I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Going Over by Beth Kephart
Also by this author: The Heart Is Not A Size
Published by Chronicle Books on April 1st 2014
Genres: Europe, Historical, People & Places, Young Adult
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It is February 1983, and Berlin is a divided city with a miles-long barricade separating east from west. But the city isn't the only thing that is divided. Ada lives among the rebels, punkers, and immigrants of Kreuzberg in West Berlin. Stefan lives in East Berlin, in a faceless apartment bunker of Friedrichshain. Bound by love and separated by circumstance, their only chance for a life together lies in a high-risk escape. But will Stefan find the courage to leap? Or will forces beyond his control stand in his way? National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart presents a story of daring and sacrifice, and love that will not wait.
Beth Kephart works her wordsmith magic skills again with Going Over. Kephart’s signature style is all about the carefully crafted turn of phrases and imagery. I think if you’re the sort of reader who is all about words being able to paint pictures, you’ll be in for a treat when you read Going Over. I would also say that this isn’t the sort of book you should pick up if you expect consistent action and love triangles.
Going Over is a historical fiction young adult book about Ada and Stefan. Set in Berlin, 1983 Kephart’s book is all about two teens living on opposite sides of the wall. Ada is fifteen and a graffiti artist. She lives in West Berlin and works at a daycare. Stefan lives in East Berlin with his grandmother who is best friends with Ada’s grandmother. Ada keeps pushing him to escape to West Berlin because she’s in love with him and he’s in love with her. And so, much of this book revolves around Stefan making a plan and finding the courage to escape to West Berlin. It also revolves around Ada’s life in East Berlin and her work with one child in particular, wherein Ada must find the courage to speak up for justice.
Ada is a relatively interesting character. I would say that she’s a manic pixie dream girl, however, Kephart thankfully does a great job of developing her character. Ada has pink hair, she never sleeps and she’s had to grow up really fast. Her mother finds love in what seems to be all the wrong places and is fragile. So, Ada is like the glue that holds everything together. I liked that although her character lives on the West Berlin side, she does not lead a perfect life. In fact, Ada along with her grandmother and mother is a squatter. She’s endured some fairly awful things as well. Yet, she remains strong and courageous through it all.
Going Over is written using somewhat alternating chapters between Ada and Stefan. Ada’s chapters are told using first person whereas Stefan’s are told using second person. The perspective change can be a bit jarring and I think that if you aren’t used to second person you might not like it. For me, I thought it was an interesting choice. I thought that Stefan’s chapters seemed a bit more immediate whereas Ada’s seemed much more well rounded and fleshed out. Overall, Kephart’s book is a decent addition to the historical fiction about the Berlin Wall subgenre.