Publication Date: September 7, 2021
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Ages 12 And Up, Grades 7 And Up
Hanna and Andreas will do anything to leave oppressive East Germany behind. There’s one escape route open to them, but can they survive it?
Hanna and Andreas have always been friends. When they’re expelled from school for activism directly challenging the socialist state in East Germany, they end up doing factory work. But what kind of life do they have to look forward to without education or opportunity? Especially when they aren’t allowed a voice? The choice to risk imprisonment or death by escaping to the democratic West seems like a risk worth taking. They set out to swim twenty-five hours across the choppy waters of the Baltic Sea.
Linke’s storytelling achieves a delicate balance between heightened moments of danger—searchlights, jellyfish, a Russian helicopter, a violent summer storm—and the monotony, ineffable fatigue, physical pain, cramping, fear, and hope that fill the rest of the journey. A memorable tale of two people risking all for a chance at freedom.
Story Locale: East Germany, 1989
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