From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—A story based on a real Russian teen, Tania Chernova, who served as a sniper between the years 1942 and 1943, defending Stalingrad from the invading Germans. Riordan's attention to detail in both the military and civilian arenas creates a seamless narrative that almost reads like a diary. Elements such as the differences between the sounds of a Russian aircraft and an enemy aircraft, the palpable anxiety felt by Russians when speaking ill of the government, and the survival techniques used by civilians and soldiers alike strengthen readers' connection with Tania Belova and her environment. Riordan's development of her character, from a girl uncertain about her duties as a sniper to one who, after seeing the death of her comrades and a loved one, has the courage to defend her people at all costs; his realistic portrayal of war; and his well-integrated historical facts make this work remarkable. The book concludes with a note about the real Tania and others from her story. Readers who choose to delve into the sniper's world will not be disappointed.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY
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Riordan writes with pace and verve, having set the mood with a highly atmospheric opening chapter. He keeps the reader turning pages and I for one could not put the book down. There are wonderfully vivid and tautly written descriptive passages here and Riordan does not shirk from presenting the cruelty and hardship endured by the Russian people and their enemies. -- IBBY
Every moment of the chilling account...should change the perspective of many readers - both girls and boys - whether they study this period at school or not. This is an important story from the Second World War and one for a mature reader. --Carousel