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Publisher's Summary

A stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel, perfect for fans of The Nightingale, Schindler's List, and All the Light We Cannot See, about 12-year-old Hannah Rosenthal's harrowing experience fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany with her family and best friend, only to discover that the overseas asylum they had been promised is an illusion.

Before everything changed, young Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. But now, in 1939, the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags; her family's fine possessions are hauled away; and they are no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. Hannah and her best friend, Leo Martin, make a pact: whatever the future has in store for them, they'll meet it together.

Hope appears in the form of the SS St. Louis, a transatlantic liner offering Jews safe passage out of Germany. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthals and the Martins depart on the luxurious ship bound for Havana. Life on board the St. Louis is like a surreal holiday for the refugees, with masquerade balls, exquisite meals, and polite, respectful service. But soon ominous rumors from Cuba undermine the passengers' fragile sense of safety. From one day to the next, impossible choices are offered, unthinkable sacrifices are made, and the ship that once was their salvation seems likely to become their doom.

Seven decades later in New York City, on her 12th birthday, Anna Rosen receives a strange package from an unknown relative in Cuba, her great-aunt Hannah. Its contents will inspire Anna and her mother to travel to Havana to learn the truth about their family's mysterious and tragic past, a quest that will help Anna understand her place and her purpose in the world.

The German Girl sweeps from Berlin at the brink of the Second World War to Cuba on the cusp of revolution, to New York in the wake of September 11, before reaching its deeply moving conclusion in the tumult of present-day Havana. Based on a true story, this masterful novel gives voice to the joys and sorrows of generations of exiles, forever seeking a place called home.

©2016 Armando Lucas Correa. All rights reserved. (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    141
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it.

Best book I have read this year. Narrator exceptional. Read for sure!!!!
Learned a lot too.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Slow

It was difficult to finish the book. I was having trouble getting into the story. It was not a great story line, could have been a lot shorter.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Masterpiece

It's a masterpiece… A book I found difficult to put down.. this novel which in many cases could be a biography or documentary to Many,filled my heart with anticipation,love sadness,loss and happiness. Thank you Armando

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely tear jerking story

I got through 2 tissue boxes by the time I finished the book. It makes you nostalgic for a life you never lived. Through each chapter you are transported in a time capsule enveloped in tragedy and sorrow. I recommend to all.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Very Disappointed

A warning to fans of Sarah’s Key: the promise that this book is “perfect for fans of Sarah’s Key” is ludicrous. The two stories are incomparable!! What’s the link?? Because this story happens to mention the Vel d’Hiv in passing?? GRRRRR. Don’t fall for it!!

The story line of Hannah’s life in pre-war Berlin, her escape to Cuba, and the story of the Voyage of the St Louis were all very interesting… when I could find them! I don’t know if it was it because it was told from the point of view of a child or if it was the narrator, but the ethereal quality of the writing made it hard for me to really get into the book. All the descriptions of dreams / visions / fantasies just confused me and on more than one occasion I was perplexed wondering: “is this really happening or is she just thinking it?” It was equality true for Anna and Hannah’s stories… it was all hidden behind some flourishy veil, ever so slightly (yet frustratingly) out of reach.

Regarding the audio, I think two separate narrators would have been a better way to go. In the beginning I was often mixed up between the two protagonists (Anna and Hannah) since they kept talking about their dreams and thought and feelings, it wasn’t until they started talking about what was happening around them was I able to anchor myself in place. I particularly didn’t like the narration because I have close to zero-tolerance for bad accents – this narrator’s French and German pronunciations were atrocious.

I was very disappointed overall.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Pickering, Ontario, Canada
  • 11-16-16

good story.

the story is heart wrenching yet there are many moments of joy that lighten the tragic events of the story.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

This is a YA book better suited for Tweens

I could barely get through this book, almost returned it. It is a story of never ending melancholy, despair and depression. Too much detachment between the characters and their stories. The author completely white washes the horrors of Nazi Germany and the Jewish struggle. The whole book could have been written in one chapter as it was one long deep sigh.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • Tucson, AZ, United States
  • 10-28-16

Just okay

I thought the history behind this story was the most interesting part. I felt the experiences, thoughts etc of the characters seemed a little off for 12 year old girls. The different languages would have been lovely but the accents were terrible in both French and German. Find a native speaker please!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Troubling Book

I'm writing this several weeks after finishing the book, because it is still bothering me. Some of the smaller problems have drifted from my mind, but what remains is troubling. I'm honestly not sure what the target audience is for this book. Much of it reads like the typical pap dished out to the young adult audience these days. You know the sort; the children or teens are amazingly more wise and intelligent than the adults in their lives... In this case, we even have eleven-year-olds talking about becoming engaged, and it's amazing how they are able to outsmart the Nazis. One little guy even develops a plot to force their ship to be able to land, and the adults accept his leadership. Right. However, the last part of the book reads as if aimed at an older group, so I was a bit confused.

However, that's not what bothers me the most - unless it really is aimed at teens. This story is totally obsessed with death, especially murder and suicide. It opens with a little girl debating ways of murdering her parents. I really wish I'd stopped reading it right then. Later, the obsession becomes cyanide poisoning, including a long discourse on why it's such an excellent way to go, and numerous mentions of parent/child murders - both directions. We are also treated to a rather gruesome, detailed description of how such a scene would play out. I'm not a wimp; I read a fair amount of true crime and watch shows like FBI Files, but this is possibly the most uncomfortable I've ever been while reading about a death.

As I said earlier, if this is aimed at an audience the age of the protagonist, it's totally scary. I can't imagine letting young people read something like this, especially in this troubled time, and honestly, this is one of the few books I've ever read that I wish I hadn't.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A good diversion

One purpose of fiction is to take one away from daily life which this novel does. I’m swiftly becoming to dislike a seeming trend in current fiction where chronological settings change often. It’s becoming passé in my estimation.

The story is decent and kept me interested, but it cannot be compared to The Nightingale under any circumstances.

And I’m a stickler for proper pronunciations especially foreign languages. Since I know Spanish, French and German, I picked up on all of them. Although there were only a few mispronunciations, I just cannot understand why publishers or producers do not find narrators who can properly narrate a story. However, overall the narrator is acceptable.