Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 6 - 8Grades 3 - 5n/a5.053700
Shadow on the Mountain recounts the adventures of a 14-year-old Norwegian boy named Espen during World War II. After Nazi Germany invades and occupies Norway, Espen and his friends are swept up in the Norwegian resistance movement. Espen gets his start by delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. During five years under the Nazi regime, he gains—and loses—friends, falls in love, and makes one small mistake that threatens to catch up with him as he sets out to escape on skis over the mountains to Sweden.
Preus incorporates archival photographs, maps, and other images to tell this story based on the real-life adventures of Norwegian Erling Storrusten, whom Preus interviewed in Norway.

Praise for Shadow on the Mountain
STARRED REVIEWS
"Newbery Honor winner Preus infuses the story with the good-natured humor of a largely unified, peace-loving people trying to keep their sanity in a world gone awry. Based on a true story, the narrative is woven with lively enough daily historical detail to inspire older middle-grade readers to want to learn more about the Resistance movement and imitate Espen’s adventures."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This engrossing offering sheds light on the Norwegians’ courage during World War II. Preus masterfully weds a story of friendship with the complications faced by 14-year-old Espen and his friends as Nazi restrictions and atrocities become part of their everyday lives...This is at once a spy thriller, a coming-of-age story, and a chronicle of escalating bravery. Multidimensional characters fill this gripping tale that keeps readers riveted to the end."
—School Library Journal, starred review

"A closely researched historical novel... relates this wartime tale with intelligence and humor...Ms. Preus deftly uses together historical fact (Espen is based on a real-life spy) and elements of Norwegian culture to conjure a time and place not so terribly long ago."
—The Wall Street Journal

"Margi Preus, who won a Newbery honor for Heart of a Samurai, returns with another riveting work of historical fiction... This fine novel, which includes an author’s note, a timeline, a bibliography and even a recipe for invisible ink, is based on extensive research... The result is an authentic coming-of-age story, perfect for readers fascinated by the diary of Anne Frank or Lois Lowry’s classic, Number the Stars."
—BookPage

"The final chapters, which chronicle Espen’s dramatic escape to Sweden—days and nights of mountain skiing, Nazis in hot pursuit—take the book into adventure-thriller territory without losing the humanity that characterizes Preus’s account."
—The Horn Book Magazine

"Preus makes crystal clear the life imperiling risks that Espen undertakes and the danger to his family."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"As readers understand the risks that Espen took, they will want to learn more about this period. That Espen escaped to Sweden by traveling at night on skis with five different guides should intrigue them.”
—Library Media Connection

Awards
VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2012 list
2013 Notable Books for a Global Society
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award
Paperback, 320 pages
Published on March 18, 2014 by Harry N. Abrams
ISBN-10: 1419711598
ISBN-13: 9781419711596
5 Book Reviews
  • gpg_rjt
    gpg_rjtMonday, November 2, 2015 at 6:40 am
    I read the book Shadow On The Mountain. The book is about a boy named Espen and his home country of Norway is taken over by nazis. Espen starts by delivering illegal newspapers. Later in the book he becomes a spy. I liked this book because it had a lot of action. Another reason I liked the book was because in the chapters it changed perspectives. Another reason I liked this book was because it talked about skiing and I love to ski. I think audiences that like good realistic fiction would like this book. I also think people who like action would like this book. People who like a good, descriptive book would like this book. A internal conflict in the book is when Espen debates giving all his market badges to the nazis. A external conflict is when the Nazis keep confiscating a lot of Espens things. The title is Shadow on the Mountain. This is a good title because from on the bottom of a Mountain if you look up skiers look like shadows on mountains. If I could change the title i would change it too The Skier, spy, kid all in one. Over the course of the book many themes came out. One theme was courage because Espen needed courage to become a spy. Another theme is survival because Espen needs to survive the Nazi invasion. The last theme is choices because Espen needs to decide if he wants to live by the rules or risk death penalty by being a spy.
    • jhoffeller
      jhoffellerTuesday, September 29, 2015 at 6:04 pm55 stars
      I read the book Shadow on the Mountain, by Margi Preus. It is about a boy named Espen who lives in Norway during World War II. When they get invaded by Nazi's, Espen starts to deliver illegal newspapers and eventually becomes a spy and spies on a Nazi camp. He then gets noticed and tries to escape. I think that this is an excellent book because you learn about how life was like back then. Also, it has a lot a action and is fun to read. This book is realistic fiction because it is based on a true event in history, but not everything actually happened, meaning it could happen or in this case could have. The type of audience that would like this book are people that enjoy learning about World War II and action because that is what this book has a lot of. An internal conflict is that Espen is afraid of the Nazi's because they could take him away. An external conflict is Man Vs. society because Espen has to deal with the Nazi's invading his hometown.
      • will325
        will325Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 6:52 amFeatured
        The book I read was Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus. The book is about the adventures of a true wartime spy. The main character is a boy named Espen who lived in Norway at the time of Nazi Germany. He hated the Nazis and decided to join the resistance. The resistance is a group of people who worked against Germany. He delivers illegal newspapers, radios, ration stamps, and many other illegal things. Things get even more dangerous throughout the book as the Nazis get stricter. I loved this book, it is a action packed and fun read. I could not put the book down because of the suspense and intense moments. It is written very well and is perfect for my age readers. There was very good detail and dialogue all throughout the book. Sadly this book is realistic fiction. All of this book could happen during this time in history. I'm sure there is many people who had to go through this during that time. Almost anyone can read this book, kid or adult it doesn't matter. But I would recommend this book to people who love intense and action packed books because that is what this book is all about. An internal conflict happens when Espen had to leave his family and friends for Sweden. He had to do this because he had so much information about the Nazis he couldn't stay in the area anymore. He was very sad when he had to leave them. An external conflict happened all throughout the book. It was always cold and snowy in Norway which made transportation very hard. Which that was what Espen always did. He delivered illegal newspapers and radio, etc. Overall this book was amazing and I'm very excited for my next Rebecca Caudill book!
        • mesz4747
          mesz4747Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 6:02 am
          The author of my book, Shadow on the Mountain, is Margi Preus. The book is about how a Norwegian spy was gaining information on the Nazis to take them down. My opinion about the book is that it is a fantastic book if you like historical ish books and books that are about war. The genre is realistic fiction because it's about an actual person's life and how they did as a spy. The people that would like this book are, as I said before, people who like historical books about someone's life. An internal conflict is when Espen, the main character, has to run away to Sweden. At first he says no but after being told what could happen if he stays, he decides to go. An external conflict is when Espen has to run away from one of his best friends, because he was on the Nazis side.
          • ctorres
            ctorresThursday, November 13, 2014 at 5:25 pm55 stars
            This book is about a wartime spy who sneaks out at night to spy on the Nazi army he has a friend called Kjell they would always go up the mountain to spy on the Nazi army's camp right now it a really good book recomend you guys to read it.