When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.
The Meta Details:
Length: 256 pages
Publication Date: September 1, 2017
Genre: historical fiction, time travel, science fiction
Content Level: young adult
Pearl Clutching Content: life behind the iron curtain.
Trigger Warnings: Sections of the narrative take place during the Holocaust and it’s pretty hard to read
Featuring: 99 luftballons, a queer icon, guy with seriously badass tattoos, and- of course- Ellie and Kai. Who I bleed for. Every day.
Recommended for: everyone
Rating: must read
Ginny Lurcock’s Thoughts: The Girl With The Red Balloon is astounding. It’s also hard to read. Not because I’m Jewish or Roma, but because I’m German. Reading any story that gives you pieces of the Holocaust is hard for me and stirs up what I had previously believed was an unending supply of guilt.
But this story, like the red balloons it contains, is magic. It’s not just another piece of fiction I eagerly consumed. Though it is a magnificent piece of fiction. The characters were crafted with such care that I half expected them to leap off the page at any moment. The narrative moves in such a lyrical and well-paced way that you look up and realize hours have passed while you were in East Berlin.
It’s so much more than that, though. It’s a tale of mysticism, mystery, history, and hope. One that imparts the valuable lesson that while we cannot change the past, we can learn from it. We can work to make the world a better place, free from fear and hatred.
(Probably by punching Nazis. I mean, that’s not explicitly outlined in the text, but I’m reading the subtext that way.)
So thank you, Katherine Locke, for writing this incredible book. I’ll take the next one anytime it’s ready. Or even before it’s ready… Or even a rough outline you’ve got sketched on a napkin. I’m not picky…
A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for a fair and honest review via Netgalley.
(I have to. I apologize for nothing)