It is 1938. Hitler and his Nazi followers are trying to eliminate all the “non-purebloods” from Germany. Renate Müller, a German teenager and main character in The Path Divided by Jeanne Moran is in a difficult situation. She wants to stay loyal to both her big brother Werner, a Nazi enthusiast and her friend Sophie, a polio patient. Sophie is a photographer accused of treason for sending her pictures out of the country to be used as propaganda against Germany. As Renate struggles to help Werner and Sophie, she meets a Romany woman who gives her a magic silver picture frame. When placed in this frame, a picture changes to show the fate of the people in it. It seems as if whenever Renate helps Sophie, Werner’s fate takes a dangerous turn, and whenever Renate helps her brother, Sophie’s fate shows possible death. Will Renate be able to stay loyal to Werner and Sophie, or will betrayal become the only option? More importantly, will Renate be able to keep them both safe?
The Path Divided by Jeanne Moran is a fast-paced and suspenseful novel. It had just the right amount of characters, each with a unique backstory that led to conflict and made for a very exciting read. The chapters alternated between being narrated by Renate and Werner. One chapter would end with a cliffhanger, building the suspense through the chapter narrated by the other character. This also caused a bit of confusion, however, because the chapters about Renate are chronological, but the chapters about Werner jump around in time. Although this book is fictional, I liked how it references real events like Kristallnacht, “the night of broken glass.” Readers ages 11-16 who enjoy reading about World War II era Europe would especially enjoy this book.