In Paris a little girl named Marie Laure becomes blind, and her father creates a miniature city for her, a replica of their neighborhood, so that she can learn to navigate their neighborhood even without sight. In this way her father keeps her safe so he can continue to go to work at the Museum of Natural History, but when the Nazis occupy Paris, Marie Laure’s father decides someone blind might not be safe and he takes her to the sea to live with her great-uncle. Her father is building her a new miniature that represents the town by the sea when he is captured and taken away.
In Germany Werner is growing up in an orphanage. Life is not easy, but he and his sister manage and at least they have one another. Werner soon discovers that he enjoys taking things apart; one of the first things he dissembled and rebuilt was a radio. As it turns out, Werner has a special talent for radios and is soon fixing things at the orphanage, in fact, he is so good that the Hitler Youth hear about him. Werner is not really old enough to join, but they want him so much that they add a couple of years to his age so that they can recruit him. Werner is happy to be appreciated, but finds himself working among some of the most despicable people in the Nazi army, luckily he keeps his sister in his heart writing her as often as he can; this may be what keeps him human in the midst of the terrible violence of World War II.
This novel is told by these two narrators whose stories alternate and eventually collide in a nail biting conclusion.
If you enjoy historical fiction about World War 2, you might also like: Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein, Invasion, by Walter Dean Myers, or Hero on a Bicycle, by Shirley Hughes.