- The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson
Trade ed. ISBN 9780358448907 $18.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9780358447764 $9.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R* Gr. 7-12
Eighteen-year-old Hilde is searching for a job and a place to stay after ageing out of her orphanage in 1932 Berlin. Refuge comes through an unusual avenue: a gay cabaret called Café Lila, where Hilde starts a waitressing job, and Rosa, one of its waitresses who allows Hilde to stay in her home. With the tension of pending election outcomes, Hilde juggles the pressures of keeping her new job (which also requires her to sing onstage), her blossoming romantic feelings for Rosa, and the fear of losing everything again. This poignant verse novel packs its punches, allowing readers to feel the emotional highs and lows of the girl's journey as she clings to a fraying thread of hope through impossibly hard times. Much like in Wilson's White Rose (BCCB 3/19), the historical setting is exquisitely done, weaving in references to popular culture of the period and providing well-researched insights into the relative freedoms queer people experienced during the Weimar Republic. Hilde is impressively relatable to a modern audience despite her differing life circumstances, and queer teens may glean comfort in her Café Lila found family—but everyone could stand to gain from Hilde's resilience against the odds in an uncertain world. An author's note covers liberties taken with the text as well as factual inspirations, and selected sources and a glossary are included.