Tag: Jennifer A. Nielsen

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published: August 25, 2015
357 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

From NYT 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 suddenly divided. 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?

Kim’s Review:

Jennifer Nielsen has joined the ranks of “authors Kim will read no matter what”. She hasn’t written a thing I don’t like. She writes with such emotion and I very rarely look at page numbers while reading her books. With all that established, I have to admit that this is her weakest work so far. That does not mean it is bad, it simply means that A Night Divided is not my favorite of her books. I enjoyed this book very much, the only issue is that sometimes, while the characters were dealing with their boring existence in Communist East Berlin, that monotony came out for me, the reader, as well. That is the only reason I’m giving it 4 stars instead of 5.

I love how Donnelly showed the practical side of life under Communism; the little things that we  Americans take for granted like the freedom to listen to music, or say the things we are thinking, no matter what we’re thinking. The scenes where Gerta goes to the market and the shelves being empty of most things except cabbage was especially potent.

I would suggest this book to most millennials, no matter their age. The suspense that Donnelly created, especially near the end, made me forget any boredom I was feeling near the beginning. This is another book that I would tell high school and middle school teachers to keep on their shelves. And the cover is amazing. And everyone should read it. And now I want to visit Germany. And I’m going to start writing all my reviews in this short sentence, list format. Ok, just kidding! 😊 I really liked this book and I think everyone else should read it as well!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Scourge


Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published: August 30, 2016
368 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Book Description:

When a plague isn’t all that kills…

As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor’s wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge — and quarantine colony — for the ill. The Scourge’s victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn’t know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She’s been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on. But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?

Kim’s Review:

This book was awesome!! In a world of all the same stories being published over and over again, changed only with new character and setting names, I found a book that is unique! It’s a very simple story but it’s not like anything I’ve read before.

The world that Nielsen has created is a beautiful place with interesting people and fascinating dynamics. The River People, those who are believed to be ignorant and dirty, vs. the townsfolk, Grubs vs. Pinchworms. I identified very strongly with the misunderstood minority. Yeah ok, a little dramatic, I know, but as a Southerner, I completely understand being misunderstood and labeled as ignorant. Lies are told about my ancestors and my heritage and I know the frustration very well.

Ani is such a great heroine! She’s smart, she’s cunning and she’s not afraid to do whatever it takes to survive. Weevil is an awesome guy and I’m totally happy with him, wouldn’t change a thing! 😊 And of course, every story needs a character that you love to hate! So there’s Della! She’s snobby and bratty and spoiled, and I loved hating her! The government conspiracy is simple, yet genius and works really well until Ani shows up to throw a wrench in everything. This was a really easy read, yet kept my attention through the very end! I recommend this book to anyone looking for a unique read or to any tween or teen looking for an interesting book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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