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Summer of My German Soldier (Summer of My German Soldier #1)

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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  14,821 Ratings  ·  951 Reviews
Minutes before the train pulled into the station in Jenkinsville, Arkansas, Patty Bergen knew something exciting was going to happen. But she never could have imagined that her summer would be so memorable. German prisoners of war have arrived to make their new home in the prison camp in Jenkinsville. To the rest of her town, these prisoners are only Nazis. But to Patty, a ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 203 pages
Published December 1st 1993 by Dell Publishing (first published 1973)
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Jessica I read a short article on this and it seems that the ending is a little shocking. I geuss when it comes to the younger crowd, this might be hard to…moreI read a short article on this and it seems that the ending is a little shocking. I geuss when it comes to the younger crowd, this might be hard to understand
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Community Reviews

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Ana
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
 photo photovisi-download_zpsu4maejtj.jpg

Even if you forget everything else I want you to always remember that you are a person of value, and you have a friend who loved you enough to give you his most valued possession.

#Fact 1 This story ripped out my heart.

#Fact 2 I can't believe it's taken me this long to find this book.

#Fact 3 I need a drink.

#Fact 4 This was based on the author's true story. Hence my need for a drink.

Wow. Where do I begin. Summer of My German Soldier has really taken me by surprise. In every way possible. T
...more
booklady
Jul 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone from age fifteen up
I wonder if I can ever do this story justice. It's about a young Jewish girl during WWII who befriends a German POW held in a camp near her small Arkansas town. That's the plot, but really it's about so much more: about learning to like and love yourself even when significant others don't; about salvific power of love and kindness; about true agape love.

Some might be tempted to reduce Summer to a modern day Romeo and Juliette story minus the romance, violence and suicides. It is about doomed lo
...more
Clare Cannon
Apr 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 12 years - adults

This book is still a beautiful ache in my heart long after I finished it. I don't know why it never came up in lists of recommended modern classics. It is not a feel good romance, but a beautiful story of courage, friendship and love, and of a young girl learning to filter out the unkindness and prejudice directed towards her to discover the truth and goodness of love.

Adolescents who are used to a diet of feel-good will need to be prepared for some heart stretching, but in the long-run, and wit
...more
Adam
Oct 18, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: my worst enemy
OK, I lied. THIS is the worst book I've ever been FORCED to read. Note to teachers, if you make your students read this, THEN YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM! Have you ever wondered why kids don't like reading? It's because of books like these. And, if you continue to say that this book ties in with whatever WWII lesson your teaching, then I truly feel sorry. Not for the teachers, but for the students. Plain and simple, this book sucks. To the teachers who make their kids read this, I advise you to ...more
Tracey
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio, netgalley, ya, wwii, 4-star
We never read Summer of My German Soldier in class (honestly, what did we read?), nor have I seen the movie, so this Open Road edition from Netgalley was brand new to me. I hadn't realized the main character and narrator of the story, Patty, was so young (12); my first assumption was that she was old enough for this to be a more common sort of love story.

It's not what I was anticipating, but despite her youth, it is a love story, of a sort, or of several sorts. It involves Patty's love for her s
...more
Madeline
Another book I was forced to read for school and consequently now despise to the depths of my soul. But really, it's crap on its own. A twelve year old girl, complete with an abusive father and lacking the three c's of an interesting protagonist (Confidence, Common sense, and Character), gets the brilliant idea of hiding an escaped German POW in her garage. And for an added dramatic twist, SHE'S JEWISH! How's THAT for exciting conflict?
Yeah, not so much. Simply put, this book made me want to vo
...more
Hello Goodbye
Nov 15, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IF U HAVE ANY SENSE IN YOU DONT READ THIS BOOK

now that thats over I tell you the truth......the screaming is what you are going to be doing on every single page of this book

there are so many things I would rather do than this, like get punched by everyone in my school or watch teletubies and dora for 1 week striat (never doing anything else)

seriously if you see thsi book burn it and dance around the fire laughing like a maniac
Will.i.am Schwartz
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This was one of the best books that I read. It had a lot of things going on in it. Patty is the main character in this story. She has a normal life, however, it becomes much more interesting as it goes. The setting of this story takes place during WWII. It's about the POW's (Prisoner's of War) and how one of them escaped. His name was Frederick Anton Riecker. Patty see's him at the local drug store that her family owns. He buys some items from her but there was something that felt special to Pa ...more
Julianna
Nov 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Historical YA Fiction
Reviewed for THC Reviews
Summer of My German Soldier is a poignant coming-of-age story about a young Jewish girl from a small town in Arkansas who helps an escaped German POW, an act which changes her life forever. This short young adult novel is packed with philosophical lessons on human nature that make it very difficult for me to describe, but suffice it to say that it is an amazing little book. I almost wish it had been longer, to give me more time to ponder its depths, but at the same time,
...more
Book Concierge
From the book jacket: From the minutes before the train pulled in to the station, Patty Bergen knew something exciting was going to happen. German prisoners of war have arrived to make the prison camp in Jenkinsville, Arkansas, their new home. To the rest of her town, these prisoners are Nazis. But to Patty, a young Jewish girl with a turbulent home life, one boy in particular becomes a friend. Anton relates to Patty in ways that her family never can.

My reactions
I didn’t include all the informa
...more
Katie R. Herring
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sweet Jesus I was not expecting this bittersweet ache.

After I finished reading I did nothing. And by nothing, I mean I wasted a good ten or so minutes of my life scrolling it away on Tumblr. But, I did see a post that really pertains to how I feel right now after finishing this book. "do you ever just finish a book and sit there for a while like what the fuck did this author just do to me" -galaxysdefender

Yes indeed that is exactly how I feel. What just happened? What are all these feelings tha
...more
Annette
Mar 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young Adults
Shelves: ya
When I heard that this book was about a romance between a 12 yr. old and a 22 yr. old I didn't think that I would like it, but it's not a mushy-gushy romance, its more of a friendship really.

My favorite character was Ruth. "Honey Babe",in my opinion this book would have been a complete wash if it hadn't been for Ruth.
I liked this book because it made me think. After I read it I was wishing that I had a group of people to discuss it with. If I were to lead a group discussion about this book, th
...more
Jamie
Aug 01, 2015 rated it liked it
While this book is well worded, I didn't feel anything for it. I really wanted to! I mean, talk about a forbidden romance! Jewish girl and German boy during the war? I expected excitement, passion, maybe danger...

Nope. Mostly dull dialogue between the two characters. While I liked both characters and loved seeing Patty mature throughout the story, I was hoping for more. I liked the setting and conflicts at home, especially with her father.

The ages of our characters is partly what put me off. Pa
...more
Greg
Mar 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
I remember nothing of this book, all I remember is the name stuck in my head and the fact that I hated this book more than almost any other book I was ever forced to read in an English class in middle or high school.
Dominic
Aug 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I find I've been reading a lot of YA novels about males, so my wife suggested I read this one, a favorite from her adolescence.

Turns out Patty Bergen is a fantastic young adult narrator, a girl who just may have the most wretched parents I've ever read about.

Summer of My German Soldier is a unique sort of book, and it is beautifully written. It is a story about the Holocaust, but it's set in Arkansas. It was a new perspective on this horrible part of our human history. Patty Bergen is a Jewish A
...more
Shauna
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is the first time I have read this book. It's hard to know what I would have thought when I was younger. As it is I was surprised by it, and loved it.

The story isn't quite what I expected. The writing itself is so good I couldn't put it down. First person is done very well. A lot of information is understood in the beginning without being spelled out for you. A nicely pulled off skill.

To really be able to appreciate this book someone would need to be old enough to know back history about
...more
Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜
I was forced to read this book in 8th grade along with George Orwell's 'Animal Farm'.

Want to know the difference in the two?

One possesses fantastic vocabulary, dark humor, and is an allegorical masterpiece of art. One is a chaotic mess of boring characters and is one of the most boring novels conceived in literature.

I'm sure you can figure out which is which.

This review is over with and this book is now gone from my memory....sort of.

Goodbye.
Chanel Judkins
Dec 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
I hated this book. It was depressing and awful. Also you couldn't even root for the love story because she was 12 and he was in his twenties. I would not recommend this book.
Julie
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Just read this in a few hours this week. I did not care for it, and I wonder why it is so frequently taught in middle schools. The main character is engaging, but all the other characters except for Anton are just a bundle of stereotypes. Her parents are abusive monsters with no redeeming features, quite one-dimensional; her nanny is perfect in every way, really the Mammy stereotype, I felt. And then there's the ickiness factor: the main character is 12 and the German soldier is 20. Most of what ...more
Ashley
Sep 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I wonder if Bette Greene knew, when Summer was published in 1973, that it would still be relevant in 2010? Summer of My German Soldier tells the story of Patty Bergen, a young Jewish girl growing up in rural Arkansas in World War II. Often the subject of her mother's criticism and her father's violent temper, Patty's only real friend is Ruth, the family's housekeeper. That all changes the summer Patty is twelve, and German POW's are relocated to Patty's hometown.

Patty befriends on soldier, Anto
...more
Jennifer Lafferty
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As with many controversial classics, this is the kind of story that initially provokes outrage from prospective readers when they learn the basic plot line, and understandably so; but those who give the book a chance are greatly rewarded with an amazingly well-written, powerful and poignant coming of age tale which focuses as much on maintaining the innocence and ideals of youth as transitioning out of childhood. I think of it as a story about humanity, compassion, unconditional love and what ca ...more
Josiah
Aug 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A person's got to think, otherwise that person's no better than a trained seal balancing a ball on his nose. If only that seal could think, he'd know he was making a thousand children laugh."

—Patty Bergen, "Summer of My German Soldier", P. 160

"Like the Bible tells us, when a man will lay down his life for a friend, well, then there ain't no greater love in this here world than that."

—Ruth, "Summer of My German Soldier", P. 130

I have heard quite a bit about this book before I began to read
...more
Lefulche
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness, this was possibly my favorite book in middle school! My mother gave me HER copy that she read as a teenager, so it was very special to me. I know I read it at least three times.

I am currently a freshman in college and have read many love stories since Summer of My German Soldier, but this book still stands out in my memory. The power of the forbidden love, the danger of a German soldier in the WWII American homefront climate, the intensity of the moral choice Patty has to make in
...more
emma grace
Summer of My German Soldier took some very surprising twists as the pages fluttered through my fingers. It did not take very long to read for a good reason: this is a really good book.

It is the story of an American Jewish girl who befriends a German POW. She has very few people to love in her life; her father mistreats her, and her mother is self-centered and doesn't really care about her. The only one she has is Ruth, their colored hired girl, who is the only one who really loves her. But when
...more
Laura Harrison
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite childhood books. I am pretty sure I discovered this one on my own at the library when I was around 12 or 13. I finished all the usual classics-the Wilder and anything prairie books, the Montgomery and orphan themed books, the Farley and Henry horse books, Alcott etc. I covered it all. Can't quite remember why this stood out for me; I am just grateful it did. This was my very first book with any kind of true thoughts of romance in it. It was exciting, sad (but not endlessly sad ...more
H.orses
Dec 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh this book was awesome! It is an amazing love story between a Jewish girl and an escaped German Soldier, it shows what they both with risk and how life during the war was for families. The main character Patty, lives with a dysfunctional family and an abusive father. Wanted by the police Anton will risk his cover and Patty with house the enemy. And in the end it all comes down to one memory that could make or break them both. With a surprising twisting end I loved this book and I wanted to kee ...more
Nicole Overmoyer
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Exciting news, fellow readers!

I have, inadvertently, just read one of the most banned books of the 2000-2009 era in school libraries! Summer of My German Soldier came in at #55, according to my Wikipedia-ing for background to use in this review. I am rather proud of this accidental discovery, and the reasons for my pride and happiness are many.

First and foremost, as evidenced by the photo of my book it is not a new book. No, I got this book in fourth grade - and I was in fourth grade before 2000
...more
Bobbie
Feb 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, a powerful young adult novel. This made me wonder what is considered "young adult". I am seeing several reviews by readers who were required to read this in school, but as a mother I would not have wanted my early teen to read this. I knew the premise of this story of a young Jewish girl who befriends a German prisoner of war during World War II, but I certainly did not expect the more serious and disturbing subject matter. I believe age as well as other factors should be considered when re ...more
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
This review was originally published at Fluttering Butterflies

I first read Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene when I was an awkward 12 year old in middle school. This book was required reading for our year and whilst a lot of other students groaned over required reading, I was always a bit enthusiastic about it. I found it interesting to read a book I wouldn't normally choose for myself.

And I remember absolutely adoring Summer of My German Soldier. I thought it was heart-breaking the wa
...more
Pixie Dust
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favourite childhood books. Rereading it now for the first time as an adult, I am convinced this is one of those evergreen stories that will bear rereading many times, and at any age.

Told from the first person perspective of the twelve-year-old Jewish girl, Patty Bergen, the story is rather bleak. As a Jewish girl living in a small Baptist American town, she already does not quite fit in. Furthermore, her parents favour her younger sister who is beautiful and talented, rejecti
...more
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How long am I going to be banned? 3 36 Jan 23, 2018 10:07PM  
Nobody is ever neutral abouy "Summer of My German Soldier" 1 21 Apr 25, 2015 11:24AM  
Making the reader feel and see what I see 1 6 Apr 25, 2015 11:05AM  
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Bette Greene’s award-winning classic novels will be celebrating 40 years in print!

As an award-winning author, screenwriter and news reporter, Bette Greene is read worldwide in over 16 languages. Bette continues her legacy of writing and speaking for the victimized. Within the heartbeat of her storytelling and the realism of her prose lies Bette’s demand that her readers feel what she feels and see
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“Even if you forget everything else I want you to always remember that you are a person of value, and you have a friend who loved you enough to give you his most valued possession.” 47 likes
“Like the Bible tells us, when a man will lay down his life for a friend, well, then there ain't no greater love in this here world than that.” 24 likes
More quotes…