not standing up against them. But his encounters with Claire give him hope that he can change and become the person he wants to be.

Inspired by the little-known history of POW labor camps in the United States, this lyrical verse novel is told in alternating first-person poems by two young people on opposite sides of the war. Against a vivid backdrop of home front tensions and daily life, intimate entries reveal Claire's and Karl's hopes and struggles, and their growing friendship even as the war rages on. What are their chances of connection, of redemption, of peace?

Enemies in the Orchard is:

  • A gorgeously written novel in verse for ages 9 and up
  • Historical fiction based on true events during WWII
  • A heartfelt story that explores connection, trauma, and hope

Author: Dana VanderLugt
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Published: 09/12/2023
Pages: 288
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 0.75lbs
Size: 8.43h x 5.51w x 1.10d
ISBN: 9780310155775
Audience: Ages 9-12

Review Citation(s):
Publishers Weekly 07/10/2023
Kirkus Reviews 08/15/2023
School Library Journal 09/08/2023 pg. 1