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Grades 4 - 8Grade 6n/a5.471508
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?
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published on August 25, 2015 by Scholastic Press
ISBN-10: 0545682428
ISBN-13: 9780545682428
19 Book Reviews
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  • willow123goma
    willow123gomaThursday, May 28, 2020 at 11:41 am55 stars
    This is a story about a girl named Greta, whose family was separated when the Soviets built the Berlin Wall over-night. They escape under the heavily armed wall through an perilous journey, and eventually find happiness and reunite as an family. I adored this book!
    • maplepawreader
      maplepawreaderMonday, May 4, 2020 at 1:11 pm55 stars
      This book is about twelve year old Gerta who when she was eight, her father and older brother went to West Germany to find a new home and job. They meant to return home the day the Berlin Wall went up. So one day four years later, Gerta sees her brother on the other side of the wall. And then another day, she sees her father doing a dance. Gerta thinks that he wants her to dig a hole somewhere....but where? When she receives a mysterious note one day, it tells her where, and she starts digging. A very interesting book, with many twists and turns, this book is definitely recommended.
      • raindrop07
        raindrop07Saturday, May 2, 2020 at 1:36 pm55 stars
        With the rise of the Berlin Wall, 12 year-old Gerta's family is separated with her, her mother and her brother Fritz in the communitist East, and her father and middle brother in the democratic West. Gerta is not sure if she will ever see her full family again, or feel free in a country where she is not allowed to think or act in a way that the government wouldn't approve. Gerta is driven, creative and takes immense risks as she and Fritz wonder if they can reunite their family and fight to ensure freedom for their lives. Her story is suspenseful, gripping, and a must read for lovers of historical fiction!
        • raindrop07
          raindrop07Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 9:42 am55 stars
          With the rise of the Berlin Wall, 12 year-old Gerta's family is separated with her, her mother and her brother Fritz in the communitist East, and her father and middle brother in the democratic West. Gerta is not sure if she will ever see her full family again, or feel free in a country where she is not allowed to think or act in a way that the government wouldn't approve. Gerta is driven, creative and takes immense risks as she and Fritz wonder if they can reunite their family and fight to ensure freedom for their lives. Her story is suspenseful, gripping, and a must read for lovers of historical fiction!
          • maritlikes2read
            maritlikes2readMonday, September 16, 2019 at 3:53 pm55 stars
            Very good read! A good dive into history, all ages I hope would like this book! I read it in two days because I was so excited! hah!
            • inmemoryofcpr
              inmemoryofcprWednesday, May 22, 2019 at 11:46 am55 stars
              When Greta was only 8 years old, her father went to the other side of the wall to find a place for them to live. But in the middle of the night a wall was built, separating the family from each other. Four years later, Greta sees her father on the viewing platform on the other side of the wall doing a silly dance in a digging motion which Greta thinks he means that she has to escape by digging a tunnel. A few days later, he sends her a letter with a drawing of a building. Is this just a coincidence? Racing against time, Greta and her brother, Fritz, dig in the building. As the day that Fritz must go serve in the army comes closer and closer, and the fear of being found out becomes a reality, Greta must finish what she has begun.
              • izzy_isabella
                izzy_isabellaThursday, January 10, 2019 at 4:55 pm55 stars
                I think this book is good because it talks about Germany's history. This book is about a family that gets separated and they want to rejoin but to rejoin might take their lives.
                • atrama
                  atramaSaturday, December 22, 2018 at 5:01 am55 stars
                  This is one of my favorite books out there. Full of passion and struggle
                  • marvelfan
                    marvelfanSaturday, September 29, 2018 at 6:35 pm55 stars
                    I really recommend this book. It is SOO good!
                    • hummingbird1
                      hummingbird1Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 1:22 pm55 starsFeatured
                      Gerta's family is split. Gerta, Gerta's mom, and one of Gerta's brothers are on the east side, and Gerta's dad and Gerta's other brother are on the west side. The wall divides them. Earlier that week, Gerta's brother and dad went over to the west side to look for work, but the wall went up before they could get back, dividing their family. People try to escape from the west, but the soldiers are not afraid to kill. Even after its been up for a year, Gerta still finds herself staring at the wall, wishing she was on the other side. One day when she was walking to school, Gerta sees her brother and dad for the first time since the wall went up. Her dad does a silly dance they used to do together, but he keeps emphasizing on the "dig" part. After other clues come, Gerta concludes that her dad wants her to tunnel across to the west side, along with her mom and brother. But the bloodthirsty soldiers could very well end Gerta's life, so the risk is huge. But since this is her only chance to get across. Gerta and her brother Fritz try to tunnel their way to freedom, with many challenges and consequences along the way. This page turning book will keep your heart beating, and you can really feel Gerta's emotions. I love this book SO MUCH, and I know you will too. I recommend this book to boys and girls ages 9+.