A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Title: A Night Divided
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: August 25th 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
From New York Times 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 divided overnight. 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?


A Night Divided was a vivid and heart-warming story about a determined girl's mission to bring her family together.  The book can be enjoyed by all ages as it provides a unique perspective on the construction of the Berlin Wall.  That being said, the main character is 12 and the young voice was a bit much for me at times. Even though the narrator is younger, she is true to her age; Gerta is a bit stubborn, sometimes moody, and at times naive but it all fit her personality very well.

The struggles Gerta and her family face and try to overcome really is the central focus of the book. Gerta gives the reader a view of what life would have been like during the West and East Berlin struggles.  This is not a time frame I am quite familiar with so I found the story to be a refreshingly different historical fiction.

The family dynamics between Gerta and her brother Fritz evolve over the course of the story into something wonderful.  The book is mixture of family bonding moments and high stake actions. A Night Divided is a family-oriented, well written, historical fiction that glimpses into the life of a 12 year old girl digging for her freedom.  I recommend this book especially to a younger reader!

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