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
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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