Title – A Night Divided
Author – Jennifer A. Nielson
Publication Date – August 25th 2015 by Scholastic
ISBN – 9780545682428
My Rating – ★★★★★/5
With the sudden rise of the Berlin Wall overnight, Gerta wakes to find her family divided. Gerta is with her mother and eldest brother Fritz on the east being controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother Dominic had gone west to look for work and are now unable to return home. Gerta knows how dangerous it is to watch the Wall and to think what it would be like to be free but she can’t find it in her to stop. She can see the East German soldiers, with their guns turned on their own citizens, watching for signs of escape. Gerta, her family, friends and neighbours are now prisoners in their own city.
One day while walking to school Gerta sees her father on the western side of the wall, acting out a song from her childhood. From this, she figures out that he wants her to tunnel under the Wall to freedom. But if she’s caught the consequences will be deadly and no one can be trusted with this secret. Will Gerta and her family find a way to freedom?
I received a copy of A Night Divided from Scholastic New Zealand to review. I’ve never read anything about the Berlin Wall before so I was interested to see what this would be like.
My high school didn’t teach history, although I did leave early, so I’ve had to learn about WW2 in my own time. Apparently they were bringing in world history after I left. I’m kind of embarrassed about my lack of knowledge on the Berlin Wall. This book is told through Gerta’s perspective. She’s twelve but even though she’s so young there’s a lot about why the Wall went up, who did it and what it meant for the citizens of Berlin.
I couldn’t believe that Russia thought it was okay to treat people that way. But then look at what their current leader has said and done with gay people. They should be free to be who they are and instead are being beaten up for holding hands in public. There are families in New Zealand that can’t adopt children in orphanages over in Russia, that need adopting, because we have legalized gay marriage. I can honestly say this is one country I’ll never visit.
Gerta and her family were brave for what they did. They knew the risks but I think the risks of staying, especially with their father’s past hanging over them, were much more dangerous to Gerta and Fritz. What the Stasi could to to them and their mother if they stayed was so much worse with out being caught for trying to escape. Their family was a target because of what their father did before the Wall went up.
I really liked Gerta. How she and others in East Berlin had their little rebellions against the government. I also liked that on the outside she looked like she was falling in line, inside she was desperate to be free. But at the same time I can see why people didn’t take a stand. Not only would they probably be killed but the Stasi (the secret police) would go after their families for their rebellion.
I enjoyed reading A Night Divided. I’ve already recommended it to others and one has enjoyed it as much as I did. It made me wonder why I’d never thought about what happened to the people in Germany after the war ended instead of just the Jewish people.
*Thank you Scholastic New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*
Have you read A Night Divided? Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought.