Cover Image: Half Notes from Berlin

Half Notes from Berlin

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Member Reviews

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for a review!

This book gave some very interesting insights in the period before the Second World War started, a period of time I haven’t learned about in school. That made it even more interesting to read about young people, unaware of what’s to come, struggling with their backgrounds and beliefs in a very quickly-changing and above all, dangerously evolving society. I was very intrigued. 

It’s sad not to know what happened to everyone during/after the war, that’s really something I missed, because I grew fond of some of these characters. Other than that, this book was very interesting and I definitely recommend it to anyone who’s into historical fiction.
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A fascinating story following a teenage boy in the early 1930s in Berlin. Saying much else would give too much away.

Well written, easy to follow, a little romance, a little suspense.

I truly hope there is a sequel.

I received this book in digital form as an ARC through NetGalley.
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This is an interesting coming-of-age story set in 1933 Berlin. The world is changing around 15 year-old Hans. Friends are joining the Hitler Youth & pressuring him to join. Other friends are ostracized for being Jewish. To Hans, they are all German. Then he learns his family's secret: his grandparents were Jewish. What made this book interestung is the perspective of a young man seeking his identity in a world turned upside down by hate.
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There are no heroes in this book. There are only victims of themselves or others. The main character is Hans and the story is told from his point of view. The plan is set in pre-World War II Germany where the Nazis are taking over. Hans finds out that his grandfather is Jewish and it causes problems for him and his family. The plot revolves around prewar Germany and the pressures that the Jewish population face. And does not a hero of the story by the victim of his own weakness. He hurt his family and the woman he loves who is Jewish. I recommend this book for those who want a good story about prewar Germany in the Jewish population.
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The author brings to life the fear and uncertainty that people must have lived with at the time - with history rising up to endanger even those who felt secure.  Terrific characters and dialogue make this an immersive read, too.
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This is a different story than the usual WWII novel. This tale takes place in the early days of the Third Reich, before the mass persecution and incarceration of the Jews in concentration camps. It is a coming-of-age story involving a very confused young man on the cusp of manhood. Fifteen-year-old Hans lives a comfortable life with his businessman father and music conservatory professor mother. His largest concerns are the fact that he disappointed his mother by not taking to the piano and his somewhat atonement for this by becoming a member of the prestigious Berlin Youth Choir. Bit by bit, events in Hans’ life begin to cause him discomfort: the removal of portraits of famous Jews from the series of pictures in his classroom, the disappearance of his classroom teacher and his replacement with a brown-shirted “Heil Hitler”-using lecturer who ignores scholastic studies and concentrates on the dogma of Nazism, male classmates coming to class in the regalia of the Hitler Youth and the beginning of anti-Semitism directed toward the lone Jew in his class. When Hans discovers a rather alarming family secret his uneasiness and confusion increase. 
B.V. Glants provides masterful insight into the emotions of these early days of Hitler’s reign. As the book progresses, so too do the indications of the changes taking place. Using a young man as the protagonist and mixing in the everyday problems and feelings of adolescence is a stroke of genius. 
Thank you to B.V. Glants, Glide Media and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.
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Hans is a young boy living in Germany in 1933.  The Nazi party is just starting to rise up and the young boys are joining the Hitler Youth.  Any non-Aryans are starting to be ostracized, being fired from their jobs, loosing their businesses, and being sent away from school. Jews are starting to move out of Germany. 

Hans learns a secret about his family. His mother’s parents were originally Jewish, converted to Christianity and brought the children up that way. Hans’ father is an Aryan German. Hans falls for a Jewish girl in class. He is torn  between what is expected of him and what he feels. Because his mother is what the new regime considers part Jewish, she is let go from her job teaching at the Conservatory. This was her life and is now on the verge of a breakdown. His father is set on buying up companies from Jewish owners who are selling them cheap in order to leave. 

Hans winds up joining the Hitler Youth group hoping to keep everyone he loves safe. Of course this is not the case and eventually winds up loosing everyone. 

I liked learning about what it was like for the youths in Germany at that time but was in owe at how oblivious they were to what was really going on. It made me made that everyone was just willing to go along with tossing out people because they were Jewish, burning books because of there content or who wrote them, and taking advantage of those less fortunate. I also did not care for the ending. I felt that it left you hanging as to what happened to these people. I know the very beginning of the book told what eventually happens to Hans’ family, but I felt that so much more must have happened in his 100 yrs of living. Perhaps it was just this 1 year of life that he wishes to tell about. 

I thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read this pre-release in exchange for an honest review.
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"...with the solitude...I have nothing to do but face the accusing finger of my memories.'

Are we responsible for the mistakes, the wrongdoings of our youth? Or is it the responsibility of the adults in our lives; but what if they are the cause of making life choices at 15 years of age?

These are a few of the questions that are brought to the surface in the very timely smart coming of age pre WWII historical fiction novel, Half Notes From Berlin by concise author B.V.Glants.

In 1933 Hans is 15 living life in Berlin, Germany when Hitler comes to power. As he slowly notices changes like Jewish Stars on storefront windows that no one shops in anymore, less Jewish students in school, and books by Jewish writers being burned he feels confused but it's still not personal...until Rebecca, his first kiss, has to go away...until it is learned he is part Jewish on his mother's side. What are the right decisions? What are the safe choices for yourself and your family?

What was unique in this story is that there are no soldiers, no concentration camps or resistant fighters. There is just a family torn apart, an innocent teen asked to make ultimate choices and no examples of standing up for what is right.

This book is one year in the life of a young man at the start of when the world began to implode. It is timely because I feel we are at that point again. Many people say they are tired of WWII stories but the point of history is to learn what went wrong and never let it happen again.

On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the day we say the Mourners Kaddish for those we love who are gone, I hope we can open our hearts and be fearless against those who resurrect fear mongering for their own power money hungry gain.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via #netgalley for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
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This is the story of Hans, a teenage boy living in Germany as Hitler was coming to power. His ancestry is half Aryan and half Jewish, putting the family at great risk. Hans is attracted to Rebecca, a smart, beautiful girl who is Jewish and, as their relationship develops, Hans learns he must make difficult political choices for his own safety and the safety of his family and Rebecca.

There is a good deal of historical information depicting the rapid growth of the Nazi influences in pre-war Germany. My only criticism has to do with occasional leaps forward in time when the author takes a segment of the story forward to completion and then drops back to pick up where he left off. I feel the tale would have been more cohesive by maintaining a steady forward progress of the overall story in a chronological order. 

In the end, the book gives a good impression of the events leading to the rise of Nazi Germany and the horrific segregation and associated abuses encouraged at all ages between the Aryans and Jews which eventually would lead to the holocaust - a truly evil time in the world.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and the author for my honest voluntary review. As an avid reader of books about World War II, I found this to be both informative and entertaining.
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This is a historical novel that takes place in 1933 during a horrific and dangerous time in Germany’s history. The protagonist of the story is Hans, who finds out that his mother’s parents were Jews who converted to Christianity. Hans struggles with the rising antisemitism in the country, in his school, and among his school mates, and how to keep the secret about his family. This is a coming-of-age story of an ordinary boy under extraordinary circumstances. In spite of its weighty subject matter, I think this book would appeal to adults and young adults alike.  I rate this book 4 stars. Thank you to NetGalley for advance copy of this e-book.
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A young boy living in Berlin, during the rise of Nazism, tries to navigate the issues of being a teenager, experiencing his first love, as well as the fact that he has Jewish ancestry.  Hans, the young man, is Jewish because of his mother's grandparents who had converted to Christianity years before. He becomes besotted with Rachel, the only Jewish person he knows. Torn between his growing love, a brutal unfeeling father, a mother on the verge of a breakdown after being let go at her job, Hans tries the best a young man can to defend Rachel, while also keeping the secret from all.

It's a sad story as we learn of Hans's struggles.  I did feel the author portrayed Hans as a wonderful young man plagued by the times he lived in and anguished because he could not protect those he loved. Half Notes from Berlin by BV Glants was an in-depth look at what it meant to be a converted Christian in Nazi Germany during the beginning years of World War II. Half Notes from Berlin by BV Glants presented a very real dilemma for Jews that had chosen to convert to Christianity prior to the time that the Nazi regime took over in Germany. Most of these converts saw themselves as Christians and felt that they were safe from the Nazis  Half Notes from Berlin read more like a Young Adult novel. I felt that the ending was abrupt and rushed and I did not feel any real connection with the characters in this book. Publication is set for October 4, 2022.  Thank you to Atria Books for allowing me to read this ARC of Half Notes by BV Glants through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Half Notes from Berlin by BV Glants was an in-depth look at what it meant to be a converted Christian in Nazi Germany during the beginning years of World War II. Hans was one of those youths. He was an only child of a mother whose musical talent allowed her to teach at The Berlin Conservatory and a father who had taken over his father-in-law’s business of manufacturing saccharine, a sugar substitute..Hans’s maternal grandparents had chosen to convert from Judaism to Christianity when Hans’s mother was a young woman. Hans had never been told about this nor had he ever suspected that he was anything but “pure Aryan”. Then one day, Hans had overheard his parents arguing. His mother had been terminated from her job at the Berlin Conservatory because she was half Jewish. With this new knowledge, Hans became increasingly curious about his Jewish ancestry but he had to keep this new information to himself. Life for Jews living in Berlin in 1933 was becoming increasingly more and more dangerous and extremely hard. If anyone suspected that he had Jewish blood in him, Hans was sure that he would be ostracized, bullied and his life would change drastically. In order to appease his curiosity about Judaism, Hans decided to befriend Rebecca, a Jewish girl in his class. Rebecca and Hans developed a very intricate friendship that led to both of them having feelings for one another. Hans’s friends viewed his friendship with Rebecca as troublesome and simply wrong. His friends started to ignore him but also tried to get Hans to end his infatuation with the Jewish girl. In another lifetime, perhaps the feelings that Hans and Rebecca were developing for each other could have been recognized and accepted. In the time they lived, though, it was forbidden and very dangerous. Eventually, Hans was shamed into joining the Hitler Youth even though he had tried to avoid it for so long. Things at school, were changing very fast. All in attendance had to declare their heritage. Jewish students would no longer be able to attend school. How would Hans report his heritage? What would his ultimate fate be? How long would Hans be able to hide that he had Jewish blood in him even though he never practiced Judaism in his entire life? What would happen to his mother, father and grandparents?

Half Notes from Berlin by BV Glants presented a very real dilemma for Jews that had chosen to convert to Christianity prior to the time that the Nazi regime took over in Germany. Most of these converts saw themselves as Christians and felt that they were safe from the Nazis. The Nazis, however, saw anyone with even the tiniest amount of Jewish blood in them,  no matter how long ago it existed, as Jewish. No one was safe from the scrutiny of the Nazis. Half Notes from Berlin read more like a Young Adult novel. I felt that the ending was abrupt and rushed and I did not feel any real connection with the characters in this book. Overall, this was not a book that stood out for me.  Publication is set for October 4, 2022.

Thank you to Atria Books for allowing me to read this ARC of Half Notes by BV Glants through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Title: Half Notes From Berlin
Author: B.V. Glants
Release Date: October 4th, 2022
Page Count: 275
Start Date: September 24th, 2022
Finish Date: October 1st, 2022

Review:
Story: I enjoyed the book very much. I felt like I was really invested in it from the very beginning. I did think that there were parts that were glossed over. It also kind of left me with a very unfinished feeling. I'd be okay with a sequel. I know that it's referenced things that happened after that point, but only to an extent. I just kind of felt like I was left with more questions than answers when it was all said and done. 
Characters: This is one of the books where I just didn't care for the main character at all. I didn't dislike him though. I just wanted to shake some sense into him. I mean I get it. He's young. He was just all over the place though. 
Critiques: There are many things that are referenced in this book that I would have liked to see more elaboration on. I don't want to say too much because some of them are at the end of the book and I don't want to give spoilers. I do feel like this story begs for either a sequel or an epilogue. Something to tie the loose ends together and explain what happened to certain characters better as well. 
Final Thoughts: I really did enjoy this book very much. I can't say I was in love with it or that it was one of my favorites. I had a wonderful time reading it though. If it weren't for the parts that I felt like should have been elaborated on more, I would actually love this book and probably make it a reread. As it were, I'd still recommend this book. I love how raw and realistic it is.
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Half notes from Berlin by B V Glants thanks to the author and Net Galley for the ARC

As the specter of war looms, 15 year old Hans grows up in a school that is increasingly violent towards Jews, especially his friend, Rebecca. As he struggles with the newly acquired knowledge of his family’s origins, his disgust of the hitler youth movement and his mothers dismissal from her job, he learns that there are limited ways forward in his life. Very interesting coming of age story in pre-WWII Berlin.
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A young boy living in Berlin, during the rise of Nazism, tries to navigate the issues of being a teenager, experiencing his first love, as well as the fact that he has Jewish ancestry. 

Hans, the young man, is Jewish because of his mother's grandparents who had converted to Christianity years before. He becomes besotted with Rachel, the only Jewish person he knows. Torn between his growing love, a brutal unfeeling father, a mother on the verge of a breakdown after being let go at her job, Hans tries the best a young man can to defend Rachel, while also keeping the secret from all.

It's a sad story as we learn of Hans's struggles. He witnesses vile acts against others, and when all Jews are expelled from school, his heart breaks.

Hans went on keeping his secret, trying to aid his mother, while fighting in the service of Hitler. She later dies being found out about being a Jew and sent away, while his father divorced her and remarried his secretary who he was carrying on an affair with.

I did feel the author portrayed Hans as a wonderful young man plagued by the times he lived in and anguished because he could  not protect those he loved.

Thank you to B.V.Glants, Anchor Media, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this story due out in October of 2022.
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Torn between his love for his Jewish classmate and his love for his country, a young man tries to have both in war time Germany.
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I found this very disappointing. In my opinion, Hans didn’t have many redeeming qualities. Every time he had a chance to step up and defend his mother, grandmother, Rebecca, himself…he failed. Time after time, he stood by and let things happen. 
I don’t recommend this book at all.
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This was an excellent story about the Holocaust from the point of view of a young Hitler Youth who is half Jewish.I enjoyed the characters and appreciated the love story and family ties. I read recently that readers want all Holocaust stories to end happily. I really wanted more at the ending iof this story - more. resolution.
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Half Notes from Berlin by B. V. Giants is a coming of age story during the rise of Hitler. Hans, a young teenager, is trying to understand Hitler's anti-Jewish propaganda and laws while learning his grandparents are Jews who converted to Lutheranism. He wants to be accepted and liked by his peers, but he also wants to stick up for Rebecca, his Jewish girlfriend. it is interesting to see how peer pressure works o both teens and adults. 

I'll be honest and say this is a book I forced myself to finish. I did not enjoy it and would recommend it hesitantly.  I was able to read an ARC in #NetGalley.
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B. V. Glants has created a story that shows a fascinating perspective on the Holocaust in Half Notes from Berlin. In this story, Hans is a teenager in Berlin who did not know of his own Jewish ancestry. As Hitler rises to power and growing anti-Semitism sweeps through Berlin, Hans is forced to reckon with the secrets his parents have kept from him and whether he will, or even can, keep them hidden. In general, this is a coming-of-age story in which the protagonist grows up physically and emotionally in the face of desperate times. The story tells the simple progression of adolescence through first crushes, conflicts with friends, and the normal desire for independence and self-expression, but the growing Nazi influence and power lend the story its tension and suspense.

This story is an excellent addition to a classroom library on World War II and the Holocaust because of its unique slant on the Jewish experience in pre-war Germany. From Hans' perspective, no one knew or really cared about one's Jewish blood before the war. He didn't know about his own ancestry, nor did anyone care about his mother's, even though both of his grandparents were Jews who converted to Christianity. Hans had classmates who were Jewish, but he never knew or cared until the restrictions and persecutions began. Glants provides such an interesting picture of pre-war life, and one that helps readers understand why so many Jewish Germans chose to remain in Germany even when the restrictions and abuse began, believing that normalcy would soon return.

While this story has a teen narrator and protagonist and is set primarily in the world of adolescents, some YA readers may struggle with the language, tone, and style which reads as much more adult historical fiction or even biography or memoir, rather than YA historical fiction. The author gives a great deal of self-analysis to the main character, so the story reads as a backward-looking analysis of Hans' experience more than a gripping drama with stakes and rising action. While that may discourage some YA-aged readers from selecting this book, it is such a worthwhile read. Its message on the frightening power of a government that propels or condones racism, segregation, or widespread abuse of one group is terrifying and one that we must always remember. Glants' details about book-burnings, self-identification, loss of jobs and patronage, pressured membership in groups like Hitler Youth, and more are accurate, detailed, and authentically depicted. These alone will help readers see the progression of Hitler's plans and the way Germany fell under the Nazi heel. This book could be used effectively as a companion to a study of the pre-war years. Glants mentions multiple events in the Nazi's rise to power, but many are mentioned briefly or not described. They do not hamper comprehension or the story's progress, but students could dig into these, researching them and seeing how Hans' perspective was similar or different than the historical timeline of the period. In all, this is an important story and one that could be a great addition to a history teacher's library or a classroom studying literature from the Holocaust.
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