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Annexed Hardcover – October 4, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–On July 13, 1942, 15-year-old Peter van Pels and his parents entered the attic that became their home for two years. Peter is angry that he is hiding and not fighting Nazis. He is also not happy to be sharing cramped living quarters with the Franks, especially know-it-all Anne. In this novel, Dogar "reimagines" what happened between the families who lived in the secret annex immortalized in Anne Frank's diary. In doing so, she creates a captivating historical novel and fully fleshes out the character of Peter, a boy whom teens will easily relate to. He agonizes over whether he will ever make love to a girl, fights with his parents, sulks, and questions God and religion before finally maturing into a man. While this novel focuses on his adolescent struggles in the face of unthinkable adversity, the most compelling dilemma he faces is figuring out who he is. When Anne accuses him of deserting his people, Peter laments, "I want so many things, but what I need is to know who I am. Because if I don't know that, I can only ever be what they say I am. A Jew." Even in the concentration camp, he fights against being treated as an animal, is angered at being stripped of his name, and regrets that he may not be able to tell his story. But he does, and readers are enlightened and deeply moved as a result. Annexed is a superb addition to the Holocaust literature, and should not be missed.Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Joining the growing list of titles based on Anne Frank’s diary, this novel is written from the viewpoint of Peter van Pels, who is nearly 16 in 1942 when he and his parents join the Franks in hiding in their Amsterdam attic. Meticulous about distinguishing fact from fiction, the author points out that Anne’s view in The Diary may have contradicted Peter’s story. Here, she irritates him at first, and she invades his privacy in the crowded space. Then he and Anne get closer, flirt, and kiss. Peter asks her not to put their relationship in her diary, which raises a crucial question: What did Anne leave out? Interspersed with Peter’s first-person, diary-like accounts of life in hiding are searing reports of his last days in the death camps, where he remembers the attic as he witnesses the horrors at Auschwitz and Mauthausen. With its historical and intimate details, as well as the questions about The Diary’s connections and omissions, this moving novel is sure to find a wide YA audience. Grades 8-12. --Hazel Rochman

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 470L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547501951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547501956
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,431,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Sharon Dogar is a children's psychotherapist who lives in Oxford, England with her family. She discovered Anne Frank's diary as a child and the again recently when her daughter started reading it. She spent many hours soaking up the atmosphere of the Annex while writing and researching her latest book.

Customer Reviews

Excellent, never forget their words, hopes, and suffering.
The best way I can think of to describe the way I felt while reading this book is to say that I feel like I was shoved headfirst into Peter's pensieve.
The Allure of Books
Sharon Dogar's "Annexed" is a historical fiction novel written through the eyes of Peter von Pels, Anne Franks love interest in her famous diary.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alison's VINE VOICE on December 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Annexed made my heart ache for Anne Frank all over again.

What girl doesn't remember reading Anne Frank's diary for the first time?

This is Sharon Dogar's fictional story of what happened in the Annex and afterwards, as imagined from Peter Van Pels's perspective.

Much controversy surrounded this book before it was even published. I can only offer my opinion of the book, and I will try to weigh in on whether or not I agree with the criticisms made to Ms. Dogar and her fictional work.

She writes in the preface:

"In this novel, based on history, I try to imagine what it might have been like to have actually lived with Anne Frank. To become the target of her love, and to be so cruelly torn apart from her, just as liberation was coming to Holland."

The novel is broken into two parts - the first of which was the time Peter and his family spent in hiding in the Annex with the Franks, the second was what happened after they were found.

I believe the first part of the novel is that which is attracting so much criticism. While I am not a scholar when it comes to Anne Frank, I can say that there were some scenes in this first part that rubbed me the wrong way. Was this because I did not like someone messing with the Anne Frank we know and love, or was it just because I didn't particularly care for a certain scene? I am not sure.

On the other hand, it was nice to see more of Peter and the Van Pels, especially his mother, whom I remember disliking from Anne's diary. I think the hardest thing for me, as it probably was for many readers, was that Annexed made me question the whole truth of Anne's diary.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For those who loved The Diary of Anne Frank, and wondered what Peter's thoughts and feelings were during the two years or so he spent with Anne and the other occupants of the Secret Annexe, this book just might be of interest. Though it is a work of historical fiction, the author does put research into her work, and tries to convey Peter's voice in a credible and compelling manner, and I think for the most part she succeeds, though this is no Diary of Anne Frank.

Anne's 'voice' which rang out so clearly throughout her amazing diary is missing here, and what readers get instead is Peter's perspective of things. It is Peter's struggles both internal and external that readers get to witness here. Peter's sense of loss and derailment from an ordinary life is well-portrayed - the loss of privacy, where the most inane and intimate moments are exposed to others, all living in close proximity to each other, is conveyed in painfully excruciating detail. Here, we get to read about how Peter's relationship with Anne might have developed - from someone he found annoying to someone who shared his feelings and thoughts, and to something much more. Unlike Anne's diary which ends shortly before their discovery and arrest by the Gestapo, Peter's story takes readers beyond that point into the actual camps. The author recreates with some measure of credibility the day-to-day living in the hellish conditions of the concentration camps till the very end.

Is it a must-read?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In 1942, the Nazis continue to deploy the Final Solution. In Holland, brave Ditch hide Jews in their homes as the Nazis and local traitors hunt them down like animals. The van Pels and Frank families and others are hidden in an annex of an Amsterdam office building. Whereas optimist Anne keeps a dairy, fifteen years old Peter van Pels believes he is an artist with no canvas. He moans his fate. However, he also muses about God and observes his fellow rats scurry to survive. He thinks Anne is a child, but over the two plus years of intimate concealment, he begins to find he is attracted to her having moved on pass his infatuation with Liese. Over the next couple of years his interest changes as the Allies invasion of Normandy brings hope and a kiss of Anne makes him believe they and their fellow Jews have a future.

However, philosophical and mordant unlike Anne, his beliefs are affirmed when they are betrayed and taken away to various concentration camps. Now as he awaits death in 1945 at Mauthalsen concentration camp in Austria, he thinks back to the horrific war years when God chose to abandon his people.

This is a great historical fiction tale that uses The Diary of Anne Frank to tell the tale of life in the Annex from the perspective of Peter and limited historical record of what happened to him and the others (enhanced by Sharon Dogar) transported to deadly camps. Ms. Dogar captures the essence of Peter (at least from Anne's viewpoint) and brilliantly fills in gaps especially in the last quarter of the book that makes up the Part 2 Diaspora. Except for the deniers, this is a super companion piece to the classic as the readers must never forget any ethnic cleansing even if it is painful to do so. Also for another perspective (based on NPR and not my read yet), the audience should consider Francine prose's reflective look at Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife.

Harriet Klausner
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