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After the Train


Peter Leibig is not much different from us, despite living in post-WWII Germany, in Gloria Whelan's new historical fiction novel coming out in February.

He's bored to death in school, thinks his teacher is a bit long-winded, and is starting to take notice of a certain girl. But amongst his fun with his friends and going to movies, the tensions of the social climate can't help but show its face here and there. There is the heavily guarded wall that separates them from communist East Germany, the Jews that are slowly moving back to the area, the area they used to call home, and the people who still don't want them there.

But it's not until Peter uncovers a secret that he truly begins to take notice. A secret no one was ever supposed to find out, most especially him.

After the Train is a short book (about 160 pages) but surprisingly suspenseful for its lack of length. It's a quiet, yet tense, character study and history lesson all in one. I don't say "history lesson" in a bad way, either. Gloria Whelan weaves tidbits of real people and facts in her narrative, making us care about Peter in the meantime.

It's a sweet, realistic, page-turner that ends up being a more than just a coming-of-age story.

Am I jumping up and down shouting how much I loved it? No, not really. But I did like it. I found it enjoyable and a fast read. And I found it interesting to see the time period in the view of a single person, a different viewpoint than usual, the son of a German soldier, someone who had been too young to experience it at the time but still had no choice but to deal with the aftermath.

Check it out February 3rd!

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