Annexed
Sharon Dogar




Peter van Pels and his family are locked away with the Franks, and Peter sees it all differently. What is it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, to hate her and then find yourself falling in love with her? To know you're being written about in her diary, day after day? What's it like to sit and wait and watch whilst others die, and you wish you were fighting?
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 the terrible conclusion.

'A delicate, poised and scrupulous re-enactment.' The Guardian

'A powerful and captivating story... told in intense, harrowing detail.'
The Bookseller

'Absorbing... more truthful than The Boy in Striped Pyjamas. 5 stars.'
Books for Keeps

'Sharon Dogar has taken on a difficult task through which she has created a fascinating and inspiring story.' Julia Eccleshare, Lovereading
Alex, from University College School London

Annexed by Sharon Dogar is a touching book that tells the tale of Peter Van Pels, one of the eight Jewish people living in hiding in the same annexe where Anne Frank lived during the Second World War. It is a fictional diary, and it focuses on what it would be like to be forced into hiding and to not be in the fresh air for over two years.

 

Peter Van Pels is an average fifteen-year-old boy. He is fairly sensitive, and is distraught about the concept of hiding from the Nazis in the annexe. At first he is extremely depressed, because he misses his friends from the outside world, but after a while he gets used to his surroundings. He had a girlfriend in the outside world who the Nazis took away to a camp, he thinks about her a lot in the book. Auguste Van Pels Peter’s mother is a very kind woman but is very nosy at times. She always comforts Peter when he is depressed. She likes to gloat about how well behaved Peter is compared to Anne. Hermann Van Pels, Peter’s father is a very strict, uptight and formal man who has particularly old-fashioned views on how to bring up his son. He is always blunt and straight to the point when the matter concerns his son Peter, and he will always command Peter to do the right thing (in his eyes.)

 

Anne Frank is bubbly, cheeky and trouble causing. She is usually in her room writing her diary. At night, she gives the diary to her father, Otto to protect it. At the beginning of the book, she despises Peter, but as the book develops, their relationship does as well. Margot Frank is Anne’s sister, and she is a very intelligent person. She likes to think of Peter as a little brother, unlike her sister, Anne. She is quiet, yet accomplished and determined to do well in later life as she is planning to become a doctor in the future.

 

Otto Frank is Anne and Margot’s father. He is a very kind gentle and wise man and is always the peacemaker when bickering starts between the two mothers or anyone. He maintains order in the annexe and makes sure that everyone thinking positively.

 

I found this book very interesting, gripping and page turning and would definitely recommend it. One of the main reasons why I enjoyed it is because the book gives one a view of what it was like to live in the annexe, but from a different perspective to Anne Frank’s. Although Annexed is a fictional diary, it was fascinating for me to see how Peter viewed life in the annexe compared to Anne in her diary.

 

 

 

 

Alex, from University College School London

Annexed by Sharon Dogar is a touching book that tells the tale of Peter Van Pels, one of eight Jewish people living in hiding in the annexe where Anne Frank lived during the Second World War. It is a fictional diary, and it focuses on what it would have been like to have been forced into hiding for over two years.

 

 

Peter Van Pels is an average fifteen-year-old boy. He is fairly sensitive, and is distraught about the concept of hiding from the Nazis in the annexe. At first, he is extremely depressed because he misses his friends from the outside world but after a while he gets used to his surroundings. He had a girlfriend in the outside world whom he thinks about a lot. Auguste Van Pels, Peter's mother, is a very kind woman but is very nosy at times. She always comforts Peter when he is depressed. She likes to gloat about how well behaved Peter is compared to Anne. Hermann Van Pels, Peter's father, is a very strict, uptight and formal man who has particularly old-fashioned views on how to bring up his son. He is always blunt and straight to the point when it comes to his son Peter, and he always commands that Peter to does the right thing (in his eyes).

 

 

Anne Frank is bubbly, cheeky and causes trouble. She is usually in her room writing her diary. At night, she gives the diary to her father, Otto to protect it. At the beginning of the book, she despises Peter, but as the book develops, so too does their relationship. Margot Frank is Anne's sister, and she is a very intelligent person. She likes to think of Peter as a little brother, unlike her sister, Anne. She is quiet, yet accomplished and determined to do well in later life. Otto is a very kind, gentle and wise man. He is the peacemaker when bickering starts between the two mothers or anyone else. He maintains order in the annexe and makes sure that everyone is thinking positively.

 

 

I found this book very interesting and gripping and would definitely recommend it. One of the main reasons I enjoyed it is because the book gives a different view of what it was like to live in the annexe than that given in Anne Frank's diary.

Alexander, from University College School London

Sharon Dogar, author of Waves, Falling and Annexed, was born in 1962 just outside Oxford, where she now lives. Some of her favourite books are To Kill a Mockingbird, Skellig and Where the Wild Things Are. 

 

Love is an amazing thing. To think that two people, one a withdrawn, modest and polite boy, the other an obnoxious, melodramatic and rude girl could fall in love is a very hard thing to understand. The two people in question are Peter Van Pels, and Anne Frank. Peter’s family have been friends with the Franks for many years, except Peter has never really liked Anne much, and Anne has never really liked Peter much. Therefore when the German forces invade their home, kill their relatives and destroy possessions, they are none too pleased that they are forced to go into hiding together. As days pass the tension inside the Annexe rises. And everyone knows that nothing stays secret forever. So how long can they hold out?

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I thought that it had a perfect amount of detail so that the reader feels the desperation of the families living in the annexe and not being too boring. The way the reader is gripped from the first word is brilliant. And the sad ending to the story was very emotional and well written. I did however, feel that during the time the families spent in the annexe (which is most of the book!) I was still slightly gripped by the tale, but there was a bit of a void in the story. Nothing really happened except for Peter and Anne falling in love, and all the members of both families getting agitated at each other. I do realise that the author was trying to be as true to the real story as possible, but the time spent in the annexe could have been much more interesting.

 

All in all, I thought that Annexed was a very good book. And I think that 13 is about the perfect age for this book. Any younger and it would be too hard to understand; any older and the writing style would be too simple and the reader would get very bored. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone my age looking for a good read.

Amy, from Copthall School, Barnet

This book is called Annexed by Sharon Dogar and is set during the World War Two. The story takes place in a dark, creepy annexe. What happens is a 12-year-old boy called Peter van Pels is sharing an annexe with the Franks when they hide from the Nazis. Peter and his family can’t stand the Franks. First Anne Frank is always talking and writing in her dairy, Mr Frank is also always talking about the war and Mrs Frank is in another world. The Franks drive Peter and his family crazy.

 

Anne’s diary ends on August 4 1944 but Peter’s story goes on until they are driven to the Nazi death camp. One of the most interesting parts is when Anne and Peter fall in love.

 

Overall, my opinion of the book is that this book is so emotional it will make you cry in sacks.

Arushi, from The Mount School

I really enjoyed this book. The first chapter really kept me interested. A love story between Anne Frank and Peter Van Pels forms a good storyline. At first, Peter doesn’t like Anne. I thought they would never fall in love.

 

Anne is hiding with Peter during the World War, because they are Jews. The writing is as Peter’s diary, not Anne’s. Peter says ‘I would rather take my chances on the streets than stay with the Frank’s.’ This shows that he is not friendly towards them and this adds tension to the relationship. My favourite character is Peter, because I really liked reading his diary. He uses good describing words to show how he feels. There aren’t many characters in the story. It is focused on Peter and Anne. I give it a rating of four out of five.

 

I enjoyed this book so far and I’m intrigued to see what is going to happen next. 

Ben, from University College School London

The story of Anne Frank, as seen from the view of her housemate Peter van Pels, is vividly written in this 1st person descriptive story by Sharon Dogar. The historical-fiction story is based on the events that took place within the annex, where Anne Frank wrote her diary. The story is intriguing and often surprising as the stages of the story are slowly revealed to us.

 

The view of Peter gives an exciting and elegantly executed twist to the words of Anne Frank and gives us the opinions of an older, although somewhat less mature (in some cases), adolescent teenager. Throughout the story however, Peter seems to develop emotionally from a small child to a responsible man. Many events of the story pressurise Peter to become so, but one of the main reasons seems to be the loss of a close friend of his at the beginning of the story, and how he must adapt to the situation at hand. Peter could be described as a solipsistic, self-motivated and focused young man whose feelings for others develop over the course of the years that he lives in the annex.

 

Anne Frank, as seen through the eyes of Peter, is nothing short of a nonsensical and egotistical irritant to him and he choses to ignore her. However, as the story develops, Anne becomes closer to Peter and as she matures, she learns to be loving and caring towards other people. In the story, she is described as eager to learn and ready to explore. Peter and Anne are both quite different, but this does not stop them from leaning closer towards each other throughout the story.

 

One vital aspect of the book is the very interesting narrative style which, as you continue to read, seems to become more influential to the story line. By reading the whole story through the eyes of someone we know very little about, we gain a fictional view of a factual character. This method is scarcely used in other books making it a necessary read if you are interested in literature.

 

This book has a narrative style which is very uncommon. The characters are extremely developed to the point where one could imagine them fully. For these reasons this book is an original read which should not be overlooked.

Daniel, from University College School London

Annexed is the moving tale of Peter Van Pels, the boy who loved Anne Frank. The book is divided into two halves. The first half which accounts for most of the book describes Peter’s experiences in the Annexe above and behind an office in Amsterdam which his family shared with the Franks and later a dentist called Dr Pfeffer as well. The much shorter second half is the continuation of Peter‘s life after being captured and taken away from the Annexe to the camps. Whilst the first section is mainly based on Anne Frank’s actual diary in which she chronicled her war-time experiences in the Annexe, the second half is only loosely based on what happened to Peter as there was very little for the author to write about in terms of what is actually known about what happened to Peter in the camps. Instead the author uses her imagination combined with the memories of people who were actually present in the camps to conjure up an emotional tale of what happened to Peter once he had been caught by the Nazis.

 

Sharon Dogar has a racing, engaging and emotive writing style which suits the tragic story well. She really conveys well what it would have been like to be cooped up in a back office for two years just waiting and fearing and hoping so that even before Peter reaches the camps the reader feels immense empathy for him. She is also very good at building up suspense in scenes when they are nearly caught and from early on the reader begins to realise just how desperate Peter and the others are to survive and just how much danger they are in every day from simply existing. She also describes the Annex very vividly so that you can almost sit there in its kitchen listening to the radio with the others. For somebody of the opposite sex, I think she understands men and their attitude to life very well. She steps into Peter’s shoes with apparent ease and portrays him as a shy, practical, understanding boy who is often frustrated at the pace of life in the Annexe. He feels held back which is how most teenagers feel anyway but in the Annexe things are so close and there is no such thing as privacy so tensions surface more often and the adults - in particular Mr Frank - is more than aware of Peter’s feelings and  how they might impact upon his daughter, Anne. Much of the book centres on Anne and Peter’s complicated, sometimes stormy relationship. They only elope with each other for a short period and though the book implies he may have desired to, Peter never makes love to Anne. Nevertheless Peter and Anne feel very affectionately for each other right to the end. Indeed Peter often dreams of her in the camps. For him she is all that embodies hope, vivacity and energy.

 

If the first half of the book is emotional then the second half is heart rending. Dogar’s description of the camps is something I shall never forget. The mere cruelty of the Nazi guards is enough to make one feel sick. They both physically and mentally torture their inmates till they have lost the will to live. In his fight for survival Peter is forced to forget his morals and dignity and resorts to theft and treachery in a bid to save his own skin... 

 

David, from University College School London

Sharon Dogar’s book, Annexed, is based on the true story of Peter van Pels, the boy who went into hiding with the Franks under the Nazi regime in the Second World War. Peter and his parents, as well as another Jewish man called Dr. Pfeffer, hid in the cramped annexe of an office building in Amsterdam. Sharon Dogar describes Peter’s view of living with the Franks and portrays the up-and-down relationship he goes through with Anne Frank, using her diary as a basic storyline. When Anne’s diary ends on August 4th 1944, Peter’s experience continues in the second part of the book, beyond the betrayal and into the Nazi death camps.

 

Sharon Dogar has made a good attempt at writing historical fiction and Annexed is quite moving in parts, especially towards the end. She has written the book in the first person of Peter but I don’t think she really catches the essence of who Peter is as a teenager in the way Anne seems so very real to us in her diary.

 

Another feature of the book which is unappealing is that the language is very simple and repetitive. This technique is used for dramatic effect but it is used too often making it quite tedious instead. For example, in one part she repeats, ‘We got to bed early. We get up late...We shiver. We wear all our clothes...We’re waiting. Waiting for news. Waiting for the war to end...’

 

But a good feature of the book is the description of the death camp, Auschwitz. Sharon Dogar portrays Peter’s experience in a gripping, deeply moving way. I would recommend reading The Diary of Anne Frank before reading Annexed as it will show Anne’s perspective of Peter.

 

Sharon Dogar’s Annexed is worth a read if you liked reading Anne Frank’s Diary, though it is hard to get into at the start, the second part of the book is more interesting, showing the horrors of the Nazi death camps. A suitable age for this book would be twelve years and upwards.

Emil, from University College School London

This story is both unimaginative and badly written. Although looking from a different perspective at such a classic, well known diary as Anne Frank’s would have been fantastic, Dogar however couldn’t pull it off, so much so it ended up as a bad spin-off of a true life legend.

 

The book felt like Dogar was copying Anne Frank’s pages and just tweaking a few words that lost all sense of Peter Van Pels writing this diary himself. I was not impressed. The language was poorly chosen and emotions wrongly picked.

 

I didn’t like this book and I think the age of reading needs to be lowered since I finished it without any need to stop and think. I wasn’t at all moved by Dogar’s writing even though it explains a very sad time in history.

Evie, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

Annexed is about ‘the boy who loved Anne Frank’. Peter Van Pels was one of four others in hiding in the annexe with the Frank family. He comes to the hiding place homesick for his girlfriend Lise. This emotion mixed with the constant claustrophobia and fear of being found out is most people’s nightmare. Is his luck going to change?

 

I think the author’s way of taking one book and creating another viewpoint and book is brilliant. The way she portrays Peter as both the person in pain and the confused boy makes the reader want to read more. It is amazing how drastic the change is.

It is interesting how the author created a different opinion of the events. Anne Frank is just a girl. She is ignorant of things. Peter is the same but he has to act like a man.  Although he is scared, sad and frightened he has to act like a man and the way the author puts it, I really get his point.

 

The book has made me understand the Holocaust a lot more. I didn’t understand what it was like for the Jews. What I really liked about this book was the fact that it said what happened afterwards. Now I’ve read this book I am a lot more interested about World War Two. I am very happy I read it.

Hanna, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

This story is set during the Holocaust which happened during World War Two.  The book is based on a Jew who hid with the Frank family in a secret annexe.  After many years of hiding, from 1939 until 4th August 1944, the Dutch police found them hiding behind the bookcase door. They are all sent to death camps.  The story was expected to end like that because that is what happened to Jews during the war.

 

The main character in the book is Peter, and he tells the story from his point of view.  Peter is described in detail as the story goes along.  The most interesting parts are when Peter interprets things through his eyes.

 

Overall I believe Annexed is an engaging book but you should be prepared for it to be an emotional read.  Things stir up when they are on their way to the death camps and you really experience what the Jews went through.  It’s almost like you were watching it all happen.  I would recommend this book to older children and adults.

 

Ishka, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

This story is set during the Holocaust which happened during the Second World War.  It is a story about Peter, a Jewish boy who went into hiding (in the annexe) with the Frank family. Many years after going into hiding the Dutch police found them and sent them to a concentration camp.  The book starts in 1939, they were found on the 4th August 1944 and they died in 1945.

 

The main characters in the book are Anne Frank and Peter van Pels.  Anne Frank is quite stubborn, only cares about herself and is quite rude.  Peter is nice, gets annoyed quickly and has a loving heart.

 

I love this book.  After I had read it I felt sad because of the terrible things that happened to the Jewish people.  Millions of people died just to suit one person.  I highly recommend this book and would like to read more by this author.

Jamie, from University College School London
Annexed is written by Sharon Dogar. In the book Sharon tells the story of a boy, Peter Van Pels, who lived with Anne Frank in the famous Annex above an office block in Holland. I have never read Anne Frank's diary and after reading this book I think it would be interesting to see it from a different perspective.

The story is told through Peter van Pels who is also the main character of the story, the hero if you like. At the start of the book, he is a fifteen-year-old boy and he spends a lot of his time in the annex doing manual labour and painting. Some of the other important characters are: Peter's mother who loves to cook, Peter's father who cracks bad jokes, Margot Frank who is a quiet girl who spends a lot of time reading, Mr. Frank who takes the leader role of the eight in hiding, Mrs. Frank who acts as the clothes repairer and of course the famous Anne Frank who Peter describes as being loud and someone who talks too much.

Although the book is written in diary format, it is not a day-by-day account but skips to significant dates when things happen. The book is interesting because the reader experiences what it would be like to be hunted down by people with nothing but hatred for you. It's a very depressing read towards the end when they are sent to the camps.

If I had to rate the book I would give it 10/10 because Sharon Dogar has found a way to make something that is true, interesting, unlike many non-fiction books.

Jeronee, from Queen Elizabeth's Girls' School, Barnet

No words could describe inhumane treatment the Jews had to face and this was the event that no one is ever going to forget. In Annexed, Anne Frank, Peter van Pels and their families hide for two years hoping that no one would find them. But as time goes on, they fall in love. But they can’t love each other because everything can be seen by their parents. They can’t escape from their hiding place because the actual hell waits for them in the outside world. However, Annexed brings The Diary of Anne Frank to life (through the eyes of Peter who shared her suffering).

 

This is definitely a book to read if you would like to know more about Anne Frank and the treatment of Jews by the Nazi’s.

Joey, from University College School London

Annexed by Sharon Dogar is a book about a boy called Peter van Pels and his family who are in hiding with another family called the Franks and their daughter Anne. This book is based upon Anne Frank's famous diary, which was written whilst she was in hiding and which has been published in many different languages. This story is set in World War 2 and they were Jews who had to hide from the Nazis. A nice family hid them behind a secret door with a bookcase in front of them.

 

 

They are in this situation together because the Franks felt for them and were nice enough to let them in. These two families are confined into a tiny area just big enough to hide them. There are no secrets nor much time alone because there isn't enough room and someone is always close by. Peter van Pals enters the story heartbroken having lost his one true love, Liese and he spends much of his time trapped dreaming about her, often in sexual ways. Peter and Anne don't like each other at the beginning as he finds her annoying and attention seeking. But as time passes he starts to fall in love with Anne and Anne starts to like him, against all the odds. But, the horrors invade before their love can truly blossom.

 

 

Part of the story is told through Peter while he's living in the annex, and part is told while he is in the camps. Annexed is so easy to get lost in, at some points, it's possible to believe that Peter is right there telling the story. Peter's life in the annex is filled with emotion, confusion and love while his life in the camps turns him into someone even he cannot recognize.

 

 

Overall I found this book very interesting to read. I really got sucked into it and actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I would give this book an eight out of ten because although it was a good book for me I would have preferred more action. So, if you're looking for an action book this isn't for you, but if you're looking for an emotional, educational and fun book this is the book for you.

 

Jonathan, from University College School London

I think Annexed is definitely a very good account of the holocaust, the rounding up of Jews and the war in general. It really highlights the suffering in Auschwitz and what the two families went through in the annexe well.

 

It is written from the point of view of Peter Van Pels, who is forced into hiding with his mother, father and the Frank family (Mr and Mrs Frank, Anne, Margot) and later Dr Pfeffer. They are all put in a very confined space with hardly any privacy.

 

Peter starts off detesting the Franks (except for Margot), especially Anne. He finds her very irritating and intruding, she asks questions that people shouldn’t ask and creates very awkward situations. Eventually though they begin to fall in love through sexual desire. It is very likely though that Peter was practically substituting Anne for his lost girlfriend (Liese). Unfortunately for them, they have no privacy and cannot develop their relationship. Especially because Mr Frank keeps a close eye on them and would like to protect his daughter and make Peter (who is sixteen, two years older than Anne) take responsibility for his actions and not take advantage of how young Anne is.

 

As the months progress Peter explores his deepest thoughts and starts to doubt his faith in Judaism saying that if God had selected the Jews as his chosen people, and no-one else, how are they any different to the Nazis? When expressing his views to Anne, though, she didn’t open her mind and scolded Peter for thinking such things.

 

I think the way Sharon Dogar describes this scene of two families being so cramped inside a small space is really good. It is so moving how they struggle on to survive the war and avoid capture so determined. It truly shocked me (even though I knew what happened to them) when they were found - the way the author portrayed Peter’s feelings, and the absolute grimness of the event.

 

Adjectives do not describe the second (shorter) part of this book. This book makes the feelings of the people in the camps come alive. She describes incredibly the things going on in there, how in a split second of shoving, you could be pushed into a line of Jews being marched to the gas chambers, and how to survive and not starve, it was necessary to lie, cheat and steal.

 

This book (using Anne Frank’s diary as a guide) is an incredible account of what happened to the Van Pels and the Franks, during their time in hiding, in the camps, and their experience of the holocaust.

Jonathan, from University College School London

I think Annexed provides an accurate insight into the holocaust and the war in general. It really highlights the suffering in Auschwitz and what the two families went through in the annex. It is written from the point of view of Peter Van Pels, who is forced into hiding with his mother, father and the Frank family (Mr. and Mrs. Frank, Anne and Margot) and later Dr Pfeffer. They are all put in a very confined space with hardly any privacy.

 

Peter starts off detesting the Franks. In particular, he finds Anne very irritating as she asks questions that people shouldn't ask and creates very awkward situations. Eventually though, their relationship changes, although we do wonder whether Anne is a substitute for Peter's previous girlfriend. Unfortunately for them, they cannot develop their relationship as they have no privacy and Mr. Frank especially, keeps a close eye on them. He wants to protect his daughter and ensure that Peter (who, at sixteen, is two years older than Anne) takes responsibility for his actions and does not take advantage of how young Anne is.

As the months progress Peter explores his deepest thoughts and starts to doubt his faith in Judaism saying that if God had selected the Jews as his chosen people, and no-one else, how are they any different to the Nazis? Anne however, scolds Peter for thinking such things.

I think the way Sharon Dogar describes two families being so cramped inside a small space is really good. The way the author portrays Peter's feelings and the absolute grimness of the event is also very moving.

Adjectives do not describe the second (shorter) part of this book. She describes the unbelievable things going on in there; how in a split second of shoving, you could be pushed into a line of Jews being marched to the gas chambers and how, in order to survive and not starve, it was necessary to lie, cheat and steal.

This book, which uses Anne Frank's diary as a guide, is an incredible account of what happened to the Van Pels and the Franks during their time in hiding, in the camps, and their experience of the holocaust.

Lauren, from East Barnet School

Annexed by Sharon Dogar was published in 2010. The genre is historical fiction. I think this book is aimed at teens or young adults, because most of the story line contains parts which are not suitable for children. Any gender would like it.

 

The story is set in World War Two, in Holland. It is about a Jewish boy called Peter Van Pels twho was living in an annexe with Anne Frank; he slowly started to fall in love with her. The book is all about his life and how he and the others living there managed to stay undercover.

 

The main characters of this amazing story are Peter and Anne. The story is based on Peter as it tells you what his short and scary time was like in the annexe. It also says about when he was in the camp and how he felt; but Anne is mentioned a lot in the book.

Peter is scared and worried, as he wonders if he will ever get out, and if he will survive. He enjoys going down to the warehouse each day and playing with his best friend, Mouschi the dog.

 

Anne is scared underneath but she doesn’t show it. She is a chatty girl and likes to pretend she is not worried she lifts everyone’s spirits and keeps the whole annexe entertained. She enjoys writing in her famous diary.

 

What is the story about? In 1942 Hitler has taken over Germany and has gone to war with Britain. All the Jews are being taken to camps where they can be killed; but Peter’s parents have arranged for them all to stay in a hidden annexe with the Franks, where people are secretly helping to smuggle them food! The annexe is behind a bookcase in an old warehouse in Amsterdam. But how long can they stay hidden for? When people outside get suspicious and try to break into the warehouse, the group get really worried about how long they have before people realise that the bookcase is more than it seems...

I enjoyed reading this book, and about how life was in World War Two. It was sad at times, as when Peter got to the camp everyone was dying around him. One of the most horrible parts was when they had to run as fast as they could and the Nazis chose who to kill. The slowest ones got killed.

 

I think nobody should have the right to choose if someone gets killed or not. It is not right what the Germans did to the Jews. They only gave them small rations of food, and made them work for them for nothing!!

 

I would give this book a 5 star rating, as it is gripping and makes you want to read on!!!

Matteo, from University College School London

Anne and Peter are the two main characters in this book; Peter is 16 and Anne 13. They are both confined in a very small space called the Annexe. They both despise each other, Anne is an attention seeking little brat who has exceptional writing skills for someone of her age, and she will spend most of her time writing in her diary or playing with Margot, her sister. Peter on the other hand is glum and will spend most of his time dreaming of his long–lost girlfriend, Liese. Day and night Peter will constantly be gazing out of a window contemplating of his memories of her.

 

As time passes Peter and Anne begin to fall in love, their relationship completely changes and their sexual desire for one another unfolds in the concealed space of the Annexe. However, these two have no way of finding privacy within their confinement, this is because they are living in extremely close quarters accompanied by their parents and her sister. There in the Annexe, every whisper, murmur and squeak is overheard and the second they take the first step, they will be witnessed, and there is no way that they will ever achieve a moment of peace or solitude as they cannot leave the Annexe as outside, a Nazi nightmare awaits them.

Max, from University College School London

Annexed is based on the book The Diary of a Young Girl. The diary of a young girl is about one of the main characters in this story, Anne Frank, and is her diary from being exiled in the annexe. 

 

In the first few pages, the novel introduces Peter’s apparent first girlfriend Liese. Throughout the story Peter continues to have ‘sexual fantasies’ about her. Liese played the role of linking the past and outside world to the present and inside world of the annexe. In the book Anne Frank is conveyed as annoying and optimistic, and seems to log everything into the now ‘sacred’ diary. As the book continues, Anne becomes attached to the diary as if it is a part of her. She also saw beauty in many things. In some chapters, Peter asks Anne not to write about some certain things in her diary.

 

The chapter headings in this book unfortunately sum up the events of the chapter therefore irritating your imagination to paint a picture of what will happen in the next chapter. In part two, the author lets us experience the concentration camp through Peter’s eyes. However it does give you an inside view/interaction of what the concentration camp experience was like. Also, at the beginning of every chapter the author had written an experience (through Peter’s eyes again) of his time in the concentration camp. Depending on the suspense of the chapter, the experience gives the reader a mixture of different feelings. After one of the chapters, I felt quite sad reading what the experience said.

 

I did some research on the book, and found that the author had been criticized on the point that Annexed is just a loved-up copy of Anne Franks’ Diary. I do agree with the criticism but the story gives you a very interesting inside view on the story. I thought this book was a great read, and the book had my attention the whole way through the story.

Max, from University College School London

Annexed is a novel about two families, the Franks and the Van Pels, and their struggle living exiled from society in a small cramped living space behind a bookshelf, in a fight for what they believe in, their religion.

 

In the first few pages, the novel introduces Peter's first girlfriend, Liese. Throughout the story Peter consistently has sexual thoughts and dreams about her. Liese played the main role of linking the past with the current distraught and racist outside world, to the present and inside world of the Annexe. In the book, Anne Frank, one of the other main characters, is conveyed as an annoying little girl, and seems to childishly log every single event into her diary, which seemed to grow more and more attached to her as the story goes on. However in some chapters, Peter asks Anne not to write about some things in her diary in case Anne's father happened to read it.

 

The headings of the chapters in this book unfortunately sum up the events of the chapter, therefore irritating your imagination to paint a picture of what will consequently happen next in the chapter. Even though this was a clever implementation by the author, it seemed to ruin the 'page-turning'/want-to-read-the-next-page effect of the story.

 

In Part Two, the author allows us to experience the concentration camp through Peter's eyes by giving us creative imagery to picture. Depending on the suspense of the chapter, the experience and imagery rendered by the chapter titles gave the ability to fill the reader with emotion. Having read one of the chapter titles relatively far on into the book, I began to feel quite sad about what may happen in the next chapter and the creative imagery that had been drawn.

 

I did some research on the book, and found that the author had been criticized on the point that Annexed was just a loved-up version of Anne Frank's Diary. I do agree with the criticism, but the story gives you a very interesting and 'fourth person' outlook on what it would have been like to be living in the Annexe.

 

I thought that this book was a good read, and the book definitely retained my attention throughout. 

Molly, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Annexed is about Peter Van Pels, the boy who lived with Anne Frank in the Annexe, and how their relationship evolved. He starts of as a heartbroken young boy, missing his love.  He believes Anne to be a loudmouthed, bossy, heartless girl, and does what he can to block her out. He finally gets to know her, and when he does, they fall in a tragic, unknown love. In the second half of the book, it tells you Peter’s horrifying experiences in the concentration camp, and finally his death.

 

The book is based on The Diary of Anne Frank, but is edited, changing the perspective, and adding in some more fictional points. Peter is only mentioned a couple of times in the diary, and I think Sharon Dogar has expanded on the story really well, bringing out both emotional and physical truths. She describes the Annexe possibly just as it was at the time, so you can imagine clearly the ‘scenery’ in this story.

 

There are footnotes at the bottom of some pages. I think personally that this ruins the effect of this book, because these footnotes are giving the details in a different method to the actual story, making you think that actually, this story is not as realistic as you might imagine. However, others might disagree.

 

Overall, this story is definitely “unputdownable”. It shows the meaning of love, hate, and war, and it vividly describes the scenery of the time. I really enjoyed reading this book.

Montanha, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

In this book a boy called Peter van Pels and his family hide away in a secret annexe with the Frank family. Peter sees things differently. He sees what it feels to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank. He hates her at the beginning of the story but then starts to fall in love with her. Anne Franks’ Diary ends on the 4th August 1944 but Peter’s journey still continues.

Natasha, from The Mount School

Annexed is the story of the love between Anne Frank and Peter van Pels (known as Peter Van Daan in Anne’s diary) .

At the beginning of the book it shows that Anne and Peter don’t get along. There is tension in their relationship. There are sometimes sections of the diary entries which refer to Peter’s time in the death camp.

There are also imaginative pictures which Peter has drawn and these are placed appropriately around the book.

As I am Jewish, I found this book touching and interesting to discover how hard it was for a boy to want things, which you can no longer have.


It was terrible to imagine Peter confined to the annexe and not be able to be free as a child and developing into a young man. Peter suffered along with many millions of people during the war years.  

The relationship between Peter and Anne changes from hate to love. This gives the story a dramatic twist!

Noah, from University College School London
Annexed written by Sharon Dogar takes on the challenge of writing the story from the diary of Anne Frank but through the eyes of Peter.

Anne was 13 when she entered the annex and 15 when she was deported to Auschwitz, where she died in March 1945. The only survivor from their Amsterdam hiding place was her father, Otto, who was given the diary on return from Auschwitz by Miep, the owner of the annex who found it.

Sharon Dogar has decided to create a novel out of those two years of isolation but from Peter's perspective, whose relationship with Anne although tense at first then becomes more relaxed and they have a period of romance.

Peter's story is complex and moving. He is very expressive and is not ashamed to express himself. There is a scene where he constructs a menorah in anticipation of Hanukkah, giving each of the nine candles to an inhabitant of the annex, an example of his thoughts for others. His growing feelings of isolation manifest themselves through an increasing sense that the only real world is the one that exists in this annex. "Sometimes it feels as though my life before now was a dream," he says. "Sometimes it feels as though the thought of any future can only ever be a dream."

The latter part of the book, in which Peter's transport and final days in the Mauthausen concentration camp are recounted, is the most interesting section for me. I find this section vey imaginative. Dogar allows herself to imagine what happened next, and it is, of course, both miserable and upsetting.

Ultimately, Annexed left me very undecided. Dogar's writing style is very imaginative. It's not that the novel doesn't work, it just seems rather unnecessary as we already have the very successful non-fictional diary. I can't imagine recommending it to readers who have already read Anne Frank's diary because they have already learnt the story. What would be the point? I would however, recommend it to someone who wants to see a different perspective of the original diary.

Annexed is certainly worth reading, but if you have already read Anne Frank's diary it is pointless unless you are looking for a different perspective of the diary.

Peter, from University College School London

Annexed is written by Sharon Dogar and was published in September 2010. She got her inspiration for this book from the book ‘Anne Frank's Diary'. She has tried to imagine how it would feel living with her. Although Sharon had the initial idea over fifteen years ago only recently did she start to write it.

 

The main character in this book is Peter Van Pels. He was born on 8 November 1926 in Osnabrück, Germany. Peter and his family hid away with Anne Frank and her family. This book is a fictional account of Peter's perspective of the events he, his family, and Anne Frank had to endure whilst they were hiding during the war. Peter did not want to hide with Anne Frank. In fact he hated her and was forced to live with her, but over time Peter fell in love with her. Although ‘Anne Frank's Diary' actually stops on the 4th August 1944, in this fictional diary Peter's events carry on well past Anne Franks.

 

This book is very gripping and keeps you stuck into it thinking about what will happen next and whether someone will find them or not. I would definitely recommend this to a friend. It's a brilliant book to read and really interesting.

 

 

Rahan, from University College School London

Annexed is a historic novel based on The Diary of Anne Frank. It is set during World War Two and narrated from the point of view of a teenage boy. Peter van Pels is going through the emotional mix that is adolescence, alongside a world war and having Anne Frank living with him. He is forced into hiding and the generous Frank family offer some spare rooms to his family. The story is spun from then, using his strange relationship with Anne as an interesting way to keep track of time. Originally hating her, Peter becomes distraught and with the loss of his close friend Liese things seem to be falling apart.

 

Annexed is an extremely symbolic book, whilst Anne Frank is writing her famous diary, Peter fails to express his feelings artistically and yet through his awkward thoughts and a nervous story line the author Sharon Dogar attempts to get a less one sided meaning out of the events that Anne Frank discusses in her diary. For example, the tree outside the house which can be viewed from the window in the attic is a symbol of freedom. The tree, similar to the weather in other novels, may have been used as a pathetic fallacy, as it conveys Peter’s inner feelings without his clumsy articulation. Another symbol of hope is the warehouse cat Boche. He is the comfort that Peter seeks in people and instead finds in a feline. The compatibility of the pair is what gets him through some harsh times and often the fact that Boche cannot speak is an additional help. Sometimes all people need is someone to listen!

 

Annexed also is a book that leaves you with a lot of questions, most that are impossible to answer. Why did the Germans do this is? Is a very powerful question and in general all questions begin with ‘why’. Obviously these questions must have been even harder to think about for the persecuted people. The analogies and metaphors that Peter comes up with to try and understand the changing world around him are sad but strangely innocent. He thinks of the Jews as insects being “squished” and yet even though he and Anne stretch their imaginations to find some rational explanation, the thoughts become more and more painful.

 

To make matters more interesting Sharon Dogar has made Peter a teenager. This makes his life extremely difficult. Teenagers even in average situations come across their fair share of hardships so in these circumstances you feel for him. As he is noticing girls more his worries turn to his life after the war. He worries about never falling in love and of doing the normal things that a man and boy would do. This worry is comforted eventually by Anne. He falls in love with her (an amazing turn around) and soon finds temporary happiness. The companionship with Anne is another thing that helps him get along and although Anne’s father prevents them from having a loving relationship, their close friendship is quite beautiful.

 

On the other hand, a question that arises is whether the only reason that they fall in love is that they represent the opposite sex for each other. In Anne, Peter sees Liese and all the woman of the world rather than actually loving her. In the same way, Anne finds a sense of security that is lost with her father as time goes on and also has only Peter as her view of men. Sharon Dogar interestingly uses this. The fact that the relationship would not have come together in normal circumstances shows the amazing way that the human race tries to carry on in difficult situations. This displays the great adaptations that people make and how they can remain happy.

Robyn, from The Mount School

Everyone knows the story of Anne Frank’s diary when she was in the annex hiding from the Nazis with her family. But there was also a boy, Peter van Pels. The novel Annexed written by Sharon Dogar explores life in the annex with Anne from Peter’s point of view. When Anne’s tragic diary ended on August 4, 1944 Peter’s story took us on. What must it have been like, to hate Anne one minute and fall in love with her the next?

 

Peter van Pels was 16 when he went in to hiding with Anne and her family, but also with his family up in the annex. Peter had his whole life ahead of him before the Nazis and Hitler came and wanted a perfect race, then the struggle to survive began. The novel Annexed might not have been written by Peter himself but it defiantly showed me how hard it must have been to live in the annex. From when Peter first had a start put on his jacket to when Anne was found out and taken away.

 

This is a touching novel and I definitely recommend it to anyone who has wondered after reading Anne Franks diary ‘what happened to Peter?’ well this book will answer all your questions. I hope you read Annexed and enjoy it as much as I have.

Ruby, from The Elmgreen School, Southwark

This story is about Nazi-occupied Amsterdam where one family are determined to survive. This is based on Anne Frank’s diary, but interpreted by Peter van Pels, a boy hiding out with Anne Frank.

 

I found the opening of the story quite slow and confusing, as it moves from flashback to the first chapter quite slowly.

 

The main characters didn’t improve the story. They were Peter and Anne (who end up falling in love). The rest of the characters weren’t explained very well (possibly as they were based on Anne’s diary). So you didn’t really get to find out what they might have thought. I also think Anne and Peter’s love dragged a bit through the story.

 

Annexed was written in the first person. I think that this was very relevant to the story, especially in the flashbacks. The settings were also described in detail, and the attitudes and feelings were described well.

 

I thought this story could have been better because I lost interest after reading it for a while. I did like the end though, where it explained more about what the camps were like.

Sara, from Copthall School, Barnet

I think that Annexed was written well because the author had to think about how life would have been during the Second World War, as well as having to look up background information to make sure that all of the events were set in the right order. I love the idea of the story being based from Peter’s point of view, as so many people had already read The Diary of Anne Frank. It was written such a beautiful way. We already knew all the facts about the war but I never thought about how exactly it felt to live through it all - this book showed me what lay behind the war. The intensity of the book me feel as if I was being squashed through the pages; just yearning to know what Peter will say next. At the start of the book I felt lots of pity for Peter. By the end I was silent, silent for Peter.

 

I liked the bits when Peter was alone just thinking - maybe stroking his cat. I always imagined his voice to have some sort of an echo tone - like it’s echoing through the emptiness within him. 

Stefan, from University College School London
Annexed, by Sharon Dogar, is influenced by the famous diary of Anne Frank. It is set in the Second World War when Hitler terrorised Europe and it tells the story of Peter Van Pels, a Jewish boy who is in hiding with the Franks and his family in a secret annex. There is no privacy due to the little space or much comfort and at first Peter finds it a nightmare to be crammed into such little space, especially with Anne Frank, so he only dreams of being able to go outside once more.

 

Just before Peter went into hiding with the Franks, he went to visit the girl he loved, Liese, but only to find out she and her family had been taken away by the Nazis, most probably to a German concentration camp. He feels frustrated how everyone in the annexe rejoices in how lucky they are because he views it very differently. He feels frustrated because the Franks are rejoicing and laughing about how lucky they are. He also finds himself hating Anne Frank, as she thinks she is clever, funny, and better than everyone else but also because she is there instead of Liese, the girl he loves.

 

As time goes on, Peter  gradually starts liking Anne more and more and at first feels frustrated because he is starting to think about Anne more than Liese and is scared that he might even be starting to fall in love with her, making the distance between him and Liese even greater. As they remain unfound, they start getting more confident that they will survive. However, after a series of attempted break-ins, the fear of being found becomes worse. After a while Peter and Anne start spending more and more time together.

 

Sharon Dogar explores what it must have been like for Peter, a Jew in hiding thinking about his religion, the struggles of love and being written about in Anne's prized diary day after day.

Stefan, from University College School London

Annexed by Sharon Dogar is influenced by the famous 'Diary of Anne Frank'. It is set in the Second World War when Hitler terrorised Europe and tells the story of a boy called Peter Van Pels, a Jew who is in hiding with the Franks and his family in a secret annexe. There is no privacy due to the limited space or much comfort and at first Peter finds it a nightmare to be crammed into such a little space, especially with Anne Frank. His only dreams are of being able to go outside once more.

 

Just before Peter went into hiding with the Franks, he went to visit the girl he loved, Liese, only to find out that she and her family had been taken away by the Nazis, most probably to a German concentration camp. He feels frustrated at how everyone in the annexe rejoices in how lucky they are but he views it very differently because he cannot see why the Jews are being hunted and killed by the Nazis. He also cannot understand how they are lucky because they have to hide in a tiny place for however long the war would go on for. In fact they do not even know if there will be any of them left. He also finds himself hating Anne Frank, as she thinks she is cleverer, funnier, and better than everyone else. He also dislikes her because she is there instead of Liese, the girl he loves.

 

As time goes on, Peter starts to gradually begin liking Anne more and more and at first he feels frustrated because he is starting to think about Anne more than the girl he loves, Liese.  He is scared that he might even be starting to fall in love with her, making the distance between him and Liese even greater. As they continue to remain undiscovered, they start becoming more confident that they will survive, but after a series of attempted break-ins, the fear of being found worsens and even Anne is speechless with terror. It is this fear that brings Anne and Peter closer together. Soon to the distaste of Mr Frank and Anne's sister Margot, Peter and Anne start spending more and more time in the attic together and eventually everyone in the annexe knows they are getting closer and closer and they can only think what would happen next, especially with no privacy at all.

 

Sharon Dogar explores what it must have been like for Peter, a Jew in hiding thinking about his religion and the struggles of love, especially with Anne Frank, from starting to hate her to ending up falling in love with her, but also to know you're being written about in her prized diary day after day.

 




Zak, from University College School London

I think Annexed is a powerful book, but found it boring in some parts. It’s good because the author writes about 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 hating then loving 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? As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their small hideout, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them? Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story goes on, and into the Nazi death camps.  He writes down each day’s terrors in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the occupants of the Annex.

 

I would say mostly adults and teens would read it, and I wouldn’t really recommend it to any friends.