From the Amazon description:
Cut off by the Iron Curtain This epic tale extends across generations and unfolds against the backdrop of a dangerous Cold War Berlin. This historically accurate, action-packed, three-books-in-one edition features three generations of resourceful teens living in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. Titles include: Candy Bombers: In spring 1948, teenage cousins Erich and Katarina are simply trying to survive in war-ravaged Berlin when the Soviets blockade the east side of the city, isolating its citizens—and starving them—behind the Iron Curtain. Beetle Bunker: In August 1961, Sabine discovers a forgotten underground bunker. Though she first uses it to escape her crowded home, she soon realizes her hideout could possibly take her family under the wall to West Berlin and freedom! Smuggler’s Treasure: In spring 1989, life is good in West Germany, and even the Cold War seems to be thawing in the warmer weather. But as Liesl works on a class project about the history of the wall, she stumbles onto a startling secret no one will talk about.
I was surprised by the size of this book when it arrived. For a juvenile fiction book, it has a pretty hefty size to it. One thing I noticed straightaway as I started reading it was the font size was larger than most of the books I read. I rather enjoyed that aspect of it! I wasn’t aware that the three generations of teens were from the same family until I started reading the second book. That was the best surprise of all! Elmer does such a great job endearing his characters to the readers that I felt like I was visiting an old friend when I read about Erich and realized he would be part of the second book as well.
This is the first book I’ve read related to this topic of what life was like for the Germans in relation to the Wall. WWII was such a horrific time where survival was the foremost goal that novelists seem to conclude their novels at the conclusion of the war. I thought Elmer’s description of how hard life was for post-war Germany was really eye-opening and cast them in an unusual sympathetic light. It is easy to cast all Germans as the villains in WWII. This book gives juvenile readers a different perspective to help them get a more comprehensive look at the people of Germany.
There is also a bit of mystery to this book that I didn’t expect. I enjoyed the way Elmer dropped clues without focusing too much attention on story lines he would develop in the third book. Very cleverly written!
This is a great book to recommend to readers wanting a fictional look at the Wall and how Germans felt about it. It is a quick read, and I really enjoyed having all three stories together in one book. When one book ended, the next was right there ready to begin.
The only criticism I could add would be that I wish Elmer would have continued the story a little bit longer at the end. Everything was tied up, but I would have liked to have seen what happened next through Elmer’s eyes, instead of imagining it on my own. Perhaps book four will be coming at some point? I can hope.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.