Review of The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin

The Most Dazzling Girl in BerlinThe Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin
by Kip Wilson
High School    Versify/HarperCollins    416 pp.    g
3/22    978-0-358-44890-7    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-358-44776-4    $9.99

In 1932 Berlin, orphaned eighteen-year-old Hilde is seeking work and a purpose. She finds both (perhaps with implausible ease) at Café Lila, a gay nightclub reminiscent of Cabaret’s Kit Kat Club. There she is adopted into a family of queer underground entertainers; falls in love with sweet, sultry chanteuse Rosa; and finds her footing as a singer and songwriter. But even as she enjoys her newfound acceptance, Hilde can’t escape the political tensions that increasingly intrude on her happiness. As the Nazis gather power, Hilde must decide if she can afford to stay loyal to her beloved Berlin or if it is time for her and Rosa, who is Jewish, to flee. Wilson’s (White Rose, rev. 7/19) fluid free-verse novel aptly conveys the liberation and artistry of the time and place (Weimar Republic–era Berlin, in all its gritty, smoky glory), while also making the pages fly. Fans of Lo’s Last Night at the Telegraph Club (rev. 3/21) will enjoy this similarly themed work. Back matter includes an author’s note, selected sources, and a German glossary.

From the May/June 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jennifer Hubert Swan

Jennifer Hubert Swan is the library department chair and upper school librarian at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY. She is also an adjunct assistant professor at Pratt Institute School of Information, where she teaches youth literature and library programming. She blogs at Reading Rants.

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