Cover image for Going over
Going over
Kephart, Beth.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco, Calif. : Chronicle Books, [2014]

Physical Description:
262 pages : map ; 21 cm
In the early 1980s Ada and Stefan are young, would-be lovers living on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall--Ada lives with her mother and grandmother and paints graffiti on the Wall, and Stefan lives with his grandmother in the East and dreams of escaping to the West.
Reading Level:
HL 790 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.9 8.0 164073.

Reading Counts RC High School 6.2 14 Quiz: 62598.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



It is February 1983, and Berlin is a divided city with a miles-long barricade separating east from west. But the city isn't the only thing that is divided. Ada lives among the rebels, punkers, and immigrants of Kreuzberg in West Berlin. Stefan lives in East Berlin, in a faceless apartment bunker of Friedrichshain. Bound by love and separated by circumstance, their only chance for a life together lies in a high-risk escape. But will Stefan find the courage to leap? Or will forces beyondhis control stand in his way? National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart presents a story of daring and sacrifice, and love that will not wait.

Author Notes

Beth Kephart's first book was a National Book Award finalist & was named a best book of the year by "Salon," the "Philadelphia Inquirer," & others. Kephart has won a 2000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 1998 Leeway grant, & the 1997 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts top grant for fiction. Her essays & articles have appeared in magazine nationwide. She lives in Pennsylvania.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In the divided Berlin of the early 1980s, 16-year-old Ada waits for her lover, Stefan, to escape across the Berlin Wall from East to West. But the odds are against Stefan making it over alive, and they are also against graffiti rebel Ada evading the notice of the authorities and the brutal punkers hiding in the alleyways. National Book Award finalist Kephart has re-created the inexorable fear and tension, as well as the difficult living conditions, of Berliners on both sides of the wall, especially those suffering under the ruthless oppression of the dreaded East German secret police, the Stassi. Ada and Stefan are representative of the families, friends, and lovers separated and destroyed by the wall; their grandmothers serve as poignant reminders of the toll WWII took on the European population. Subplots about the Turks recruited to help rebuild Berlin and the ignored danger to women in all parts of the city add complexity to an already difficult, seldom written about time in the world's history. This is a stark reminder of the power of hope, courage, and love to overcome the most taxing of human struggles: war, its aftermath, and captivity.--Bradburn, Frances Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Kephart (Small Damages) crafts an absorbing story of young love and conflicting ideologies set in 1983 Berlin. Ada, 15, lives an impoverished life in West Berlin with her mother and grandmother, while 18-year-old Stefan-who Ada has loved for years-lives with his grandmother in dull Friedrichshain on the other side of the wall. The plot shifts between Ada's life, which includes "graffing" scenes of heroic escapes on the Wall itself and visiting Stefan when she can, and Stefan's dissatisfied days spent working as a plumber's apprentice while developing tentative plans to attempt to overcome the wall, despite the potentially fatal consequences. Kephart alternates between the two teenagers' voices, with Stefan's voice written in second-person; deeply held desires for freedom and escape, both physical and artistic, radiate from each narrative. A subplot involving a Turkish boy in need of help gives the novel additional depth, and the sharpness of the lovers' separation is as deeply felt as the worry that they will never reunite. Ages 14-up. Agent: Amy Rennert, the Amy Rennert Agency. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-Stefan and Ada love each other, but they can only see each other four times a year. That is how often Ada and her grandmother can cross the border into East Berlin to visit the matriarch's best friend, Stefan's grandmother. As time passes, Ada obsesses about people who have escaped to freedom, but Stefan worries about those who tried and failed. He spends his days looking through his grandfather's telescope at the world around him, while Ada spends her nights creating graffiti artwork on her side of the Berlin Wall. While much of this story is focused on the teens and whether they can be together, other characters on both sides of the wall also get their own moments to shine. One of Kephart's strengths is her ability to immerse readers in 1980s Berlin, a time period that does not receive a lot of attention in most history textbooks. One subplot involves the plight of Turkish immigrants in West Berlin, and Ada becomes involved with trying to save a preschooler in her care from an abusive home. Kephart also uses plenty of sensual language to help readers feel the characters' aches and pains and to smell the smoke, dill, baked wool, and leather. This is an excellent example of historical fiction focusing on an unusual time period, and the author's note and selected sources list will be useful for readers who want to learn more about what it was like to live on either side of the Berlin Wall.-Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.