Cover Image: Half Notes from Berlin

Half Notes from Berlin

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Member Reviews

I like to read stories about real people and their experiences surviving during World War II.  The common people, not the soldiers.  This book is a work of fiction but tells the story of what it would have been like to be in Germany during that time and find out that your grandparents were Jews who converted to Christianity.  So does that make you Jewish or non-Jewish in Hitler's eyes?  Is it based on your blood heritage or the religion you practice?  And how do you deal with it in either case?  A very interesting story that provokes a lot of thought.
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“I think the author did a very good job of reflecting his feelings on his friends, his family and about the Nazi's and the Hitler Youth. His feelings for Marie and for Rebecca and how he often wondered what would have happened if he had read Marie's not before taking Rebecca to the movies...would his life have been different? “ - Shirley McAllister
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Wow, what a horrible time in history to have lived through it.  Especially during school age.  Hans and Rebecca were two characters I really rooted for, their conviction was outstanding and so heartfelt. I loved this book and could. Or stop reading.
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A different and interesting perspective on Nazi rules about Jewish heritage and converting to Christianity around WWII. There was a lot I learned. But I do hope there’ll be another telling of the characters’ final outcome and other related characters’ stories as I am letting wanting to know more: “what then?” and “what’s next?”
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I enjoyed this book because it offered a unique perspective on life in The Third Reich. The book was written from the point of view of 15-year-old Hans, who discovers his maternal grandparents were Jewish and converted to Christianity and the complications it causes him especially because he is attracted to a Jewish girl, Rebecca. I thought it was well-written and kept my interest and I learned a lot. I wish the book could have provided more closure about the relationship between Hans and Rebecca if there was one in the future. The fact that the book was somewhat autobiographical made it more interesting.
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I really appreciated the author's background notes on how this story was written. She included the history of the mixed-Jews who served with the Nazis and why they did it. The story presents an interesting take on this aspect of World War 2 and explores a topic I had not encountered elsewhere. There is enough intrigue and interest to keep the reader turning pages.

I received this book from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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What an insightful book, Hans is a 15 year old young man who is half Jewish and half German.  We view his life in 1933 as the Nazi's are coming into power and how they are portraying the Jewish community in Berlin.  Hans has to keep his ancestry a secret after seeing how the Jewish students at his school are being treated.  If you are a history buff, this is a great book to read.
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Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. 
I am a lover of historic fiction novels. In 1933 Berlin a boy discovers a big secret about his family.  Secrets in Hitler's Germany can get your whole family killed.  This story follows Hans and his fight for his family  and his love interest, 
I recommend this especially if you love historical fiction.
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Hans was a young German when Hitler and the Nazis started their takeover. He believes he is a full blooded German so he thinks his family is safe. Until he discovers the family secret, are they really safe? This book is about a man trying to understand his history and why his family did the things they did during such a terrible time.
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Hans is a 15 year-old student in Berlin in 1933, just as Hitler is rising to power, watching his world change around him. Written in a simple and moving style that is easy to read, and yet difficult to read because of its content, Half Notes from Berlin is a historical fiction novel that shows how so many were swayed from indifference to dislike to hate of anyone with Jewish ancestry, even those who had converted from Judaism decades prior, and those who had ancestors who were Jewish and knew nothing of it until the changes in Germany forced their parents or grandparents to tell them.

Many people ask how so many could be swayed so quickly, and, as this novel demonstrates, the change was not  sudden, but it was inexorable. Some methods were open and could be seen, but others involved misdirection and subterfuge - and always there was the need for self-protection. Recommended for eighth grade and older, for anyone interested in the time period.
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As if Nazi Germany wasn't bad enough, Hans, a teenager, learns of a big family secret that complicates life even more.  Half Notes from Berlin, by B.V. Glants, is a historical novel that is set in WWII and one that I would definitely recommend.  Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing me with an ARC ebook to read in exchange for my honest review.
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This WWII novel is written from a different perspective. It is set in 1933 in Germany. It shows the start of antisemitism. The main character is a teen-aged boy. He learns he is half German, and half Jewish. A set of grandparents had converted to Christianity, but that is not good enough. Hans learns that indoctrination exists in his school. The Hitler youth are part of that. This story keeps you reading, it reads quickly. I read an electronic copy courtesy of Net Galley.
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Half Notes from Berlin
Half Notes from Berlin differs from most Holocaust books for two reasons. First, it takes place in 1933, just after Hitler comes to power, well before the most horrible years of the Holocaust. It’s also unusual that it covers a period or just about a month from the end of March , 1933 to the end of April of the same year. It’s about 15 year old Hans and his Christian family. Unbeknownst to Hans, his grandparents converted from Judaism years ago and Hans is shocked to find out this fact. As the definition of non-Aryans is getting stricter and stricter, his mother is fired from her job as part of an orchestra. Hans has one Jewish girl in his class and they develop a friendship, later a romantic relationship ( all within a month) that doesn’t sit well with Hans’s parents or Rebecca’s. Hans’s father is taking advantage of the situation by buying up a Jewish bakery he himself frequented for years well below market value. The definition of who is non-Aryan is not often addressed in books of the time, or if it does, not in this much detail, dedicating a whole novel to it and it’s consequences. 
Overall, an interesting, easy to read book, I rounded 3.5 stars up to 4.
I found the ending very sudden, after the previous details. The author does mention what happened to each of the family in later years. 
 I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are completely my own.
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Wow.  Teenage years are hard.  Being a teenager in Berlin before the war would have been even harder. This is the story of Hans, whose parents are Lutheran, but whose maternal grandparents were Jewish who converted to Christianity.  Under the rules in Germany, being born Jewish, or having Jews in your ancestors, made you Jewish.
Hans did not know about his ancestry until he was fifteen and this is a story about the stress of being embarrassed by his background, his love for a Jewish girl, and the pressure to fit in with his peer group.  I will definitely recommend this to my students.  I received an arc and was not pressured to give a positive review.
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Half Notes From Berlin is a chilling story set in Germany during WWII.
Hans is a young boy growing up in Germany in 1933.  He falls in love with Rebecca, a Jewish girl.  He thinks his family is safe but then he finds out that he is part Jewish on his mom’s side.  Hans is working to save his family and stay alive.
I can’t say too much without having spoilers.  I liked this book, but I didn’t love it; the ending felt rushed.  I received a complimentary copy of the book from The Book Whisperer through NetGalley.  The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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The tone and words seemed so sincere that I had to double check that this was not a biography. 

The book centers on a 15 year old German boy who finds out that he is half Jewish. It is told from the perspective of himself as an old man looking back. He relates what is was like finding out his heritage, how those around him responded to the increasing restrictions and intolerance, and what is was like to date a Jewish girl while being a supposed Aryan. All of the characters seem so genuine with virtues and flaws aplenty. 

I really enjoyed reading this and would recommend it for tweens and older.
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I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Hans was from a good German family. He was happy at school and sang with the Berlin Youth Choir. Things began to change as Hitler began exerting power. Hitler Youth became popular. Non-German historic figures were no longer depicted in classrooms. Antisemitism gained strength but Hans couldn’t understand why. He liked a girl in his class that was Jewish. That couldn’t be wrong, could it?

Hans’ story is one that illuminates the difficulties that arose growing up in Hitler’s regime. It was dangerous to disagree with Hitler. Hans is confused by the political rhetoric and what he believes. Will he be able to reconcile himself to the new political landscape? Throughout the story we see Hans’ innermost thoughts and feelings. The characters of his parents are not as developed and their backstory could have enhanced the plot, explaining some of their motivation. As each character’s story arc ends the author reveals their futures. A nice touch that brings closure. Hans is a tragic figure caught in a changing world. B.V. Glants provides great insight into the struggles faced by German youth.
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Thanks for giving me the opportunity to give an honest opinion of this book.
Hans was a normal 15 year old boy living in Germany in 1933.
Attending school and having lots of friends, but not knowing about his background and his family.
He met Rebecca who was Jewish,  but that never mattered he liked her for her knowledge of books 
,her mother told them never to meet but they disobeyed her and carried o.n with their friendship.
Hans did not want to join the Hitler youth movement where most of his friends did, which did cause some animosity among his friends.
He was happy singing in the choir and going to church.
Until the day he overheard his parents talking and got to learn he was living a lie. I
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Definitely a different view of the times of Hitler before the world as we see it through the eyes of a young half Jewish boy who seems more interested in getting a girl than the war.  I was not captivated by any of the characters.  Perhaps I needed to look at the story through YA eyes,
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A series of school days during the rising Nazi tide as told by a woman who is half Jewish. It was interesting to see how little it mattered that a teacher brought his personal political beliefs into the classroom, something that would be considered an offense today.
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