Going Over

272p. maps. notes. websites. Chronicle. Apr. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781452124575. LC 2012046894.
RedReviewStarGr 8 Up—Stefan and Ada love each other, but they can only see each other four times a year. That is how often Ada and her grandmother can cross the border into East Berlin to visit the matriarch's best friend, Stefan's grandmother. As time passes, Ada obsesses about people who have escaped to freedom, but Stefan worries about those who tried and failed. He spends his days looking through his grandfather's telescope at the world around him, while Ada spends her nights creating graffiti artwork on her side of the Berlin Wall. While much of this story is focused on the teens and whether they can be together, other characters on both sides of the wall also get their own moments to shine. One of Kephart's strengths is her ability to immerse readers in 1980s Berlin, a time period that does not receive a lot of attention in most history textbooks. One subplot involves the plight of Turkish immigrants in West Berlin, and Ada becomes involved with trying to save a preschooler in her care from an abusive home. Kephart also uses plenty of sensual language to help readers feel the characters' aches and pains and to smell the smoke, dill, baked wool, and leather. This is an excellent example of historical fiction focusing on an unusual time period, and the author's note and selected sources list will be useful for readers who want to learn more about what it was like to live on either side of the Berlin Wall.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
In a present-tense narration alternating between Ada's first-person and Stefan's second-person, the young lovers on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall in 1983 plan for Stefan's escape to the West. Kephart works romantic chemistry into a danger-packed plot with moving results in this captivating glimpse into an underrepresented era that will appeal to older readers with a taste for literary historical fiction.

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