“The wall divided her family. Escaping it might take her life.”
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
317 pgs. Recommended for Upper Elementary through Middle School.
A different genre this time around from her wonderful fantasy/adventure series, The Ascendance Trilogy, Nielsen writes a very exciting fiction novel set in the postwar years in East Germany.
In Berlin, Germany, on August 13th 1961, citizens awoke to find their city radically transformed. Shortly after midnight, soldiers and construction workers in East Berlin got to work and by morning, Berlin was a divided city. Families, friends and even work colleagues would not meet again for nearly three decades.
A barrier of posts and barbed wire was built and then reinforced to cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. The Berlin Wall would only be officially re-opened in November 1989. The purpose of the wall was to stop the defection of East Germans in the communist Eastern Bloc to the more liberal society of West Germany during the post-World War II era.
Nielsen‘s style is fast paced and gripping. You are never sure about the outcome, which makes her stories all the more compelling. She captures the sinister and ever-present danger of being spied on, the ruthlessness of the authorities, and the fear and mistrust of one’s own neighbors. And, as was the case during these post-war years, you meet people who can only think of being free and will risk everything, even their lives, to escape.