I featured Jennifer A. Nielsen’s books earlier this year, and I read THE FALSE PRINCE, which was fantastic. And, wouldn’t you know, when I exited my office today, I happened to see this “Book Club in a Box.”
|Open the box!
I was all set to review THE FALSE PRINCE, but when Jennifer told me the plot of her newest book, A NIGHT DIVIDED, set to debut August 25, I knew it had to take center stage. I even bought some copies for my new library system.
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?
Jennifer also answered some follow-up interview questions!
In our last interview, you talked about the value of courage. Which of your characters do you feel is most courageous, and why?
Courage is a persistent theme throughout all of my books, and each of my heroes is at some point required to stand and face the thing they fear most. In fact, in A NIGHT DIVIDED, the main character, Gerta, discusses this exact concept with her brother, Fritz. She feels trapped behind the Berlin Wall in Cold War East Germany and mentions to Fritz that she wonders if there is any way to escape. When he asks if she would ever attempt to leave, she says she would only try escaping if she knew she would succeed, because “that’s all the courage in me.” Fritz answers, “Courage isn’t knowing you can do something. It’s only being willing to try.”
Wise words from Fritz. As mentioned above, A NIGHT DIVIDED takes place during the rise of the Berlin Wall. What about Greta’s story do you feel will most resonate with readers?
At the heart of the story is Gerta’s desire to have her family all together. Gerta’s father and middle brother are in the west, and if they try to come home they will be arrested. Greta lives in the east with her oldest brother and mother, and if they try to leave, they could be shot. Despite that danger, Gerta feels constantly divided between the east and west.
I think readers will identify with Gerta’s love for her family. We all have families, and while some might struggle more than others, we tend to want the best for everyone in our family circle. Gerta wants that too, and readers will resonate with that.
I’m sure they will! If you could take five books to an island with you, what would they be and why?
1. Scriptures (If I’m on the island long enough I might actually finish it all!)
2. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (The 3 books-in-1 edition, of course!)
3. The Art of War by Sun Tzu (I learn more every time I read that book)
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Until I have it fully memorized, I can always re-read it)
5. A blank journal, which I would use to write the next book! Better hope I don’t forget the pen!
Thanks, Jennifer! Definitely don’t forget your pen!
Links to order A NIGHT DIVIDED are included below:
And for more on Jennifer and her other books, be sure to visit her website: http://www.jennielsen.com/