My Friend the Enemy – Dan Smith

Summer, 1941. For Peter, the war is a long way away, being fought by a faceless enemy, marching across places he’s never seen. Until the night it comes to him. A German plane is shot down over the woods that his Dad looked after, before he went off to fight. Peter rushes to the crash site to find something exciting to keep. But what he finds instead is someone: a young and injured German airman. The enemy. Here. And in trouble. Suddenly, helping him seems like the right thing to do.


Other Books by the Author

My Brother’s Secret (May 2014)

Book Trailer

Extract from My Friend the Enemy

Author Website

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15 thoughts on “My Friend the Enemy – Dan Smith

  1. I really enjoyed this book. I believe it is similar to other World War 2 books in some ways but different in many others. Yes there is the usual boy finds German and they become friends, but they don’t usually have a character like Kim and I really enjoyed that.


  2. This book is brilliant! The plot is interesting and realistic and I loved it. The kids in the story are what most children would have been: not understanding that the enemy are just normal people with ordinary homes and families and rules they have to obey.
    I found the plot fun and easy to follow, tensing at the tense parts and feeling quite emotional at the sad parts. I admit that I felt tears pricking when the telegraph boy arrived at Peter’s home, probably because I’d developed such empathy with Peter by then.
    Erik is a great character too. You really sympathise with him as lies wounded and dependent on the children – the enemy. The relationships between these characters reflect the confusion between two countries at war, the one never quite getting the other’s side of the argument. This book really draws you in to the terrible dilemma the three main characters face and the resolution doesn’t disappoint.
    Dan Smith is a brilliant author, managing to educate you on the past while producing a memorable story and not sounding like a text book. I’m looking forward to more of his books.
    Felix Kaner, Y6

  3. I really enjoy reading books that are set in the past. This book highlights the difficulties and horrors of living in wartime. The ending was sad but rewarding at the same time and really made me think. This is a heart-touching book that has strong and credible characters and a simple but effective plot.
    I appreciated the way the author tried to reproduce the accents which her characters would have and thought it brought the setting to life. I loved the characters of Kim and Peter. Kim leads Peter in ways he just wouldn’t have gone on his own, which is both good and bad at the same time. It’s fun to see how their relationship progresses, despite the differences in background that made Peter an unsuitable friend for her – differences that the war will change forever – until the end of the book.
    I thought this was an eye-opening novel that both girls and boys can enjoy.
    Amy Walker, Y8

  4. I loved this book because it was full of the sort of adventure I could believe contrasted with real sadness that was also believable. I did find the parts where Kim and Peter keep visiting the German rather repetitive but the rest of the plot was very good. I could picture myself as Kim, doing all those things and thinking her thoughts and I really believed in her. Overall, I found this book compelling and I didn’t want to stop reading.
    Grace Coffey, Y6

  5. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this book as it was about war. However, it surprised me because it had a really exciting plot and I found myself enjoying it very much! I liked the way Peter nearly gets found out several times and is forced into making up excuses and lies which really bother him. I found some parts a bit repetitive and boring but I really liked the way the author showed that enemies could become friends.
    Stephanie Shek, Y6

  6. I love this book and would recommend it to people who are 12+. My favourite person was probably Erik. I felt sorry for him. I enjoyed the ending because all the questions in my mind were answered in an interesting way but I was sad that Peter’s dad died. I also liked Kim. It was easy to identify with her. I thought she was very brave and I was scared for her when she nearly died.
    Martha Hornett, Y6

  7. I thought this book would be rather dull but it is packed with tension and that makes it different. Before Kim comes along, Peter doesn’t seem to have many friends. I loved the way that Peter chose the enemy to be his other friend. I loved the way the war setting gave the story so much atmosphere.
    Josh Williams, Y6

  8. My Friend the Enemy was a very adventurous book but it was also very emotional. When I started reading this book I found it quite boring but as I read further and further it became more interesting. The author Dan Smith had included lots of description which allowed me to imagine the characters in my head. I was quite surprised when Peter and Kim decided to help Eric (the German airman) who was their enemy.

    Overall a fairly good read but I feel the author could have captured the reader’s attention earlier in the story.

    By Laiba

  9. My friend the enemy is a very touching and emotional story. I love the way that the author makes it seem so realistic:)

    Declan YR7
    Richard Coates C of E Middle School

  10. This is a favourite book of mine. I usually love wartime stories and this is no exception. Peter is very believable and has no special skills that might help him cope. I also like Erik and the way he begins slowly to trust the children after his initial fear is also very credible. I found myself really caring about all the central characters. I felt I was there, coping with rationing and bullies and trying to find food to smuggle out. I could empathise with all the children’s dilemmas and actually found myself thinking of ideas that might help! I appreciated the way that all the loose ends were tied up at the end in a way that wasn’t forced. We even find out what happens to Peter’s mother, which is great attention to detail.
    Kathleen Swinglehurst, Y8

  11. I liked the part of the story where the children sneak into the plane to collect souvenirs and discover a gory body instead! I liked Kim best because she was so feisty and confident and wasn’t afraid to use her knowledge to care for the injured airman.
    I probably wouldn’t have read this book if I hadn’t had to because I didn’t like the cover. I think the artist tried to appeal to boys with the images of war and girls with the face. I really don’t like that face! I’d rather picture a central character from the author’s descriptions.
    Atifa Mahin, Y8

  12. I enjoyed this book because it was both entertaining and sad. My favourite parts were when Peter found the gun and later on when he and Kim discovered the German airman, Erik. I liked the way this book was written because I prefer getting information from dialogue rather than from lots of description. I was sad when Kim just disappeared from Peter’s life at the end of the book and really happy when they met again as grown ups. I liked knowing that when Peter wrote a book about Erik, Erik got in touch with him. This finished the story really well.
    Alex Bartley, Y6

  13. I really enjoyed this book! It had a nice simple plot and a happy ending, unlike the other stories set in wartime that I’ve read. I didn’t think that I would like it but was really proved wrong. I would definitely recommend it. It’s got everything a satisfying read should have.
    Rosabel Rees, Y8

  14. I really enjoyed this book! I loved the build up to the point when Kim and Peter discovered the German airman, Erik. I thought all the characters were very individual and well imagined so they were easy to picture and recall as I was reading.
    I particularly liked the way the author tells you what happens to all the important characters at the end of the book in a natural way that fits in with the plot. It left a really nice feeling when Peter got a letter from Erik thanking him for all he did.
    All these things helped me like this book and made it another one I will want to read again.
    Eve Massey, Y6

  15. I really liked the different characters in this book. They all had different personalities which really shone through. For a boy to have the courage to keep hidden an enemy soldier is just amazing. Going into it without knowing what the soldier might do to him was astounding.
    It was interesting to see how Peter felt about stealing and lying to his mum and how this seemed to get easier the more he did it. This seemed very realistic. I also liked the fact that it was set in Northumberland so we could get a feel of what it was like to live here during wartime.
    Some people said there wasn’t much action in this book but a lot happened and the interest was in the detail and the relationships. I think quite a lot happened to develop Peter’s and Kim’s characters. I think this is the best book I’ve read so far and I hope to read more stories set in wartime by Dan Smith.
    Joel Tilmouth, Y7

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