Reviews of The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin by Kip Wilson

The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin

by Kip Wilson

The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin by Kip Wilson X
The Most Dazzling Girl In Berlin by Kip Wilson
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  • Published:
    Mar 2022, 416 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Callum McLaughlin
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About this Book

Book Summary

A fascinating historical novel about Hilde, a former orphan, who experiences Berlin on the cusp of World War II and discovers her own voice and sexuality and finds a family when she gets a job at a cabaret, by award-winning author Kip Wilson.

After her eighteenth birthday, Hilde, a former orphan in 1930s Berlin, goes out into the world to discover her place in it. But finding a job is hard, at least until she stumbles into Café Lila, a vibrant cabaret full of expressive customers—and Rosa, the club's waitress and performer. As the café and all who work there embrace Hilde, and she embraces them in turn, she discovers her voice and her own blossoming feelings for Rosa.

But Berlin is in turmoil. Between the elections, protests in the streets, and the beginning seeds of unrest in Café Lila itself, Hilde will have to decide what's best for her future...and what it means to love a place on the cusp of war.

February 1932

February 25, 1932

RELEASED

I've looked forward to

leaving

the orphanage run by
the Gray Order of
Sisters of
the Holy Elisabeth
for eight long years


and even though I'm walking
away today with only a
handful of Reichsmark coins
in my pocket and

nothing

else except the rough sack of a
dress and woolen coat I'm wearing
I'm marching
out the door
without
looking
back.

LESSON LEARNED

When Gretchen left
six months
one week
and two days ago

she didn't

look back
come back
drop me a line


not even a single
Liebe Hilde

though she promised
she would.


DREAMING BIG

Gretchen was always
full of
plans

plans to make it big on
the silver screen like
Marlene Dietrich

plans to wrap
herself with pearls, paint
herself with lipstick

plans I should have seen
didn't
include me.

PLANS

I've been running
through my own options
ever since Gretchen left to
audition for the next
Fritz Lang picture

where she's probably...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Structurally, the story is presented in verse, but this needn't daunt anyone who struggles to connect with poetry. On the contrary, it's incredibly readable. The format serves to create the feeling that we are reading a diary — short, sharp passages that get to the heart of the protagonist's innermost thoughts and emotions. It is only during the final act that this stylistic choice can leave things feeling a little too rushed. More time to linger over the climax could have allowed for greater emotional impact and a more satisfying payoff at the story's end...continued

Full Review Members Only (540 words).

(Reviewed by Callum McLaughlin).

Media Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
[M]oving and inspiring...this is a model of well-researched and riveting historical fiction.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Recounting the months before Hitler's rise to power in 1932, Catholic orphan Hilde, an 18-year-old resident of Berlin, documents her life in a series of free-verse poems...The free-form verse is inviting and masterfully captures the mood and times...Educators and history buffs will appreciate the thorough and informative backmatter...Wunderbar!

School Library Journal (starred review)
[T]imely and relevant...This tale based on the real life of a young activist, supported by extensive back matter, belongs in all collections serving young teens.

Horn Book Magazine
Wilson does an exceptional job revealing Sophie's inner thoughts and feelings...simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking.

Publishers Weekly
While Hilde's predictable internal growth is disarmingly joyous, it's the era's politics—and their connection to the present day—that give the Cabaret-tinged story its urgent momentum. Readers eager to learn more about queer life in the Weimar era will find plenty of avenues to explore in the densely packed author's note.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Young Adult Novels Written in Verse

Novels written in verse for a young adult audience can be an excellent way to encourage reluctant readers of poetry to embrace the unique power of the form. While retaining a focus on character and narrative, the loose approach to structure and hints of more experimental language can increase the pace and heighten the emotional intensity of a story. Here are eight examples of novels aimed at young adult readers that showcase the strengths of this particular style.

YA novels in verse book jackets

The Realm of Possibility (2004) by David Levithan - The 20 narrators of this novel are all students at the same high school. Though each has their own story to tell, all are connected in some way. The members of this diverse cast contend with conflict related to their ...

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