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A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
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A Night Divided (2015)

by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 10 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
I rate 'A Night Divided' by Jennifer E. Nielsen four out of five stars. I did not give this book the full five stars because the actual writing of the book wasn't the best. It was hard getting into the book at first. Otherwise than that, I really enjoyed reading the narrated view of a twelve-year-old girl during the division of the Berlin Wall. I loved the suspense of the book. The last couple of chapters of 'A Night Divided' kept me at the edge of my seat. I liked how many of the situations resulted in a very unpredictable way. Overall, I would recommend this book to more mature readers. ( )
  KateB.G1 | Mar 28, 2019 |
A Night Divided is a captivating novel about a young girl named Gerta(12) and her brother Fritz(17) trying to escape East Germany to be with their dad and brother on the other side of the Berlin Wall. Gerta and Fritz do not let anyone know of their plan, not even their own mother. They cannot trust friends, neighbors, nor family in fear the Stasi will punish them. Every chapter leaves the reader with a cliff hanger, wanting to read more. ( )
  stephaniepulver | Jan 20, 2019 |
This book introduces the young reader to life in Germany during the early years of the Berlin Wall. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
Great middle grades/YA novel about Gerta's & her family's travails after east Germany becomes part of the Soviet bloc; in the first chapter Nielsen starts with a dramatic sentence: "There was no warning the night the wall went up." The Berlin Wall is built, almost overnight, and the disaster for Gerta's family: her father and older brother were traveling on the west side of Berlin, while her mother, brother Fritz and herself remained on the other. While long (over 300 pages) each chapter is episodic, and Gerta's struggles to make sense of her father's politics, the east German regime, her mother's fears are realistic for a 12 yr old girl, as well as her friendship with Anna, a fellow schoolmate whose brother is shot while trying to escape to the West hidden in a vehicle. Plot takes off when Gerta finds an abandoned air shelter snug against the Wall, and realizes she can dig a tunnel - if she can convince her brother Fritz to help her. The tension builds as Gerta and Fritz overcome all sorts of difficulties, persevering until the tunnel meets another tunnel -being dug from the other side!
Few YA novels focus on this particular timeperiod in Cold War history; definitely a good choice for history teachers to share w/students or teen fans of historical fiction. ( )
  BDartnall | Aug 6, 2018 |
This book is about the post World War 2 fate of Germany. Most people refer to this time period as the Cold War because there wasn't actually fighting going on, but there was a lot of tension between the Soviet Union and the allies, mostly the United States. I gave this book 5 stars because there is conflict galore, death lurks around every corner, and there is no other book like it on this topic for kids.

The year is 1961 and Gerta's family are East Germans living in east Berlin. Although there is a barbed wire fence around Berlin, most people are able to move freely between the east and west sides of the city. West Berlin is controlled by the western countries of the United States, Britain, and France. East Berlin is controlled by the Soviet Union. This free movement is becoming increasingly difficult for east Berliners, but her father and older brother decide to go to West Berlin anyway. While they are gone the gates shut overnight and Gerta's family is separated. Gerta, her mother, and her brother, Fritz, are stuck in East Berlin. The wall becomes reinforced with concrete, a second wall is erected on the East Berlin side and the area between the two walls is known as the Death Strip with watchtowers, guards and attack dogs.

Eventually, Gerta sees her brother and father from a distance near the wall. Her father seems to be sending her a signal to dig. When she receives another clue in the form of a picture of a building, Gerta figures it out. She is to find the building, go to the basement and dig a tunnel. When she finds the building it happens to be one of the historically famous apartments that forms a part of the wall. She and her brother Fritz begin digging a tunnel under the Death Strip. They must be careful and not look suspicious, because if they are caught, the consequences will be dire.

This book fascinated me, because this wall was in place during my entire childhood in the 70s and 80s and yet I hardly knew about it. Even when the wall came down when I was in college I didn't really get the significance. It amazes me in hindsight that such uncivilized behavior occurred in relatively recent history in what is now considered to be a civilized western country. It shows the utter failure of communism. Before the gates closed, too many East Berliners were choosing the life of the west. The Soviet Union saw the defection and threat to communism's survival, so they had to force the people into staying. It's just an amazing piece of history. I highly recommend this book for kids who are history buffs or even adults who want a quick, easy read.

( )
  valorrmac | May 15, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
[starred review of audio edition] Gr 5-8 – This work follows the brave journey of 12-year-old Gerta and her older brother, Fritz, as they try to leave East Berlin. ... Kate Simses’s reading is fast-paced, emotionally charged, and exciting. Her voice is clear and age-appropriate for the characters depicted. VERDICT This excellent work of historical fiction is suspenseful, realistic, and enthralling.
 
... (ages 8-12) Gerta’s family is divided into East and West after the Berlin Wall goes up practically overnight.... Gerta, her mother and her brother Fritz remain on the east side in their home, while her father and middle brother are trapped on the west side.... This take on life in Germany after World War II is interesting and timely given the immigration crises in the United States and parts of Europe today. ... "A Night Divided" is interesting in spite of some confusing decisions by Gerta and her mother, as well as some pacing issues. ... The ending in particular had some moments that didn’t feel natural or felt a bit contrived to increase tension. ...
 
Four years after the Berlin Wall went up, in 1961, 12-year-old Gerta Lowe is eager for freedom and to reunite her family. ... One day, she sees her father on a platform overlooking the wall, and she realizes he’s trying to send her a message: dig a tunnel! With the help of Fritz, the two siblings plan carefully, overcome dangerous obstacles, and then face the toughest task of all: convincing their mother to escape with them. ...the story’s palpable tension and stark details of daily life in Communist East Germany will hold readers’ interest. ... Though historical novels may not appeal to every reader, this is equally a story of pressure and friendship, suspicion and strength, forgiveness and understanding.
added by CourtyardSchool | editBooklist, Vol. 111, Issue 22, Page 68, Jeanne Fredriksen (Aug 1, 2015)
 
Gr 5-8 – It’s August 13, 1961. Young Gerta wakes up to see that the Berlin Wall has been built overnight, dividing not only her city but her family. ... Nielsen, best known for her fantasy novels, proves she is equally skilled at historical fiction.... VERDICT The novel’s strong setting and tense climax will keep readers engrossed and holding their breath until the last page.
added by CourtyardSchool | editSchool Library Journal, Vol. 61, Issue 7, Pages 80-81, Marybeth Kozikowski (Jul 1, 2015)
 
A family is separated overnight when East Berlin erects the Berlin Wall. ... Based on historical fact, the story shines a personal light on the many families who were separated by the division of the two cities. ... As Greta, her other older brother, Fritz, and eventually their mother dig the tunnel, enduring hunger, exhaustion, and risking detection, readers will root for them with every shovelful. However, when the diggers realize the noise they hear is their father digging from the other side and that their tunnels are now only feet apart, instead of pushing through and running to freedom, they decide that they should stop and reinforce the tunnels. This decision seems ludicrous. Further implausible decisions ramp up the tension, but they also ramp up readers’ frustration levels.... Begins wonderfully; ends melodramatically. (Historical fiction. 9-12)
added by CourtyardSchool | editKirkus Reviews (Jun 6, 2015)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jennifer A. Nielsenprimary authorall editionscalculated
O'Brien, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Truly, it is in darkness that one finds the light. -Meister Eckhart, German philosopher
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There was no warning the night the wall went up.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545682428, Hardcover)

From NYT bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen comes a stunning thriller about a girl who must escape to freedom after the Berlin Wall divides her family between east and west.

With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family suddenly divided. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can't help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.

But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:07 -0400)

When the Berlin Wall went up, Gerta, her mother, and her brother Fritz are trapped on the eastern side where they were living, while her father, and her other brother Dominic are in the West--four years later, now twelve, Gerta sees her father on a viewing platform on the western side and realizes he wants her to risk her life trying to tunnel to freedom.… (more)

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