In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.
As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them?
Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants.
Annexed is Sharon Dogar’s vision of Peter Van Pels’ time in the annex with Anne Frank. The story switches from his time in the concentration camp, and in his delirium, returning to the annex, and dealing with a different kind of captivity.
Peter Van Pels is a reliable narrator, expressing his feelings for the girl Liese he loses at the beginning of the book, the irritation Anne’s endless optimism causes him, and the way he struggles with hiding for safety, rather than facing the nazis or rescuing his friends. As a sixteen year old guy, Being surrounded by parents, unable to leave the annex, Peter doesn’t have many outlets, and the alliance he forms with Anne is a gradual process.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed reading Anne Frank’s diary or Zlata’s diary, and wants the story of a boy living in hiding, or the idea of what one thought about in the concentration camps.
e-book ARC provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt