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Aidan Chambers
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Postcards from No Man's Land (The Dance Sequence)

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  1,750 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Jacob Todd is about to discover himself. His plan is to go to Amsterdam to explore the city and honor his grandfather who died there during World War II. But nothing goes as planned. Jacob isn’t prepared for love—or to face questions about his sexuality. Most of all, he isn’t prepared to hear what Geertrui, the woman who nursed his grandfather during the ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 11th 2007 by Speak (first published January 1st 1999)
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Aug 30, 2015 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"E ho spesso pensato, leggendo romanzi, racconti e poesie, specialmente poesie, che altro non sono se non le confessioni degli autori, trasformate dalla loro arte in qualcosa che vale come confessione per noi tutti. Infatti, se guardo indietro alla passione per la lettura che ha accompagnato tutta la mia vita, la sola attività che mi ha dato la forza di andare avanti e mi ha dato il piacere più intenso e duraturo, credo che sia questa la ragione per cui vuol dire tanto per me. I libri, gli auto
May 15, 2009 Katy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
how can a book be really interesting, but so boring at the same time? I can't put the book down when the story is being told during the war, but when it comes to the present I have to push myself to keep going!
Feb 21, 2009 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
Recommended to Beth by: Printz winners
Englishman Jacob Todd is seventeen when he travels to Amsterdam to attend a memorial to commemorate the veterans and victims of the Battle of Anhem, in which his grandfather and namesake fought. He plans to stay with the Dutch family who sheltered his grandfather when he was injured. Plans quickly go awry, and Jacob’s week in Amsterdam leaves him changed forever.
The development of Jacob seems inconsistent-in some areas precocious and in others, immature. Perhaps this is typical of teens his age
May 21, 2016 Fenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Come al solito mi ritrovo qui a scrivere su Goodreads una recensione a caldo.
Questo libro è stato spettacolare.
Mi sono immersa facilmente nella storia e mi ha sconvolta in certi punti, mi ha suscitato grandi emozioni, mi sono affezionata ai personaggi... e per queste ragioni mi ritrovo qui a dargli solo 4 stelline. Io volevo di più. Molto spesso si dice che è meglio accontentarsi, ma non con questo libro. Mi ha delusa profondamente il fatto che alla fine non ci fosse un capitolo che spiegasse i
Roger DeBlanck
In this beautifully-constructed, multi-layered young adult novel, Chambers demonstrates his deft ability to intertwine two stories from different time periods. The novel’s chapters tell alternating narratives. One story covers the travels of seventeen-year old Jacob Todd who visits Amsterdam from England for a memorial service honoring his late grandfather, with the same name, who died during World War II. The other story tells of Geertrui and her family in 1944; they care for the soldier Jacob ...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I put off this one for some time, not interested with the inadequate name and the dull looking cover, but found that I really really liked it once I got into it. The title and cover do make sense at the end of the story, but neither are appealing to teens who might actually like the book. While many of my classmates found the historical WWII love story much more compelling than the modern day trip to Amsterdam, I loved both as well as the unspoken dialog between the two. The feel of Amsterdam is ...more
Ken Bronsil
Jun 06, 2009 Ken Bronsil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well-crafted story. Chambers constructs, piece by piece, a compelling narrative of war, love, bravery, and honoring another's memory.

There are two narrators: Jacob, a seventeen year-old from England; and Geertrui, an aged woman in Amsterdam. Jacob is sent by his grandmother to meet Geertrui, who cared for his grandfather when he was injured in the struggle to free the Netherlands from Nazi occupation. His grandfather eventually died from his injuries.

Chambers writes with a great
Aj Sterkel
Oct 21, 2015 Aj Sterkel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I really liked half of this book and really disliked the other half.

In 1995, seventeen-year-old Jacob goes to Amsterdam to meet Geertrui, the woman who took care of his injured grandfather during World War II. Geertrui is too ill to spend much time talking to Jacob, so she writes him a letter that explains the secret love affair that she had with his grandfather. The chapters alternate points-of-view. Half of the book is about Jacob’s trip to Amsterdam. The other half is Geertrui’s letter.

I’m co
Aug 05, 2015 Anncleire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mi è piaciuto di più Danza sulla mia tomba, ma anche questo molto, molto bello.

Recensione anche sul mio blog:

“Cartoline dalla terra di nessuno” è il secondo romanzo di Aidan Chambers che mi capita per le mani e devo dire che mi sono innamorata del suo stile. Completamente diverso da tutto quello che ho mai letto fino ad ora, racconta storie incredibili con una facilità impressionante, che ti segnano e cambiano. Tra l’altro in questo volume Chambers mette i
Jun 18, 2014 Bettina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libs678, mass-comm
This book truly blurs the lines between YA and just plain ole good literature. While the protagonist, Jacob, is 16, there are two parallel stories going on in Postcards. The second story line weaves the love story of two teens deeply in love during WWI in occupied Netherlands, but it is told in the voice of the woman in her 80s. Additionally, while some of the themes are typical YA, self discovery, 1st loves, and so on, there are many themes that reflect on more mature ruminations- growing old, ...more
4.5 stars.

This book... wow. It's great. It's also difficult to review, so please bear with me.

If this book seems uninteresting at first, I can't blame you. The cover is dull, the title dry-sounding ("No Man's Land" conjures an image of the desert, and "Postcards" are relatively obsolete) and the book is BIIIIIG. It seems long and ponderous. Besides, the author was 65 when POSTCARDS was published, and it always seemed to me that older authors look down on YA/children's lit and write preachy, mor
Tim Fikse
Oct 06, 2009 Tim Fikse rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mature high-schoolers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josh Bender
Aug 23, 2011 Josh Bender is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Throughout the book it is told through two different view points. One view point is telling the story of Jacob as he goes to find more infomation about his grandfather who was in World War 2. The second view point is told through his grandmother who is back in the middle of the war and how her and her husband meet. There are many differences throughout the novel from American and Holland culture. Some of the main ones are that most of the cities in holland still have a midevil look to them as in ...more
Dec 24, 2013 Jen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Medal Winner 2003

Uncertain sexuality, polyamory, adultery, assisted death, AND a World War II story. How could this not win awards? *sigh* This definitely falls into the "not my thing" category, but the "not my thing" was so overwhelming that I find it hard to evaluate it free of that. I appreciate literature that asks me to get out of my comfort zone and stretch my understanding of the world, but this book gave me no comfort zone whatsoever, and no relief from the stretching. The two and a half
Jun 30, 2014 Marco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Non ricordo l'ultima volta in cui, dopo aver finito un libro, ho iniziato a sorridere come un idiota. Eccolo qua.
Questo libro ha tutto. Ha una struttura micidiale ed è divertente, commovente, profondo e appassionante, serio e giocoso allo stesso tempo (un po' come il protagonista, un po' come tutti noi da adolescenti, no?)
Le tematiche sono tante, e sono serissime, ma il libro non risulta un'amalgama incompleta, poiché a ogni tematica è dedicato il giusto spazio — senza contaminazioni.

Entra su
Jul 23, 2016 Gretchen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This book was a little tricky for me to evaluate. I enjoyed the historical fiction half of the book that told about Geertrui and what it was like to be in Nazi occupied Holland during WWII. Her voice seemed very real and honest to me and the story was about some situations I knew less about from previous readings. The book is intertwined with a story about Jacob, who is visiting Amsterdam in the present. He has a connection to the relatives of Geertrui, though his grandfather, a British soldier, ...more
Barbara Balke
Apr 27, 2016 Barbara Balke marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit-for-ya
This is a historical fiction book for students 14 and up. It is two stories in one. Jacob visits where his grandfather was killed and learns about his grandfather's past as he is developing relationships of his own.

Professional Review:

Kirkus Reviews starred (April 15, 2002)

Seventeen-year-old Jacob Todd has come from England to Amsterdam to honor his grandfather, also named Jacob Todd, a British soldier who fought and died in Holland in 1944. Early on, Jacob is robbed, meets a sexy woman who tu
Beth Bonini
This Carnegie Medal and Printz Award winning novel was published 15 years ago, but I don't think it reads as more 'dated' than it would have when first written. It is a thoughtful, complex novel -- very much of the 'coming of age' sort, but with a real philosophical bent. There are two storylines, one set in 1944 and one set in 1994 -- and somewhat surprisingly, the 'historical' storyline is far more compelling. Geertrui is the young Dutch girl whose family shelters wounded British soldiers afte ...more
Nov 27, 2015 Ilaria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Purtroppo non mi ha sconvolta ed emozionata come speravo.
Il punteggio per me si aggira di più sulle tre stelline e mezzo, credo di non aver mai passato quella fase tipicamente adolescenziale della vita in cui ci si sente persi e si comincia a capire qualcosa di se stessi. Non quella precisa fase nello stesso preciso modo del protagonista, motivo per il quale non l'ho sentito vicino e affine a me come sarebbe potuto accadere e non so neanche se anticipando la lettura di qualche anno sarebbe camb
Jan 29, 2014 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I grabbed this book to read I was frantically packing for a trip to Boston. I needed some reading material for the flight and, since I had recently moved, I couldn't find the charger to my Kindle. There were several titles already loaded on it that I was excited to read. Disappointed and frustrated, I snatched Postcards From No Man's Land by Aidan Chambers from my bookshelf, slightly glancing at the description on the back cover. It seemed like it would suffice.

Not paying attention while pa
Set during WWII and in the present, in Holland/the Netherlands. Another one that both my husband and I liked (although he doesn't remember liking it at this point!). One of my personal favorites of 2002, and I'm glad that it won the Printz, but it's a hard sell to most teens so it mostly sits on the shelf in many places.
Jul 22, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful and dense journey. Jacob is sent from England to the Netherlands on behalf of his grandmother. While visiting, he meets new friends and lovers, and learns the history of a teen's (Geertrui) experiences during Britain's attempts to liberate Holland in WWII.

The book alternates between Jacob and Geertrui's tale with ease. When the two stories finally unite, it didn't come as a surprise, but the fallout is executed beautifully. The dilemma that Jacob faces would make for an excellent dis
I really enjoyed another book that Chambers wrote, so I thought I'd give this one a try. It was excellent! This book makes me want to move to Amsterdam and have a Dutch family adopt me. :)
Mar 30, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent novel that follows two threads: one featuring 17 year old Jacob who has gone to Amsterdam to view the Anne Frank home and to put flowers on his grandfather's tombstone. He also plans to meet Geertrui, the woman who nursed his wounded grandfather at the end of World War II. The novel is told in the first person by young Jacob and also by Geertrui. This is a coming of age novel that deals with Jacob's facing sexual choices and also the choices a teenage Geertrui has made.
I question pige
Mary Louise Sanchez
Jacob, age seventeen, is sent to Amsterdam by his grandmother to honor his grandfather, who was buried there during WWII. A parallel story involves a young woman, Geertrui, who cared for Jacob's grandfather(also named Jacob) during the war.

In the modern story, Geertrui is now in her 80s, suffering from cancer, and will die by assisted suicide in a few days, but she wants to meet Jacob first and tell him about her relationship with his grandfather.

Beyond the plot, there are universal issues of l
Robert Ellington
Really enjoyed this book. Kind of interesting that I read this and The Universe Versus Alex Woods at the same time over Christmas break. Both had a common idea about death. PFNML was very interesting in the telling of the story from two view points. I'm also becoming quite a fan of WWII YA literature and this one was excellent (Holland in modern day and during the Battle of Arnhem). Quite colorful at points (and not sure just what that added to the story), but I really enjoyed seeing how the oth ...more
Geoffrey Fox
En 1995, 51º aniversario de la batalla de Arnhem en Holanda, un chico inglés de 17 años, tímido pero curioso, viaja solo a Ámsterdam para conocer a Geertrui, la mujer que cuidó a su abuelo malherido en la batalla. Descubre un secreto de la familia y a un primo hermano, y adquiere confianza sexual y los principios de madurez frente a problemas de la vida. En el curso de sus averiguaciones, vemos muchas escenas de la Holanda actual y en las memorias dictadas por la moribunda Geertrui vivimos momen ...more
Jul 09, 2011 Hilary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up, grad-class
Ok, perhaps I am not fully qualified to rate this book because I gave up. And before I gave up entirely, I gave up reading about one third of the chapters--the flashback ones--because the whole book was so boring, and those sections especially so, that I thought maybe it would help. I was (am) supposed to read this for class, but I just can't do it. I like the concept well enough--teenage boy goes to visit his grandfather's wartime lover and her family and figures out his sexuality while on this ...more
Nikki Warnke
Jacob is a 17-year-old boy who sets off on a trip to Holland to visit a battle site his grandfather fought in during World War II, staying with Geertrui, the woman who took care of his grandfather after he was injured in that same fight. After an embarrassing mugging incident and a chance meeting with a stranger, Jacob is forced to stay with Daan, Geertrui’s grandson, as he struggles to understand his thoughts and feelings in the midst of his present circumstances. The parallel story is of the W ...more
I read somewhere that This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn is the only book in the Dance sequence that has a female protagonist and now I don't think that's true, because Geertrui is clearly the protagonist of this book. She is the one who is preparing a manuscript for a single person to whom she is trying to express her story. That the person to whom she is addressing her story is also the protagonist of his own narrative written in the third person which occupies what I estimate as at ...more
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Wild Things: YA G...: Postcards From No Man's Land by Aidan Chambers 1 15 Jul 21, 2012 11:21AM  
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Born near Chester-le-Street, County Durham in 1934, Chambers was an only child, and a poor scholar; considered "slow" by his teachers, he did not learn to read fluently until the age of nine. After two years in the Royal Navy as part of his National Service, Chambers trained as a teacher and taught for three years at Westcliff High School in Southend on Sea before joining an Anglican monastery in ...more
More about Aidan Chambers...

Other Books in the Series

The Dance Sequence (6 books)
  • Breaktime
  • Dance on My Grave
  • Nik: Now I Know
  • The Toll Bridge
  • This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn

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“He thought: How difficult it is to explain yourself to yourself. Sometimes there only is, and no knowing.” 45 likes
“Is it better to go with the flow or let the flow go?” 29 likes
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