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Oranges for Christmas

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  564 ratings  ·  49 reviews
What would you do if your family was trapped behind the Berlin Wall?

Berlin. August 1961. The Cold War rages. When the Berlin Wall suddenly divides East from West, Sabine is separated from her beloved brother, Dieter. Escape to the West is the only option if the family is to be reunited. But the Wall is guarded by soldiers operating a shoot to kill policy. To make matters
Paperback, 308 pages
Published November 25th 2013 by Margarita Morris (first published October 26th 2013)
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Average rating 4.30  · 
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 ·  564 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Aamil Syed
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 130-challenge
This story is about the hard, gray lives of the people in East Germany. Despite painting a realistically grim picture, the story itself is far from a sad one. Nobody wants to read a miserable story, and Margarita makes sure that hers is far from one. She writes about characters that are full of optimism and vigor. These characters don’t surrender to the circumstances, but they are also not overzealous. They strike a fine balance and do only what is practical and sensible for them.

In different
Steve Morris
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sabine is 17 years old and lives in East Berlin. Her brother, Dieter works in West Berlin. During the Cold War years of the 1960s, Berlin is a city divided by two opposing ideologies – Dieter enjoys the freedom and prosperity of life in the West, while Sabine lives in an economically-failing country where freedom of speech is outlawed and the agents of the state security (Stasi) are everywhere.

When their city is physically divided by the construction of The Wall in 1961, Sabine and Dieter can no
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014, kindle
Although Oranges for Christmas has a seventeen-year-old protagonist and a story that’s a good fit for the YA audience, that label might be limiting in a way it doesn’t deserve. It’s also undeniably historical (taking place in the early 60s), which prompted my major takeaways from the story.

At least some of the history of the Berlin Wall I’d learned and largely remembered. Things like it going up overnight (initially the “wall” was just coils of barbed wire which isolated East Berlin from West
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have never read a book about the creation of the Berlin Wall and its effects on East and West Berlin before. I am old enough to remember watching on the nightly news coverage of people trying to escape. I had forgotten that it started with coils of barbed wire in 1961.I will never fort the many attempts to escape to the West, especially of a young man named Peter shot as he was trying to climb over. This book brought all the emotions back plus it gave me more insight as to what was going on in ...more
Edyta Kuźma
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! Possibly the best book I have read in a very long time. A moving story about a family torn between the East and the West, includes some very raw details about how the Stasi treated people. Very detailed and correct in terms of history. I don't know what to do with myself now that I have finished!!
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a typical historical fiction novel telling the story of a family living on both sides of the Berlin wall. Whilst a little bit slow at the beginning, the book soon becomes a page-turner. The plot is really strong and the characters feel very real. It has the right mixture of fiction and historical facts. The story oscillates between Dieter (living on the Western side) and Sabine (living on the Eastern side), both plotting to reunite the family in West Berlin. I really enjoyed reading this ...more
Adam Bradbury
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book that I would have chosen to read if left to my own devices....I am a fifty year old man who loves his sci fi and Margarita Morris describes herself as a writer of historical fiction for a YA audience. My partner and I sometimes buy each other books that are wild cards and for my 50th she got me ‘Oranges’. It’s the story of a brother and sister who find themselves on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall.

Why I loved it.....

It’s a fantastic story that’s really well told.

I am always
Dipika Bangera
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An extremely beautiful book.

The story of the great Berlin divide into East and West Berlin. I could actually put myself in place of the main protagonists. It is a personal story about family members being seperated by a wall which cropped overnight and the disastrous effects on their lives.

Though it is fictitious the emotions are quite genuine.In reality, the wall took 28 years to finally be broken down and reunite families but till then a lot of emotional damage occurred.

Well written
I had such hopes for this book! I was hoping for a good book for my mid-grade students about the Cold War, and this could have fit the bill. Until at the half-way mark Morris starts sprinkling F-bombs. I can't recommend a book like that. Completely unnecessary. Disappointing. The story was good enough otherwise, though I was distracted by the awkward working in of German words and phrases. Oh well. Back to the drawing board.
Denise Ursuy
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I read this genre because of our book club. I wasn’t too excited to read this book BUT it turned into a book I could not put down. It is captivating with all the issues, the fear this family went through. I could go on and on with my opinions...I would highly recommend and give it 5 stars.
Beata Dobrogoszcz
I started reading this book shortly before Christmas being in a Christmas mood. No idea why because it is not a Christmas story. Then I stopped and finished it much later. I loved it but it was an emotional reading. The story envelops around Sabine, her sister Brigitte, their mother and her brother Dieter. The time and place: Berlin, August 1961, The Cold War, when the Berlin Wall brutally divides East from West. The time when the families and loved ones suddenly find to be separated and not ...more
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Experience Cold War Berlin in this excellent historical read for young and old

This is a YA novel and doesn't have quite the depth of some works intended for more general consumption. However, like "Code Name Verity" it does not shy away from the atrocities committed by the officials of the ruling party, in this case the Stasi. As a result, the reader is presented with a clear picture of life in East Berlin in 1961 as the Wall was being built - food shortages, the agony of families divided by the
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-2019
One day in August 1961, the inhabitants of Berlin wake up to find that their city has been physically separated by what is to become the Berlin Wall. For 17-year-old Sabine, this means a permanent separation from her older brother Dieter who lives and works in what is now the small enclave of West Berlin - permanent, that is, unless Sabine and her mother and sister find a way to escape to the West. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Wall, Dieter has joined a small group banding together to ...more
Actually closer to 3.5*
Not sure the target audience for this book but it might have been teens according to the style of writing. Not a complaint, just an observation.
I read this for a discussion group and there is plenty to discuss, IMHO. I love it when a book has me going to the internet and the library to learn more about the time period and place in an historical novel. I was surprised to read that some of the events actually did happen. I liked the characters too and after I finished the
Rachel Menke
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
I was 6 when the Berlin Wall came down. My first grade teacher visited the wall and brought us each back a piece of rubble and I remember her telling us that it was a big deal but in first grade what do you really understand of that? As I’ve grown I understood that living in East Germany and East Berlin was not pleasant but until reading this book I had not understood just how terrible it was and how the East Germans made this change overnight. This book was not only eye-opening to a period of ...more
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do not let this title deceive you. This is not a book about Christmas. My rating is actually 3.5 stars. As historical fiction is my favorite genre, this book was an important insight in to the Berlin wall that was begun in 1961 and was finally dismantled 28 years later. How do two governments just build a wall down the middle of the city dividing families, communities, habitats, etc. and get away with it. More of man's inhumanity to man and the stories of those who can see through the craziness ...more
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
This book was definitely a page turner. It also made the context surrounding the Berlin Wall very accessible and I enjoyed the embedded German which absorbed me into the geographical context. Personally, I felt there could've been more emotion displayed by the characters as It was difficult to engage with any complex thoughts they presented, sometimes I found their feelings had been simplified when it perhaps would've been more interesting if they were intrictate. But overall a good read that ...more
Holly Mowery
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful story told through such a tragic time in our history. While a fiction story, much research was obviously done to visually place the reader in East and West Berlin in the 1960's. The story was also engaging as the author three in many German phrases yet didn't leave the reader lost, but translated as if you were there in the experience. I think this would be a wonderful read for history classes to grasp this particular time period in our history.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting novel based on life in east and West Berlin when the wall was first erected. It was told from teenagers' points of view, which made it unique. Although we see the insidious oppression of the Communists, and the conflicted, despairing people, we also see the vitality of hope and determination. Worth reading!
Melanie Macleod
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Transforms you back to a world of fear

Great insight to life that I have read in history books but wasn't happening to me. You forget that there were people living through the history we learn about. There is always two sides to a story. Governments in both sides, with people stuck in the middle taking the brunt
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyable book of some seriously tough times

I was hooked reading this beautifully written story of love, bonds and determination. Lots of hurdles and compelling moments. I'm glad to have read this book
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This may be a novel but it reads like real life. The author must have spent untold hours researching the facts surrounding The Berlin Wall. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see if they made the tunnel correctly so all could escape.
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can’t finish this it’s too hard to read for all the suffering that went on, I lived I since my family left east Germany before the wall came up, but lots of family was stuck and hurting there for years until reunification of Germany
Chandru CS
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only way you could ever get

“Astrid, tell me the truth. What did you tell the Stasi about me?” “Nothing, I mean…” “Why was I arrested a second time? You told them about the tunnel didn’t you?”
Judy Hodges
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A moving story about a tragic time in history. In 1969, I went through Checkpoint Charlie with a group of college students. It was an experience I shall never forget. The author described East Berlin and the fear, despair, and hopelessness well. Thankfully, Berlin is a united city once again.
Dhruti Patel
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book gives real pics of Berlin Wall effects on both sides of the wall. Kudos to author for using simple language and even when German language was used, it was an easy read. Even though the book doesn't hide villains it kept me on the edge and doesn't reveal anything.
Rosalie Sambuco
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oranges for Christmas

This was a wonderful book. I recommend it to everyone who enjoys stories of WW II and the aftermath. I was not aware of many of the cruelties against the West Germans.
Rita Shire
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read! Realistic view of life in Berlin when the Wall that divided the city was built. Makes you stop and seriously think of the German peoples lives transitioning from one totalitarian government to another, from Nazism to Communism. A truly great book!
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this right before A Night Divided. A Night Divided is written for a younger audience. Very similar stories.
Julie Tombs
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful gripping story of occupants in East Berlin trying to escape to West Berlin.
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Shortlisted for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2014 with her first novel, Oranges for Christmas, Margarita Morris brings a love of history to her writing.

Margarita studied languages at Oxford and it was as a student that she visited Berlin and saw at first hand the effects of the Berlin Wall on this divided city. Years later this experience led her to write Oranges for Christmas about a
“I open my eyes and see a head hanging upside down. Grinning at me.” 3 likes
“Bernd doesn’t know what to say. He doesn’t know anyone over there, on the other side of the barbed wire. We’re sitting in a Kneipe in Kreuzberg drinking beers. It’s a bohemian place, the sort of bar that attracts artists, students and political agitators. Old copies of the weeks’ newspapers litter the tables and benches.” 1 likes
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