OMG – please end this! These were my thoughts as I was reading the end of this novel last night as I thought my heart couldn’t take it much longer. I was plowing through the pages yet I was trying to read each word as I thought if I skipped over just one word, I might just miss the most important event and Gerta’s world would all come crashing down. Wow! The second half of this book was rather intense. It seemed as if everyone was doing their own thing, tensions were high, my nerves were getting frazzled, and just when there seemed to be some relief in sight suddenly things turned around for the worse and I was right back on the edge of my seat and things didn’t slow down until the end of the novel. Jennifer Nielsen had me, I was stuck in 1961, between the East side and the West side of Germany, I was with Gerta trying to help get her family back together, digging and digging but the clock was ticking and time was running out.
The Wall went up overnight. The wall of wire and thorns which would later become concrete with shards of glass and watchtowers when the police realize people still wouldn’t obey their commands. Papa and Dominic left a few days ago to find housing and work in the West side for the family. Mama had refused to leave her home and her mother and now the Wall has divided the family leaving Gerta, Fritz and Mama in the East where promises of a better life have yet to materialize. Time passes and the Wall becomes a part of life but not for Gerta, she analyzes the individuals who patrol the Wall. She misses her brother and father and cannot wait for the day her family is reunited. People attempt to escape to the West side and there is talk of a resistance. Her brother is arrested and Fritz and Gerta find out that they have a police file. They haven’t been arrested before, yet they have a file? I love Gerta’s attitude when she discovers this information, she could be upset and want to know what’s in it but her attitude is, she really doesn’t care. She’s mad at the police for dividing her family up, she knows she must obey some laws or face the consequences if she doesn’t so she follows the laws to the bare minimum and later, she takes matters into her own hands. She is a fighter and she knows she must look after herself for right now, no one else is. What a terrific novel, one that will definitely get your heart racing.