#983 – Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet

cloud-and-wallfish Cloud and Wallfish
Written by Anne Nesbet
Candlewick Press 10/01/2016
394 pages  Ages 9—14

A Junior Library Guild Selection

“Friends you make while the world is falling apart are friends you keep forever” [BACK COVER]

“Noah Keller’s ordinary, everyday American life is smashed to smithereens the day his parents tell him his name isn’t really Noah, his birthday isn’t really in March, and his new home is going to be East Berlin, on the other side of the Iron Curtain. It’s 1989, and everywhere all around countries are remaking themselves, but in East Germany the air is full of coal smoke, secrets, and lies. It’s not safe to say anything out loud in the apartment. It’s not safe to think too much about where you came from or who you used to be.

“It’s also about the least likely place in the world for a kid from America with a lot of secrets of his own (and an Astonishing Stutter) to make a friend.

“But then Noah meets Cloud-Claudia, the lonely girl who lives one floor down with her terrifying grandmother. Something has happened to her parents—but what?

“Armed with a half-imaginary map and a shared fondness for codes and puzzles, Noah and Cloud-Claudia have to find their way in a world where walls—and the Wall—are closing in.

“History, friendship, and intrigue collide in a dazzling novel that will have you seeing the world in a whole new way.” [INSIDE JACKET]

The Story
One day, Noah’s parents both showed up to pick him up from school. Their car was a rental, filled with luggage, and Noah’s mother is driving like a lunatic. Without warning, Noah goes on vacation—to East Germany, in 1989, when the Iron Curtain was real. On the way to the airport, while alone in the car, Noah and his parents must get their story straight.

Mom is continuing her research for a PhD in East Germany, exploring education in a communist country versus an open country like America. His dad will write the novel he has been trying to write, and Noah will enter the fourth grade, for the second time. Living below Noah, in the apartment in which they cannot speak, Claudia lives with her grandmother. Claudia lost her parents in a car accident. Noah and Claudia become good friends, despite the grandmother’s desires. She would prefer her granddaughter remain lonely and alone. In East Berlin, such a life could often be the safest life.

Cloud and Wallfish will certainly have you thinking about your own world and your safety in it. Anne Nesbet, using her time in East Berlin in 1987 and again in 1990, writes a historical novel filled with the troubled atmosphere of a country on the brink of change, from the perspective of two young children trying to find their own ways in this mysterious land.

Nesbet’s writing is clear, full of heart, and brimming with secrets from nearly every character. Noah goes to a school where he is expected to remain silent. Period. He and his parents take walks outdoor simply to speak to each other, and even then, ears are everywhere. Noah and Claudia (nicknamed Cloud-Claudia) meet in a rubble prone park to play. Food looks and tastes like yesterday’s market. How anyone could live in these conditions is amazing.

I have read many wonderful middle grade novels this year (Evil Wizard Smallwood by Delia Sherman, Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson, and Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson, to name a three of the best), and Cloud and Wallfish is just as worthy of your time and attention. Kids will love the well-placed humor, the Secret Files (explain events), and the endearing characters. Cloud and Wallfish should be on every high school freshman-reading list.

CLOUD AND WALLFISH. Text copyright © 2016 by Anne Nesbet. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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Find Cloud and Wallfish on Goodreads HERE.
Find A Teen’s Review of Cloud and Wallfish HERE.

Reprinted with permission from CLOUD AND WALLFISH © 2016 by Anne Nesbet, Candlewick Press.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Cloud and Wallfish
Written by Anne Nesbet
Candlewick Press 10/01/2016

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