“Walls” Book Review

Before reading this book, I didn’t know much about the conflict between Eastern and Western Germany during the ‘60s and the formation of the Berlin Wall. I’d heard about it in school but wasn’t aware of the nuances of the situation. “Walls” is a helpful book to put a personal (fictional) side to the conflict, but unfortunately, it didn’t completely capture my imagination or attention.

“Walls” tells the story of an Army brat named Drew whose family is stationed in Germany in 1960. He tries to adjust to the many cultural differences he discovers and is taught so much by his German cousin (who he is reluctant to trust as a ‘commie’). Each chapter of the book is a different month in Drew’s life. My favorite part of this book was the photos and info that was included at the beginning of each chapter. It was a fun way to bring the history of the time to life by incorporating different cultural elements into the story.

My issue with the novel is that for an incredibly tense and scary period of time, there wasn’t a lot of forward action driving the plot. I was interested in Drew’s life but never felt quite connected to the storylines. I went into the book expecting lots of dramatic moments but there were only a select few events that actually had me eagerly turning the pages.

I can’t quite put my finger on what didn’t work for me with this book (especially because I started it with high hopes). I think it would be suitable for a YA audience and provides a lot of historical context that could be helpful (especially for teenagers learning about this period in history), but I wouldn’t necessarily rush out and recommend it. It was missing a spark for me that held me back from truly appreciating it.

3 stars

*Free ARC provided by Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review*

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