Louisa June and the Nazis in the Waves
In this moving and timeless story, award-winning author L. M. Elliott captures life on the U.S. homefront during World War II, weaving a rich portrait of a family reeling from loss and the chilling yet hopeful voyage of fighting for what matters, perfect for fans of The War That Saved My Life.
Days after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Hitler declared war on the U.S., unleashing U-boat submarines to attack American ships. Suddenly the waves outside Louisa June’s farm aren’t for eel fishing or marveling at wild swans or learning to skull her family’s boat—they’re dangerous, swarming with hidden enemies.
Her oldest brothers’ ships risk coming face-to-face with U-boats. Her sister leaves home to weld Liberty Boat hulls. And then her daddy, a tugboat captain, and her dearest brother, Butler, are caught in the crossfire.
Her mama has always swum in a sea of melancholy, but now she really needs Louisa June to find moments of beauty or inspiration to buoy her. Like sunshine-yellow daffodils, good books, or news accounts of daring rescues of torpedoed passengers.
Determined to help her mama and aching to combat Nazis herself, Louisa June turns to her quirky friend Emmett and the indomitable Cousin Belle, who has her own war stories—and a herd of cats—to share. In the end, after a perilous sail, Louisa June learns the greatest lifeline is love.
* A Children's Book Council Notable Social Studies Trade Book * CDE Recommended Reading 6th-8th Grades * 2023 Capitol Choices * VLA Cardinal Cup for Historical Fiction * Bank Street College Best Book
Praise for Louisa June and the Nazis in the Waves
"Evocatively threaded with the scents and sounds of Tidewater Virginia coastal communities, this story presents a fascinating, lesser-known aspect of the war told from a young girl’s perspective. Successfully tackling the devastation of depression on family relationships, the bitter cost of war, and the uplifting strength of no-nonsense friendship, this story has impressive depth. Superb." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Middle grade lovers of World War II historical fiction will find this title engrossing. Elliot’s story delivers facts and a thoughtful approach to characters experiencing grief and depression, while adding some maritime adventure. VERDICT A must-have for all middle grade historical fiction collections. Recommend to those who enjoyed Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s The War That Saved My Life and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s Making Bombs for Hitler."
— School Library Journal (starred review)
"Elliott weaves a deeply moving historical tale, including small but significant details that flesh out the situations and characters, even the secondary ones. The extensive and fact-filled backstory in the author's note gives readers even more context. An excellent middle-grade read that balances adventure, emotions, and family."
— Booklist (starred review)
"An infrequently explored aspect of WWII history—German submarines torpedoing U.S. cargo ships along America’s East Coast—underpins Elliott’s (Walls) well-crafted novel. Evocative descriptions of the region’s natural life ground this realistic depiction of one family’s efforts to withstand depression and personal tragedy during wartime." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Poignant. Elliott is a descriptive writer and beautifully evokes the coastal Tidewater backdrop [and] offers a sensitive portrayal of a family grappling with depression." — Buffalo News
"From the very first page of Louisa June and the Nazis in the Waves, you’ll know you’re in the hands of a skilled storyteller. Vividly and lyrically told, L.M. Elliott captures the drama and heartbreak of the U-boat attacks on the Eastern U.S. coast during WWII." — Elisa Carbone, author of Blood on the River: James Town 1607
"A stunning story about a little-known chapter of our history. Elliott’s impeccable research of the history, setting, and more bring this story to life. The writing is superb, the characters are rich and complex, and the story is very, very compelling. This book is not to be missed." — Seattle Book Review