'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 5 July 2019

Review: A Great Escape

A Great Escape is based on real life events that occurred during the erecting of the Berlin Wall in 1961. 

It was a harrowing time for families that were separated between East and West. Some never saw each other again as they were old and passed away before the Wall came down. 

The children, when reunited with their parents 28 years later, had families of their own.

Peter’s mother, father and sister leave for West Berlin. He is busy playing with friends Hubert and Max, so gets left behind with his grandparents. 

The rumours he hears of a barbed wire fence being put up immediately, are true. A permanent wall follows to stop people from crossing into the democratic part of Berlin. 

The Stasi are eager to kill anyone found trying to get to the other side. That doesn’t stop anyone from trying, even after Hubert’s brother is killed in his attempt.

Peter meets Otto, a boy who offers interest and friendship. When Peter shares his anguish over being separated from his family, Otto agrees to help him escape. He claims to have connections that will facilitate their plans. But the clever and secretive Otto uses the vulnerable Peter as camouflage for his own agenda.

Elke also comes into Peter’s life. Fiery and courageous as a warrior, she is determined to succeed.  Her bow and arrow are hidden away, and in her head, so are secret plans for escape.

Who can Peter trust? He has made mistakes before. What will happen to his elderly grandparents if they have no one to care for them?

This well-crafted story displays the ingenuity of children during desperate times. It is demonstrated in the detailed methods and escape plans they designed and executed. Their strength and courage is palpable on the page; their hope and self-belief armour against the odds.

Inspiring and full of action and suspense, Felice Arena, author of The Boy and the Spy, has created another gripping tale with children as heroes and leaders.

Title: A Great Escape
Author: Felice Arena
Publisher: Penguin Random House, $16.99
Publication Date: 5 March 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780143794042
For ages: 10+
Type: Middle Grade Fiction