Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Going Over by Beth Kephart

Cracking open a new Beth Kephart novel is like coming home...she's an author I can trust to create a world I will love--one infused with hope and love and gentleness despite difficulty every time I open one of her books. And while the settings and the circumstances change dramatically from novel to novel, there's a comforting familiarity about them and I mean that in the best possible way. (just in case it's possible to take that in a negative way!)

So when I started reading Going Over, I kid you not my heart actually just swelled with the goodness of it...the beauty of the language, the quick and easy way she establishes her characters as people I will care about who see the world with their eyes open. And the subject of Going Over is interesting and unique, a part of history I haven't thought about much in a long time--the time when Germany was divided into East and West.

Perhaps it's because they are written from the perspective of youth, or perhaps it's a theme that interests her anyway, but her books always have a struggle for freedom in them. And Going Over, of course, can apply that idea in a very literal way. Which makes it no less interesting, are we not all fighting to cross something in our lives?

Our two main characters are separated by the Berlin Wall but together in their hearts. They each face their own troubles in their homeland and they both want to be together. But is crossing over worth the risk? Is it worth the risk not to try?

I love how Ada is a street artist and she loves kids and she loves Stefan. Her life isn't perfect, even if she's in the Western half. Stefan is clever and loyal but understandably afraid to cross over.

Kephart does something different here by alternating the narrative point of view from Ada'a first person and Stefan's second. It's an interesting technique and effective, I think.

I loved every minute of this book, the vivid portrayal of life in Berlin, the ideas explored, the characters, the interesting and compelling situation, the lovely descriptions and language!

Highly recommended, of course!

I received a review copy from the publisher.


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