Fire in the Hills

Written by Donna Jo Napoli
Review by Nancy Castaldo


Donna Jo Napoli has done it again. With each book, she proves why she is one of today’s best writers for young adults. Fire in the Hills does not disappoint. In this sequel to Stones in Water, readers find Roberto still on his journey home to Venice during World War II.

Napoli does a wonderful job weaving in the details of her previous book to enlighten new readers, while her loyal following will welcome the reminders. Roberto’s tale begins when the Nazis take the 12-year-old from his town in Italy and force him into a labor camp in Eastern Europe. In this sequel he is now a teen making his way through the Italian countryside of Sicily and north to Venice. Roberto struggles to do what is right as he joins the resistance partigiani movement and takes on the name of Lupo. Together with a young women, Volpe Rossa – Red Fox – he smuggles guns and information on his trip home through German-occupied Italy.

This little-documented tale of Italian resistance and German invasion is utterly suspenseful. Adults who have enjoyed Corelli’s Mandolin will also enjoy Fire in the Hills. It’s also a great accompaniment to a World War II curriculum. Ages 12 and up.