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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Annexed - Sharon Dogar (Teen Fiction)

Released October 2010

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Most everyone is familiar with The Diary of Anne Frank. Whether you've learned about the diary in school, watched one of the movie versions or have read the bestseller, you know the story of Anne Frank and her family who remained holed up in an attic along with a few other individuals for two years hoping to escape the Nazis.

Annexed shares the same story but from Peter's eyes. Until now, no one has really stopped to consider Peter's feelings during this long event. He was suddenly stuck in a small area with two teen girls and his conflicting hormonal urges. While Annexed is a piece of fiction, it does follow events from The Diary of Anne Frank very closely, yet offers a unique perspective on those events. The author includes notes in the ending to share what happened to each member hiding in the attic and details into aspects of the story that are made up.

In Annexed, Peter van Pels longs for his girlfriend Liese. He has no idea where she is or if she's even alive. His longing helps flesh out his character. I don't want to give away details, but one scene when Peter wakes up and bumps into his mother was so touchingly honest, I was very impressed by the interactions with Peter and his mom.

I think it's truly impossible to read this story without tearing up at the end. The story continues to Peter's eventual death. It's beautifully written, but I desperately needed Kleenex. I'll still never understand how humans could do that to one another, but the Holocaust did occur and this is an outstanding story capturing the hope, desperation, loss and fear as seen through Peter van Pels' eyes.

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