Spotlight on YALSA’s Nonfiction Award Finalists: Fiction Readalikes for The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb

The Nazi HuntersIn 2014 Nonfiction Award Finalist The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi, author Neal Bascomb recounts the heart-pounding search for a man who was responsible for the deaths of thousands during the Holocaust, and explores the aftermath of that horrific time. If you’re riveted by this compelling true life narrative, try the following novels that also deal with the Holocaust and its aftermath.

(The following book summaries are from the publishers’ jacket copy.)


  • TamarTamar by Mal Peet

When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War — and unraveling it is about to transform Tamar’s life forever.

  • roseunderfire-weinRose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbruck, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her? (Companion novel to 2013 Printz Honor book Code Name Verity)

Set in contemporary Israel, this powerful novel is narrated in real time by many voices: Sixteen-year-old Thomas, from Berlin, seeking answers to questions about his grandfather, a Nazi officer in World War II. Vera from Odessa, reclaiming her Jewish heritage. Baruch Ben Tov, a Holocaust survivor. Sameh Laham, illegally employed at a diner. His boss. Sameh’s friend Omar. A Palestinian doctor in an Israeli hospital. A mother. A soldier.
A newscaster . . .
Minute by minute, hour by hour, these lives and many others unfold—and then intersect in one violent moment on a highway outside Jerusalem. Each is drastically and irrevocably changed. What do secrets, hopes, dreams, and future plans mean after such a catastrophe? Can what was destroyed be made whole again?
  • mother_nightMother Night by Kurt Vonnegut

Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he really guilty? In this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, Vonnegut turns black and white into a chilling shade of gray with a verdict that will haunt us all.

  • gentlehandsGentlehands by M.E. Kerr (Best Books for Young Adults 1978)
Buddy and Skye are from opposite sides of the tracks, but that doesn’t stand in the way of their love. To impress Skye, Buddy takes her to visit his cultured grandfather. But when a reporter comes searching for a vicious SS officer known as “Gentlehands,” Buddy realizes that his grandfather’s sophisticated bearing may hide a sinister past.
-2014 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults committee in collaboration with Hub blogger Diane Colson