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Sektion 20

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  223 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Alex Ostermann lives in an apartment block with his family in East Berlin. He hates the regime and his parents are worried that Alex and his sister, Geli, aren't displaying the correct 'socialist attitude'. After school they are often followed. Friends suddenly break off relations. The final straw comes when Alex is arrested. With the help of professional 'escape assistant ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 5th 2011 by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Cait (Paper Fury)
Somewhere around pg. 2 my eyes glazed over. <-- Not a good sign.

It's an incredibly interesting story about Germany in the Cold War form the POV of a teen. YAY! I read it specifically for that. I want to read more books about other countries, and everything about Germany for YA seems to be in WWII. While this isn't modern, of course, it's better than nothing. It was fascinating to see how strict and awful it was. Germany's divided by the Berlin Wall, and one side is all free, and the other sid
...more
Emma
Mar 13, 2012 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guest-reviews
Review by Beth

When I received this novel in my last haul from Emma, I have to say the cover didn’t impress me. It looked like it was going to be action-packed and adventurous which is not my usual style. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Sektion 20 is far and beyond one of the best accounts of post-War Eastern-Bloc Germany I have ever read and I’ve studied German History at degree level. This story worked perfectly, clearly showed how lift in the Communist East was far from the idyll that they po
...more
Glenn
Jul 19, 2015 Glenn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A much better book than Auslander - fast paced, suspense and a good insight into East Germany in the 70's...
Braiden
Dec 03, 2011 Braiden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

Firstly, there is one thing that I wish I had done: I wish I had read Sektion 20 after I had visited Berlin, after I learnt more about The Cold War, the Stasi, and the idea behind the Berlin Wall, and the rest of the history being there where it all happened. After I became to know the city inside out like a resident of Berlin does. But I hadn’t. I read Sektion 20 fourteen days before I left for Europe, for Berlin. It would’ve been wholesomely better and I more connected if I had exper
...more
Frances

Mini-review originally posted on Nightjar's Jar of Books.

Set in East Berlin in the 1970s, this book follows Alex Ostermann, a rebellious teenager who falls afoul of the Stasi for the grave crime of having long hair and liking rock music. As you can probably tell from my tone there, I wasn’t really able to take it all that seriously, though it was quite interesting in its portrayal of life in East Berlin under the rule of the German Democratic Republic. I just find it hard to believe that the Sta

...more
Lindsay
Nov 11, 2011 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful, compelling young adult novel, portraying life in the former East Germany from the point of view of a teenage boy who is beginning to struggle to deal with all the constraints that that society imposed on the cultural and lifestyle choices of its’ inhabitants. Alex and his sister Geli live in East Berlin in 1972 and are trying to grow and develop their own interests, his in music and hers in photography, but under the restrictive rules of the socialist realist dictates of the ...more
Simon
Feb 15, 2012 Simon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I once again fell victim to Kindle's Daily Deals with Sektion 20. The £0.99 seemed so inviting and the synopsis sounded interesting. It wasn't. Instead this felt like the type of East Berlin-based thriller you'd get in an episode of MacGyver or 1980s Mission: Impossible. The author writes at the end that he tried to offer a balanced portrayal of East Berlin and the DDR as many who lived through it talk favourably while others are highly critical. This is certainly not the impression I got. For s ...more
Maryam
Also reviewed on the blog: http://gloriousbooks.blogspot.com/201...


This was a new kind of read for me, apart from Between Shades of Grey I've never read anything based on any kind of war because it normally doesn't really appeal to me.

This was quite a good read for the most part. The problem for me though is that it doesn't completely keep me utterly engrossed in the story the whole way through. I only started to get into it around half way through even if exciting things happened throughout. It
...more
Brian
Dec 26, 2011 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teenage-ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Craig
I have read two other books by Paul Dowsewell and his new books are always pretty good. Although this book has a similar story line to Auslander, as the plot revolves around a teenage boy, who wants to escape his life once he realizes the world is not quite what the authorities tell him it is. Plus add a love interest that is not to mushy who he can relate to but that comes from a totally different background then his, and you have nearly the same plot set up. This book focuses on Alex who grows ...more
marta
I've lived for a year and a half in the ex-DDR and I'm interested in reading stuff about that time and, although my German isn't that bad, I still struggle with reading in that language. So, when I stumble upon books about the DDR in English (although I read this one in Italian, to be fair), I am always pretty excited because apparently all authors only seem to still care about writing about the Nazis. So I started reading with the highest expectations, because I found the plot pretty interestin ...more
Brooklyn
Mar 03, 2015 Brooklyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I choose to read this book because when I saw the book, it looked appealing and the blurb lured me Into reading the whole book. A character that I found interesting in this story was Alex. He is a boy living in East Germany, he is a smart boy but isn't showing a correct 'socialist attitude' in the minds of his school and the government. He doesn't follow the correct living way that East Germany have and is a usual rule breaker. My favourite quote is "socialist attitude". I liked this because it ...more
Ava Black
Jan 31, 2014 Ava Black rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book with low expectations because of the topic but still managed to disappoint me. The topic and the setting could have been great or even amazing but this book is just boring. I did not finish it. I had the feeling I was reading a bunch of information on how life was in DDR. The characters have no dept and every action or even word in the novel seems to be there just for the purpose of allowing the author to show he did research the time period. Yes, we get it. But I don't want ...more
Jacobo Ballester
Feb 09, 2017 Jacobo Ballester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my first full readings in English... I enjoyed it quite a lot, to be honest.
Kevin
May 14, 2012 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, germany
Alex lives in East Berlin. The cold war is raging and he and his family are forbidden to leave. But the longer he stays, the more danger he is in. Alex is no longer pretending to be a model East German, and the Stasi has noticed. They are watching him.Alex is told that further education will be blocked to him. His summer job is mysteriously cancelled, and friends begin avoiding him. His parents start to realize that leaving the East may be the only option left to them, but getting across the Wal ...more
Mark
Sep 20, 2012 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quite enjoyable YA novel that gives a great insight into what life may have been like in the DDR in the 1970s before the Wall fell.

The main character dreams big, but at times I didn't feel as invested in his plight as I imagine the author would have liked. In fact, I believe I would have got more enjoyment out of the book had I been following his girlfriend Sophie as her story was of more interest.

That being said the research into this time, and the attitudes of the teenagers all felt authenti
...more
Fiona Miller
the book is quite good but very obviously written for young teenagers. as a result i found it glib and patronising. the basic story is good but there is no real depth to the characters, the description of life in the East is done with a series of cliches and the plot itself lacks detail that would give it credence
Conny
Sep 23, 2012 Conny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boek over het leven in Oost Berlijn voordat de muur viel. Blijft een bizarre samenleving als de organisatie van die samenleving niet gebaseerd is op vrijheid van meningsuiting. Boek met historisch besef maar traag. In bibliotheken in de collectie voor jongeren. Ben benieuwd wat jongeren er van vinden. Is de spanningsboog voldoende om door te lezen en zo een vleugje geschiedenis mee te pikken?
Patricia
This story takes place mostly in East Berlin in 1972, when it was under Communist rule & two teens rebel against the strictness & dreariness of life, while their parents struggle to keep them on the safe & narrow path that will get them opportunities for a good education & job. Gives you a look at a way of life that no longer exists in Germany, since the Berlin Wall came down.
Soobie's heartbroken
Uhm, lo stile mi sembrava un po' banalotto a dire la verità.

È il primo romanzo di Dowswell che leggo. La storia è OK ma l'atmosfera che l'autore riesce a creare è veramente soffocante. Non fidarsi di nessuno, attenti a ciò che si dice, uniformarsi al resto del mondo...
Iain Gray
Feb 14, 2012 Iain Gray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I found that I could relate to the main character and could wholly imagine the situation and the need to question and rebel. The oppression Alex and his family felt was tangible with the description of school and life as a teen in East Germany shockingly clear. Great book.
Bryan
May 16, 2012 Bryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised that this wasn't as skillfully written as Dowswell's other book, "Auslander". Only 3 stars because of the amateurish style--it just didn't flow very well for me.

Toastdavies
Mar 22, 2016 Toastdavies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A smart, interesting novel about the cold war!
Wei Xiang
Jul 01, 2012 Wei Xiang rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clear depictions of sad life
Katherine
Aug 24, 2012 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-teen
An excellent way for children to gain some historical knowledge of life in East Germany under the Stasi.
Irene
May 11, 2012 Irene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found this book slow for the first half but definitely worth the read.
Michelle Barker
Gripping, unpredictable, and very informative. Couldn't put it down. My only gripe was with the POV which shifted awkwardly at times. But it was a great glimpse into life in the DDR.
Tara
Feb 26, 2012 Tara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, stand-alone
Good story, but brought down by bad writing. The entire thing was an example of why 'show don't tell' is so important, along with copious amounts of confusing head-hopping. :|
Mireille Bregman
Sterk boek voor (jong)volwassenen over het leven in het oostelijk deel van Berlijn in de Koude Oorlog. Dowswell creëert de wereld van de hoofdpersoon op zo'n manier dat je mee kunt leven.
Pamela Morgan
Alex lives in with his family in East Berlin. He hates the socialist regime and his parents are worried.
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