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Mini-review: Annexed (Sharon Dogar)


AnnexedEveryone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her?

In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.

As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them?

Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants.

My thoughts:
       Innovation – Most people are familiar with the story of Anne Frank. I thought this was an interesting spin on a well-known story. Peter shared the annex with the Frank family, and this is his (imagined) journal of the events during hiding. A great story told from a boy’s point of view.

       Story – This one sticks to the facts from Anne’s journal for 2/3 of the book. Once the families are discovered, the story shifts to Peter’s time in captivity. Peter’s story is told in alternating points of view. The “past” is shown through the journal entries, while the “present” occurs during his time in the concentration camps.

       Characters – All of the characters were modeled after real people. Their individual stories and personalities are historically accurate. While reading, I felt every emotion Peter had. It was heart-wrenching to imagine what it would be like to become a young man under these circumstances.

       Sticky Fingers – I read this in two nights. I was fully engrossed by the story, up until the final page. I even read the author’s end notes!

       Emotional Connection – Realistic. I felt all of Peter’s emotions as if they were my own. 

       Re-readability – I would consider reading this one again and comparing the dates/events to Anne Frank’s diary. The author spent a lot of time making sure the events matched up, so I would like to read Anne’s perspective of these entries.

       Overall –This is a highly original story based on Anne Frank’s diary. It was hard to read at times because of the events being described (not in graphic detail). This would be for older YA readers.

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