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This powerful Cold War novel tells the story of two cousins, one German and the other an American Army brat, as they navigate the political and social turmoil that threatens their friendship and ends in the abrupt rise of the Berlin Wall–which may separate them forever.
Drew is an army brat in West Berlin, where soldiers like his dad hold an outpost of democracy against communist Russia. Drew’s cousin Matthias, an East Berliner, has grown up in the wreckage of Allied war bombing, on streets ruled by the secret police.
From enemy sides of this Cold War standoff, the boys become wary friends, arguing over the space race, politics, even civil rights, but bonding over music. If informants catch Matthias with rock ’n’ roll records or books Drew has given him, he could be sent to a work camp. If Drew gets too close to an East Berliner, others on the army post may question his family’s loyalty. As the political conflict around them grows dire, Drew and Matthias are tested in ways that will change their lives forever.
Set in the tumultuous year leading up to the surprise overnight raising of the Berlin Wall in August 1961, and illustrated with dozens of real-life photographs of the time, Walls brings to vivid life a heroic and tragic episode of the Cold War.
About the Author
L. M. Elliott was an award-winning magazine journalist in Washington, DC, before becoming a New York Times bestselling author of historical and biographical young adult novels. Her works include Under a War-Torn Sky, Suspect Red, Hamilton and Peggy!, and Walls, have won the VLA Cardinal Cup and Grateful American Book Prize for historical fiction, and been named NCSS/CBC Notables and Bank Street College of Ed. Bests. Visit her online at lmelliott.com.
“Immersive . . . An expertly crafted, evocative time capsule.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Elliott both fills in the historical background—aided by Behm’s mixing of period photos, contemporary news, and pop-culture notes—and crafts a tale of rising tensions that culminates in a suspenseful climax . . . A sensitive exploration of cogent themes in a richly detailed historical setting.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Elliott’s latest is set a year prior to the unexpected rise of the Berlin Wall, incorporating all kinds of historical context, including science, world events, politics, and entertainment, through pictures at the beginning of each chapter, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the period. The portrayal of events is first-rate, creating a poignant yet lighthearted read.” —Booklist