Going Over
by Kephart, Beth

In the early 1980s, Ada and Stefan are young, would-be lovers living on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall: Ada lives in West Berlin among rebels, punkers and immigrants; Stefan lives in East Berlin with his grandmother- and their only chance for a life together lies in a high-risk escape.

Beth Kephart is the author of more than a dozen books, including the National Book Award finalist A Slant of Sun, as well as many critically acclaimed novels for young adults including Undercover, House of Dance, Nothing but Ghosts, The Heart Is Not a Size, You are my Only, and Small Damages.

In addition to being a National Book Award finalist, Kephart is a winner of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fiction grant, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Leeway grant, a Pew Fellowships in the Arts grant, and the Speakeasy Poetry Prize, among other honors. Kephart's essays are frequently anthologized, she has judged numerous competitions, and she has taught workshops at many institutions, to all ages. She has also teaches advanced nonfiction workshops at the University of Pennsylvania.

*Starred Review* In the divided Berlin of the early 1980s, 16-year-old Ada waits for her lover, Stefan, to escape across the Berlin Wall from East to West. But the odds are against Stefan making it over alive, and they are also against graffiti rebel Ada evading the notice of the authorities and the brutal punkers hiding in the alleyways. National Book Award finalist Kephart has re-created the inexorable fear and tension, as well as the difficult living conditions, of Berliners on both sides of the wall, especially those suffering under the ruthless oppression of the dreaded East German secret police, the Stassi. Ada and Stefan are representative of the families, friends, and lovers separated and destroyed by the wall; their grandmothers serve as poignant reminders of the toll WWII took on the European population. Subplots about the Turks recruited to help rebuild Berlin and the ignored danger to women in all parts of the city add complexity to an already difficult, seldom written about time in the world's history. This is a stark reminder of the power of hope, courage, and love to overcome the most taxing of human struggles: war, its aftermath, and captivity. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Life in the grim shadow of the Berlin Wall is vividly reflected in Kephart's moving exploration in two voices. Ada, a nearly 16-year-old graffiti artist, lives in poverty in West Berlin, but Stefan, the 18-year-old boy she loves, lives on the other side of the wall in even more difficult conditions. Their only hope for a future together is if he finds a way to escape, but his grandfather perished in an attempt. Meanwhile, at night, he trains his telescope on the West while she ventures out to paint scenes of great escapes on the wall. A secondary plot arises from Ada's work at a day care center; little Savas, from an underclass of Turkish immigrants, has disappeared after his mother was abused. Related in a swirling, second-person stream of consciousness that mimics the free-flowing colors of her nighttime art, Ada's and Stefan's alternating present-tense narratives offer a point/counterpoint on the need for escape but its daunting peril. Their story is at once compelling and challenging, perhaps limiting this book to an audience of sophisticated readers. The plight of young Savas adds depth, but its tragic outcome is muted by the building suspense of Stefan's evolving plan. While this gripping effort captures the full flavor of a trying time in an onerous place, many readers will find it hard going. (Historical fiction. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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