Review Blog

Nov 10 2011

Sektion 20 by Paul Dowswell

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Bloomsbury, 2011. ISBN 978 1 4088 0863 4
(Ages: 12+) Recommended. Thriller. Cold War. Alex is a rowdie, deemed as subversive by the authorities and others loyal to the German Democratic Party of the DDR, German Democratic Republic, or East Germany between World War 2 and 1989. He comes from loyal parents, but the views of Alex and his sister, Gali are cause for concern for his teachers and then the Stasi, the police whose aim is to make all conform to the narrow beliefs of the state. The Cold War is in full swing, the division between east and west all encompassing. Alex loves the hated subversive music form the west, playing with his cheap guitar, and sharing his love with his band and his girlfriend, Sophie.
But when one of his group, Holger and his girlfriend, Effie, attempt to escape over the wall, Alex comes within the sights of the Secret Police, and the new leader of Sektion 20, a zealous ex Nazi who has taken an East German's identity, and is ambitious to prove his ability. After he is tortured, Alex's family realise that they will always be under suspicion and that their children will have many doors closed to them, so they escape into West Germany. But their troubles are still not over.
A spine chilling adventure story of survival, the background of the Cold War is fascinating and will be new to many students, adding another level of story about refugees and what it is like to have to flee your homeland.
Fran Knight

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