In Real Teen Reviews I interview my 15-year-old marvel of a sister about books that I’ve made her read. This story of Hitler’s fictional niece who defies Nazi-ism is the second one and I’m pleased to say she’s enjoying the process so far! For my thoughts and a summary of Prisoner of Night and Fog go to my original post here.
My first feedback came in the form of seeing her disappear into the book for a few hours, then two days later by text.
Oh my days.
The ending is sooooooooooooooooooooooooo tense
Then onto the interview. Zoë, what did you think of the book?
It’s incredible, it’s so gripping!
What first grabbed your attention?
I think the whole concept of liking someone in Gretchen’s position is gripping. You can’t help but like her – but the concept of liking someone associated with someone so horrible as Hitler is so weird – you just want to know why you like her so you have to read on.
Why do you think she’s a good character?
Because she is! She’s like any typical protagonist in a tragic story, she has a flaw in that she’s so naive but you like her because you know that, and you pity her at first. But as she becomes stronger in her own beliefs you love her because she’s standing up for herself.
There are a few story lines going on in the book, which did you like best?
They merged together well. The storyline with her brother had me the most emotional because it’s quite intense! The storyline with Daniel was kind of cliché but the way it was done fit the book perfectly and I really enjoyed it. The storyline with Hitler…. it’s so confusing! I can’t comprehend being friends with someone so so horrible so it’s fascinating.
Did you find her change of heart convincing?
Yes – because a lot of people who were brainwashed – it wouldn’t have taken much real everyday contact with a real Jewish person to change things. Seeing them in real life, not in concentration camps. I think it was really good.
Did it make you think about history any differently?
It’s just made me more interested in the German perspective and in Hitler’s rise to power, and the people who were around while he was gaining power. And in him as a person – was he really a psychopath?
Do you think there’s anything wrong with putting made up characters into real history?
I think the author’s note at the end makes it okay – because she says very clearly who the fictional characters are and which parts are true and false. And actually I think it is okay because it does show Hitler in a bad light and rightly so because he was so so so bad.
What are you hoping for in the next book? Will you read it?
I wasn’t expecting a second book – of course I want to read it! I’ll be interested to see how that is done, because I don’t know if there’s very far to go with Gretchen and Daniel’s future.
Do you think it was well written?
At first when I read it I thought the language wasn’t that great but then as it got further into the storyline it didn’t matter because I was so captivated by the story itself that I ignored it and found out what happened. I think it is structured very well, the flashbacks she has now and then add to the storyline and the little things that happen in the beginning that she picks up on later are really interesting! It’s all really well connected.
Is there anything you would change?
I think the relationship with Daniel could have been a bit more unexpected – it was a bit obvious. The stuff with her brother was really well done at the climax of the plot – and her reactions to events was suitably presented.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Happy Christmas. Happy Advent.
About the book?
I don’t think so!