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The Berlin Boxing Club

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  3,703 Ratings  ·  593 Reviews
Sydney Taylor Award-winning novel Berlin Boxing Club is loosely inspired by the true story of boxer Max Schmeling's experiences following Kristallnacht.

Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But the bullies at his school in Nazi-era Berlin, don't care that Karl has never been in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by attacks on
Paperback, 432 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by HarperTeen (first published April 26th 2011)
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Sarah It's a WW2 Historical Fiction book about a boy of Jewish decent growing up in Nazi Germany.
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Melissa Frye
May 25, 2012 Melissa Frye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Have you ever read a book that you knew had to be shared, not just with a friend or family member, but with the multitudes. The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow should be read by all teenage boys.
Fourteen-year-old Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But to the bullies at his school in Nazi era Berlin, it doesn't matter that Karl has never set foot in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by relentless attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as
Jan 29, 2017 Ângela rated it really liked it
This book broke my heart into little pieces...

" Would not you be interested in carrying an apple or, perhaps, some eggs? They are fresh from my cousin's farm.
I noticed how his coat was frayed. His eyes were damp and yellow, betraying his despair as he waited for my answer.
"Sure, I'll bring an apple."
"How about one for your sister?" Just a few more cents.
I hesitated. In fact, I did not have the extra cents to spend, but Herr Greenberg seemed to need them even more than we did.
"All right," I agree
Read this review and more on my blog

In a nutshell: A great historical novel based on the true - and new to me - story of Max Schmeling, a famous German boxer who helped two Jewish children flee in 1938.

I had been meaning to read The Berlin Boxing Club for so long. What finally inspired me was seeing it in a recommendations post on Tumblr and it being the only book I hadn't yet read, along with a heap of my favourites. It's not necessarily as 'wow' for me personally as some of those books, but I
Kira Simion
Nov 04, 2015 Kira Simion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the book's insight but, I couldn't feel the characters emotions. It was like reading an (autobiography) but mostly like reading a textbook of a story.

The author has real potential but, rather than "showing" us, the readers, he continues to "tell" us what happens, where the MC is, and I did like the story altogether but, I could've liked it more.

I found one or two grammar mistakes. "Our selves" should've been "ourselves" in one sentence and there was another that needed a capitalized lett
May 10, 2015 Sam rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There are layers to the pure and utter crap that this book contains.

Seriously, I was left in utter shock of the sheer crappery that is this book.

But hey, I'm fair. Let's start with the positives:

+ Boxing.

+ The book respectfully portrays the art of boxing.

+ People die.

- Actually I'm wrong. No one dies in this book. Death is only in mention and not actually shown in-detail. Another reason why this book is crap.

- The main character is a fedora-wearing brony that probably has a neckbeard.

- In anothe
Mackenzie Christensen
While I usually really enjoy historical fiction, especially World War II era, this book was a huge letdown. Poor writing, 2 dimensional characters...I rolled my eyes any number of times. There are many books about this era that would be better worth your time. I do, however, find myself more interested in the boxing world, Max Schmeling, and Joe Louis. A non-fiction book, or even a more concise fictional book, would interest me. But I don't see myself reaching for any other books by this author ...more
Caleb Beard
Jul 10, 2013 Caleb Beard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book!! It should be read by all teenage guys. Not exacty a girl book, but that doesnt mean girls cant read it. That being said there were a few issues with the book.
This book is set at the beginning of World War II and it is about boxing so you can expect some violence. Karl is beat up a few times. Bowing matches are held, sometimes on the radio, blow by blow. Kristallnact happens at the end, during which screams are heard and some boys break into Karls house, break things
Nov 14, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book at a middle school book fair. It is young adult, historical fiction based loosely on the true story of Max Schmeling, a boxing star in Nazi Germany. After a defeat to Joe Louis and after harboring two Jewish children in his apartment, Hitler was not happy with him any longer, and Max was forcibly drafted into the German paratroopers where he was wounded in combat.

But this story is not about him. It is about Karl Stern, a young boy bullied at his school in Nazi Berlin, even tho
Mar 18, 2016 M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A world war II lover who is looking for something unique
This book was highly enjoyable because it was unique and inspirational. There are so many books out there that are the typical all-the-same Holocaust stories (not that I don't love them), but this went a step forward. It was unique that there was something else going on in the characters life, which brought an exciting and unique aspect to the book. The story brought a lot of inspiration and hope because when times seemed to be so rough for Karl, he persevered and kept his dream alive that Max w ...more
Apr 30, 2015 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-alouds
At one point during the reading of this story, my son and I agreed it would be better in cinematic form.....a nice way to say the story is good; the writing - not so much.

The narrator's internal monologue did not seem to fit that of a Jewish teenager in Berlin during Hitler's regime. The external dialogue among the characters was very basic, making a mismatch between the mature themes and the weak prose.

Three stars for the actual storyline; it did generate an interest in Max Schmeling and his b
Julie Gardner
My previous foray into historical fiction was pretty blah, so I didn't have high hopes for YA historical fiction about a Jewish boy in Nazi Germany. I was pleasantly surprised by the original perspective of the protagonist who is not a practicing Jew and who comes of age at a boxing club amidst some very real, very complex historical figures. I only wish the author would have explored the comic book aspect a little more. I loved the parallels he drew with the new Superman and would have loved to ...more
Alex Baugh
Feb 17, 2012 Alex Baugh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
The Berlin Boxing Club is an historical fiction novel about a young secular Jewish teen coming of age in Nazi Germany between 1934 and 1939. Karl Stern has never considered himself a Jew and his Aryan looks have always helped him get away with that. But not anymore.

After receiving a vicious beating by some former friends turned Hitler Youth bullies, Karl has the good fortune to meet boxing champion Max Schmeling, who knows immediately that he had been beaten up. He offers to give Karl boxing le
Mar 11, 2015 Chelsea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
During this quarter I read the book “The Berlin Boxing Club” by Robert Sharenow. Karl Stern lives in Berlin, Germany with his sister Hildegard and his parents. His father is owns an art store but makes very little income. Karl is sent on under the table jobs by his dad just so they can try and get by. Karl has never thought of himself as Jewish. When the war starts, that changes. His friends turn against him, his teachers turn against him, even his girlfriend eventually turns against him. When ...more
La stella nel pugno è un romanzo di formazione ambientato nella Germania degli anni ‘30, in cui ci vengono narrate le vicissitudini di un giovane ragazzino ebreo la cui vita viene stravolta dal regime.

Inizialmente la vita di Karl è identica a quella di tutti i bambini tedeschi, e prosegue tranquilla anche durante la diffusione dei primi moti d’odio nei confronti degli ebrei grazie al suo aspetto ordinario e al fatto che la sua famiglia non è praticante. Ma quando alcuni ragazzi della sua scuola
Mar 01, 2015 Judah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy Ziegler
Feb 04, 2015 Amy Ziegler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine you live in a place where you're told you're scum. Everyone you've ever met starts to turn against you because you are what's wrong with the country. Why? You're Jewish . That's what happens to Karl Stern, a boy living in Nazi Germany just before World War II. Karl loves art and often helps his father with his art gallery. When a friend of his father's, a skilled boxer named Max Schmeling, offers boxing lessons as payment for a painting, Karl jumps at the opportunity. As he becomes more ...more
Over the past couple weeks I read “The Berlin Boxing Club” by Robert Sharenow. I thought it was a great book throughout. It is in the point of view of Karl Stern who happens to have Jewish heritage in the makings of Nazi Germany. He never thinks of himself as Jewish and keeps his heritage a secret, but somehow bullies at his school find out and harass him. In the beginning, his parents disillusion him to the situation his father’s art gallery has been put in by the Nazis. He starts out the book ...more
Nima A.
Sep 22, 2015 Nima A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished the Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow, a Realistic/Historical fiction piece set in Nazi Germany and based on the true story of legendary boxer Max Schmeling. The book follows a boy named Karl Stern who takes a great interest in cartooning from an early age and cherishes it throughout his life as a way to get away from tensions he faces. Karl is a frail boy and is beaten on a daily basis by a gang of bullies. This combined with the fact that he has a Jewish ancestry make him t ...more
Emma F.
May 20, 2013 Emma F. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow follows the life of one young Karl Stern during the rise of the Nazi party in Berlin, Germany. Other important characters include his younger sister, his mother, his father, and Max Schleming. The plot of this historical-fiction novel is based around the real-life boxing champion Max Schleming, who did actually help save two young Jewish children.

Karl Stern is a Jewish teenager who looks nothing like the Nazi-propaganda posters say he should. A
Nov 13, 2012 Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an unbelievable book. It was a truly touching, inspirational story, and a great eyeopener to the horrors that were performed during the great depression.
Alongside that fact, a couple specific sentences really hit home for me. The first one appeared after his parents had a major fight around page 180. "Race and religion didn't seem to matter in the ring, or if they mattered, they were points of pride or distinction." This one has a really strong meaning, even if it were unintended. It go
Jul 25, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This powerful and thought-provoking novel set in Berlin from 1934 to 1938 dramatically chronicles the impact of Hitler's rise to power through the eyes of Karl Stern. After suffering a humiliating beating by some pro-Nazi bullies, the 13-year-old happily accepts the chance to be coached by Max Schmeling, the champion boxer he meets at a reception in his father's art gallery. Boxing has never been one of Karl's interests, but it becomes his main focus. Prior to his humiliation at school, drawing ...more
Matt Turner
Feb 01, 2012 Matt Turner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Berlin Boxing Club was a very well written book by Robert Sharenow. This was the first book I have read by this author and since first impressions are key it's important to note that I would read another book by him. The book starts out with a boy named Karl who goes to school in Germany. He is a Jewish boy and boys pick on him constantly. One day a gang of boys beats him up."Franz threw several punches at my face, landing on my eye and the side of my mouth." (p.12) This is a quote from one ...more
Sep 04, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aimed at young adults, this provides a very different view of the oppression of the Jews under Nazi Germany.
Karl doesn't think of himself as Jewish, even though his grandparents were. He's never been to synagogue, and his parents are non-observant. His father's only passion is for modern art, and he has taught Karl that the beliefs of Judaism are too old-fashioned.
That doesn't matter to the Nazis, as they slowly change the laws and the rules of society. Karl's only escape is into the world of b
Although Karl Stern's family is not religious, they are considered Jewish based on the fact that three out of four grandparents were Jewish. Luckily for Karl, he does not have Jewish features, so his classmates and the public are unaware of his heritage. When his classmates discover his true religion, they beat him up. At an art auction, his father's friend, Max Schmeling, offers to give him boxing lessons. (Max Schmeling was a very famous boxer at the time who knocked out Joe Louis.)

Karl develo
Erin Cataldi
May 17, 2016 Erin Cataldi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, pizza-and-pages
Hands down one of the best fictional Holocaust novels for teens I have ever read, and I have read a lot! I could not put this down and finished this within a day. I love historical fiction and I love boxing so this book was a match made in heaven. Loosely based off of historical events surrounding the world heavyweight boxing champion from Germany, this novel centers on a young Jewish boy, Karl, in Berlin who gets the amazing opportunity to train under the great boxer himself. As anti-antisemiti ...more
Trent Pelzer
Oct 18, 2016 Trent Pelzer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a boy named Karl Stern. He is trying to live his childhood to the fullest. Although he is a Jew during the Nazi era in Germany. Hitler had just started ruling the country. All of the local schools started to enforce Nazi laws. Karl came home beat up because of his religion. That night his father made a deal with the famous boxer Max Schmeling. The deal was Max had to give Karl boxing lessons to own the painting of Max. Karl's new passion was now boxing. Would this help him get ...more
Darius Powell
The book I read was the Berlin Boxing Club. The book wasn’t that great to me. The book took a while to get to the point. It started out alright = but took a while to get to the climax. I hardly learned anything from this book. There were no morals in this book that would pertain to me.
This book started out promisingly enough - decent characters, plotting, writing, etc. I was frustrated by the fact of the characters being so simple and boring. Some of the character’s thoughts and the writing sty
May 21, 2015 Austin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. It starts out with the main character being bullied for being Jewish, which shows that racism has already somewhat taken its hold on society. From there on, he starts training for boxing with a champion boxer. While he is doing this however, things start to crumble around him that he doesn't realize. His father's business starts to decline, and his love life is destroyed. Soon, he even forgets his own sister, the person he was the most close too. Disaster finally strikes wh ...more
Juliet Webb
Nov 21, 2014 Juliet Webb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really great, interesting, surprisingly emotional and educational read about a young Jewish teen who finds himself through boxing. Karl Stern is a Jewish 14 year old who is going through the difficulties of the Holocaust. His family is blood Jewish, but they don't look anything like Jewish people and do not practice the religion. Karl doesn't understand why he is being interrogated by the awful "Wolf Pack" at his school and all the other people of Germany. When he is offered the chance ...more
Nov 12, 2015 Jess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought the book was phenomenal. It was extremely interesting and with every new chapter there was another problem. Some of the parts I didn't like as much as others, but still a great book. It is about a boy named Karl Stern, who faces the problems of being Jewish during World War 2. For anyone who wants to read a historical fiction book, this is the one I recommend.
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Robert Sharenow is an award-winning writer and television producer. His first novel, My Mother the Cheerleader, was chosen as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and a VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers.

He is also an Emmy Award-winning television producer and serves as senior vice preside
More about Robert Sharenow...

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“The weakest punches are thrown with the tongue.” 22 likes
“There's adventure in the air. . . and cake to be eaten.” 10 likes
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