'89 Walls - Katie Pierson

This is a take on the timeless idea of a privileged girl falling for a less-privileged boy.


The strongest point in my opinion was seeing Quinn and Sean's relationship with Quinn's dad and one of their teachers. Quinn develops a lot of her own political beliefs across the book and learns how to represent these with facts and with emotions. This felt very real.


Quinn and Seth's relationship was initially too cute, though the way she acted at the first party was kind of odd and jarring--I had to go back and double check that I hadn't missed anything.


I also found the setting delightful. Pierson threw in a lot of references to the time, including music as well as politics. (I instantly fell in love with Quinn's first boyfriend, Jason, for loving New Order and The Cure...) Though this may date some people, I found it really fascinating to imagine being a teenager around the time and experiencing life during the end of the Cold War.


And for that, the book loses merit. Purely based on the title and description, I expected more information about the USSR/US communism/capitalism details. I wanted to really get a feel for what it might be like living in those times. I was disappointed when the Berlin Wall came down and we only heard about it through a couple of paragraphs in a letter. The politics and time period are what sets this book apart from your run of the mill YA book, and they fall just short of their potential. Quinn also went through a challenging situation that was then rarely mentioned, though I thought it would have had a bigger emotional effect on her.


While I loved the first two thirds of this book, the ending felt a little forced to me. It may just be my having a problem with happily-ever-after endings, but I felt like there should be a bit more conflict or struggle. It just wasn't a very believable ending, having seen the characters as they grew up.


However, I did enjoy reading this and was amused by the characters. I enjoyed seeing Quinn mature and develop her own views on life, and I was never bored, reading this book straight through in one setting. I definitely recommend reading this book, especially if you're interested in politics.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.