My posts may contain affiliate links, if you buy something through these links it doesn't cost you anything, but I may make a small commission which helps to keep this site up and running. Your virtual dog could be the next champion!

26 November 2018

Book Review: Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Remember how a long time ago I got to do a Q&A with Matt Killeen? Well I've been working on the review of Orphan Monster Spy since then, because it's that kind of book that gives you lots of Thoughts and Feels, and it's taken me this long to get them into order. Ish. It's also been shortlisted for Costa Children’s Book Award so I guess this is pretty timely.

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen coverAdd to Goodreads button
A Jewish girl-turned-spy must infiltrate an elite Nazi boarding school in this highly commercial, relentlessly nail-biting World War II drama!

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah--blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish--finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead.

Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can't attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe.

With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she's ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined. 

Amazon UK | Amazon US

Source: Review Copy

5 Words: War, power, monster, school, violence.

Content warnings: graphic violence, child abuse, antisemitism.

Sarah is FIERCE.

This book is incredibly fast paced. It starts off at a run and doesn't let up. It's brutal and violent and at times almost a bit much, but it is so realistic and engaging a portrayal that I could not put it down. The story is addictive and this book packs a punch.

The narrative isn't linear, it jumps around a little between different times in Sarah's life, and I loved how this slowly disclosed her past. It showed why she was so resourceful and skilled already, and sometimes it made my heart ache.

I really like the changing relationship between Sarah and The Captain. It is a testament to the story telling how much they grew between the pages. I honestly think that if The Captain had had to send Sarah in a later time in the story he wouldn't have, because it was almost like a father/daughter relationship. I did find it surprising at first, but it was an excellent way to ground the story and show the stakes.

I loved how this story explores the concept of monsters, what it means to be one, how you can go about creating one, and what defines a monster. The school is like a nightmare.

The story is gripping, full of twists and turns and brutality. It doesn't shy away from the ugliness. It is obviously thoroughly researched, with complex characters and a killer storyline.


  1. This sounds amazing I cant believe this went under my radar added to the to buy list

  2. This book sounds so intriguing, defo something I’d love to read! Will have to put it on my TBR list!

    Jessica & James |

  3. I love the 5 words that you put in your review for the review! Brilliant!

  4. This sounds like such a thrilling read, I like fast paced books!

  5. I love the sound of this! The cover is very Gatsby-esque!


  6. I normally the Costa Book award nominated books to be really good so I was surprised when I saw this one on the list as I haven't heard of it before. Your review has totally sold it to me though, badass female spy? Yes please

  7. This sounds really interesting, I'm a big fan of war themed books/films/tv programs, sounds like a book that might get a tad emotional too! Great review, thank you for sharing :)

    Chloe xx

  8. This sounds amazing! She sounds like such an interesting and complex character. You've sold this book brilliantly here x


  9. I love fast paced books- you know its a good one when you have to keep reading to find out what happens! I don't really liked the title so I'm glad I've read this review because I don't think it's something that would have captured my attention before.

    Soph - x

  10. Oh I am super intrigued now! I'd only heard the title but never read a review about what it was about or if it was good and ajfdklsa now I definitely want to try it!

  11. Ooh! This sounds awesome!! Great review!

  12. Never heard of this book before but I really like the cover!😊

    Shirley |

  13. This is a great review Cora. Sarah is just the most awesomely fierce character. I loved her.


Please leave a link to your own blog when you comment, I'd love to visit yours!

Thank you so much for your comment!