Bad Love Strikes by Kevin Schewe
“All right, Bad Love Crew, we are headed to Kortenberg for a rendezvous with the destiny
of time travel.” Thus was the beginning of the mission of this talented, boisterous gang to
rescue victims of the Holocaust.
There is much that we must suspend disbelief for in Bad Love Strikes. There is of course time
travel. Yet more than that is the age of the main characters—teenagers. These teenagers develop
a plot to outwit the Nazis; to fly military planes; already have historical knowledge of WWII and the
Holocaust; have the skills to play roles far beyond most teenagers’ skills. Yet I found myself
rooting for them to succeed.
Author Kevin Schewe told me, “Believe it or not, teenagers can sometimes do more than
adults because their imaginations have not yet been tainted by rules and restrictions that are
imposed by society and adults. The characters make the plot plausible.” The characters mature and “come of age” as they accomplish their quest.
The characters are eccentric, wild and funny. They take huge risks and several are in the genius category. I t asked Kevin why his characters feel real. “Nine of the Bad Love gang members are based on real people from my childhood gang growing up in post WWII, St. Louis, Missouri. We were an eclectic group of kids all with different backgrounds and skills, but we found a way to all play together and go on many thrilling adventures together. There were no video games, computers or cell phones -- there was NO social media. You either got outside and played together or you had no life.”
This Y/A time travel and quest is a good read for all of us, from “12 to 100” as Kevin said, with tight suspense and good pacing. The author is a physician fascinated by WWII. He gathered detailed information about WWII aircraft and even had the opportunity to fly his uncle’s helicopter and plane. Much of the novel takes place in these planes, and the specifics Kevin provides create the sense of being in the planes.
A meaningful and serious aspect of this novel is the historical information woven in about the Holocaust and WII Europe. The vibrancy of the Holocaust victims’ personalities and their normalcy is a wonderful way to counter the dehumanization that occurred for them, moving beyond statistics to create the very human 13 Jewish and 1 Gypsy prisoners that are rescued. Having taught university courses on the Holocaust for a decade, I chose this novel because like the author, I joined many who desperately wished they could travel back in time and rescue even one soul from the murders and cruelty that occurred.
Kevin transforms the acquaintanceship of President Franklin Roosevelt and Dr. Albert Einstein into a close friendship and adds a parallel project to the Manhattan Project’s atomic bomb operation to include a time travel mission. The rescue mission is placed near the concentration camp Chelmo, a rural area of Poland, where Kevin thought his teenager characters could more realistically carry out their rescue.
The Bad Love Gang’s characters are too good to let them be contained in only one book. Look for the forthcoming second in the series, Bad Luck Tigers, which will be on the shelves in July. The third novel is already in the works. On my list to read and recommend to my favorite teenagers.
Like most teenagers, the Bad Love gang are always hungry! They would appreciate Bread Pudding, a recipe that worked well with WWII rationing and shortages and remains a favorite today.