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

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,914 Ratings  ·  206 Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Jacob Todd is about to discover himself. Jacob's plan is to go to Amsterdam to honor his grandfather who died during World War II. He expects to go, set flowers on his grandfather's tombstone, and explore the city. 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 ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 27th 2002 by Dutton Juvenile (first published January 1st 1999)
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Aug 27, 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 12, 2009 Katy rated it it was ok
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
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
Roger DeBlanck
Feb 01, 2012 Roger DeBlanck rated it it was amazing
In this beautifully-constructed, multilayered young adult novel, Chambers demonstrates his deft ability to intertwine two stories from different time periods. 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 Todd during the war. As the dual stories unfold, se ...more
May 17, 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
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
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
Jul 11, 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
Jul 10, 2017 Alessia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
È il primo libro che ho letto di Chambers, e l'ho adorato. Meraviglioso.
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
Recommends it for: mature high-schoolers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aj Sterkel
Oct 21, 2015 Aj Sterkel rated it liked it
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
Jun 15, 2014 Bettina rated it really liked it
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
Feb 05, 2012 Jen rated it did not like it
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
Josh Bender
Aug 23, 2011 Josh Bender is currently reading it
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
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
Sep 21, 2007 elissa rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 09, 2016 Eleonora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oct 11, 2013 Amanda rated it liked it
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. :)
Apr 18, 2012 Jill rated it liked it
Loved the first half. Then things started to fizzle out. Maybe the speed of the story changed at some point in there. Interesting incorporation of euthanasia--I agree with a lot of the things that were said along those lines.

"It is when success seems to be almost in your grasp that you become aware of how fragile is human existence, and of the unending possibility, almost the inevitability, of failure. And this makes you hesitate."

"At first I was squeamish, but I discovered then how quickly you
Dec 26, 2016 Anne rated it liked it
This coming of age novel is marketed as young adult fiction, but it is pretty mature, in my opinion. It is certainly not appropriate for anything below high school. The book won the Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature. It is the story of a 17-year-old English boy, Jacob Todd, sent by his grandmother to meet the dying Dutch woman who nursed his grandfather back to health from a wound incurred during a battle during WW II in the Netherlands. The book alternates between the past ( ...more
Dec 23, 2016 Ashley rated it liked it
Shelves: own, printz-award
Huh... I'm really not sure how I felt about this book... I really did not like it as well as I'd hoped/expected I would and I'm not positive about why...
I do know that the ending left me dissatisfied in some ways, and some of the pieces of the story didn't really seem to fit easily together... It felt like not all of the book was truly fleshed out and connected, a lot of the dialogue was awkward and strangely short, interspersed with long soapbox moments that imo edged very close to preachy.
Kara Davis
Dec 27, 2016 Kara Davis rated it it was ok
I didn't like this book but I was really young when I read it, possibly to young. I might go back and give it another shot.
Jul 20, 2017 Eline rated it did not like it
Beginning and end were interesting, although the end was not surprising. The middle part was very boring. Wouldn't recommend it at all!
One of my all-time favorite books. Really impacted me at a time in my life when I needed it.
Ringo The Cat
There are not that many writers of YA books who already wrote back in the day when the cat was part of the target audience for YA and who are still publishing today. Aidan Chambers is an exception. The cat still fondly remembers Dance on my Grave, published for the first time in 1982 (!), the second book in what would become Chambers’ Dance Sequence (the first of which was published in 1978, the last of which was published in 2005), about a boy and the events that led him to dance on the grave o ...more
Lao Tzu
Mar 10, 2017 Lao Tzu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Chamber will always be one of my favorites. He can write the simplest human emotions in a honestly beautiful way.
Nov 20, 2008 Jess rated it liked it
Aidan Chambers’ Postcards from No Man’s Land and Mal Peet’s Tamar are a lesson in how two books can seem to have exactly the same plot, but each can manage to be completely individual.

Similarities: each story is told from two points of view, one a modern British teenager and the other a young adult in the Netherlands towards the end of the second world war. In each modern narrative, the teen (a boy in Postcards, a girl in Tamar) is on a journey to learn more about their grandfathers. In each sto
Beth Bonini
Nov 19, 2015 Beth Bonini rated it really liked it
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
May 05, 2011 Meghan rated it really liked it
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.” 44 likes
“Is it better to go with the flow or let the flow go?” 31 likes
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