Sharon Dogar, Houghton Mifflin, $17 (352p) ISBN 978-0-547-50195-6
A dramatic and ambitious companion to The Diary of Anne Frank, this fictionalized account of the two Jewish families in hiding is told from the point of view of Anne's companion in the secret annex, 15-year-old Peter van Pels. Although he bemoans that he is an artist instead of a writer like Anne, Peter is articulate as he ponders the fate of the Jewish people ("We're like water swirling down the plughole—soon there'll be none of us left. The bath will be empty") and questions God's existence ("I can't believe in a God that lets this happen. I won't believe in a God who say Jews are his chosen people"). His observations of the other occupants—bookish Mr. Frank and his sharp-tongued wife; sour Dr. Pfeffer; and Anne's quiet sister, Margot—reveal Peter's sense of humor as well as underlying tensions in the group. Peter's feelings for Anne, moving from annoyance to intrigue and longing, are passionately conveyed as the two endure crowded living conditions, hunger, cold, and the danger of being discovered. Showing equal skill in bringing history to life and in capturing the spirit of a young man searching for his identity amid chaos, Dogar (Waves) has written a novel as provocative as it is devastating. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/20/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
Genre: Children's
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