Monday, September 14, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading 9/14/1

Thank you to SheilaJen and Kellee for inspiring and hosting the #IMWAYR meme.

Like just about everyone I know, I loved Jennifer Nielsen's Ascendence Trilogy.  So, I was intrigued when I started hearing about her newest book, which is historical fiction.  My fingers were crossed that Nielsen had been able to make historical fiction every bit as exciting and riveting as her fantasy series.  And she did!

A Night Divided begins in Berlin in 1961, just as the wall dividing east and west was being built.  Gerta, in fact, wakes up one night and hears the start of the wall's construction.  Four years later, Gerta, her mother and her oldest brother are stuck in East Berlin, while her father and middle brother are stuck in West Berlin.  Gerta's mother doesn't want to rock the boat and is scared to bringing any attention to the family, given that her husband and one son are in the west.  Gerta and her oldest brother, Fritz, however, are unwilling to accept the lies and propaganda that they hear everywhere in the east.  Together, they plot an incredibly risky and daring escape.  It is in the escape plan that I hear Nielsen's "fantasy voice" - the tension mounts incrementally with every sentence and page, until it reaches a point where readers simply can not put the book down.  

Historical fiction can sometimes be a hard sell for middle grade readers.  What I especially love about this book is that it reads like an action/adventure story, while infusing the reader with the intensity of the Cold War setting.  Gerta's voice explains all that readers really need to know about the era, thus it is not necessary to have a ton of background knowledge about eastern Europe.

This would be a great book to read in conjunction with a unit on the Cold War, but it also will stand readily on its own!

Other books I read and enjoyed this week:


  1. I have yet to read ANY of Jennifer Nielsen's books, which I definitely need to rectify soon! All her books sound so good!

  2. She's a wonderful writer... I am an elementary school librarian and I had students beg me to come to school over the summer to read aloud the sequel to The False Prince when we finished it in June. Now THAT would make for an awesome summer school! :)

  3. I am reading a lot about A Night Divided this week. I liked the first book in the Ascendance Trilogy, but they fell apart for me afterwards so I'm reticent to read more of her work. I loved All The Right Answers though! Hurrah for Kate Messner.

    1. Hurrah for Kate Messner indeed. I don't know how she keeps cranking out such great books!

  4. I've been reading a lot of book love directed towards A Night Divided - sounds like a riveting read indeed. Will have to check it out. Dream Strider also caught my eye! :)

  5. Myra, Dreamstrider is really interesting - if you like deep fantasy, you will love it!