"Josef Jaeger turns thirteen when Adolf Hitler is appointed Germany's new Chancellor. When his mother dies, Josef is sent to Munich to live with his uncle, Ernst Roehm, the openly-homosexual chief of the Nazi brown shirts. Josef thinks he's found a father-figure in his uncle and a mentor in his uncle's lover, streetwise Rudy, and when Roehm's political connections land Josef a role in a propaganda movie, Josef's sure he's found the life he's always wanted. But while living in Berlin during the film's production, Josef falls in love with a Jewish boy, David, and Josef begins questioning his uncle's beliefs.
"Complications arise when an old friend of his mother's tells Josef that his mother was secretly murdered by the SS due to her political beliefs, possibly on Roehm's order. Josef confides in his Hitler Youth leader, Max Klieg. Klieg admits he knows a few things, but he won't share them with Josef till the boy proves himself worthy of a confidence.
"Conflicting beliefs war within Josef until he must decide where his true loyalties lie, and what he really believes in."
Since its publication in 2006, "Josef Jaeger" has enjoyed critical acclaim. The book placed first in the Young Adult category in the 2010 Rainbow Excellence Awards competition sponsored by the Rainbow Romance Writers association.
The American Library Association's Rainbow Project strives to ensure that books appealing to GLBTQ youths are present on shelves of school and public libraries throughout the United States. Each year a "recommended reading" list is compiled of books deemed appropriate for GLBTQ, YA readers, and Josef Jaeger has been nominated for inclusion in the 2011 list.
"Josef Jaeger" was also include don a recommended reading list for gay male teens by "The Trevor Project." This is a program aimed at decreasing the number of suicides among LGBTQ youth.
The Speak Its Name review site recently issued a highly favorable review of Josef Jaeger: http://speakitsname.com/2010/
"Josef Jaeger is a real treat, one of the more intelligently-written YA books I've had the pleasure to read. It's thought-provoking, wonderfully dense, and well-researched, touching on one of the darkest moments in world history. Kudos to Jere' Fishback for giving us a behind-the-scenes look into the rise of Hitler without sentimentalizing things or toppling into melodrama through his use of clean, concise language and Josef's matter-of-fact voice."
J. M. Snyder, an author of GLBT fiction for both adult and YA readers, reviewed Josef Jaeger for the Rainbow Reviews website. Here's what she had to say:
"The accuracy of detail brings 1933 Germany alive for the reader, and the motley crew of characters adds human faces to the names we've read about in our history books. Those interested in historical fiction, particularly young adult stories or romances, will thoroughly enjoy this book as much as I did."
Snyder gave Josef Jaeger a 4-1/2 star rating on a scale of one to five stars, five stars being the highest possible rating.
You can read more about "Jopsef Jaeger" at my website: www.jeremfishback.com.
I often hear from young gay men who've read "Josef Jaeger". It's gratifying to know how much the book means to so many young adults. One boy told me, "So many feelings Josef expressed in your book are feelings I've had since reaching adolescence. After I read your book, I felt like Josef was my personal friend. Thanks for this wonderful book."
Wow, what can I say?