Author: Katie Pierson
Publication Date: June 5, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction
Note: I received this book from the author via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
College is not in the cards for Seth. He spends his minimum wage on groceries and fakes happiness to distract his mom from the MS they both know will kill her. It’s agony to carry around a frayed love note for a girl who’s both out of his league and beneath his dignity.
Quinn’s finishing high school on top. But that cynical, liberal guy in her social studies class makes her doubt her old assumptions. Challenging the rules now, though, would a) squander her last summer at home, b) antagonize her conservative dad, and c) make her a hypocrite.
Seth and Quinn’s passionate new romance takes them both by surprise. They keep it a secret: it’s too early to make plans and too late not to care. But it’s 1989. As politics suddenly get personal, they find themselves fighting bare-fisted for their beliefs—and each other—in the clear light of day.
’89 Walls is kind of a hard book to review. It’s categorized as YA, but so much of the story screamed adult fiction to me. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the multitude historical references may be off-putting to some young adults looking for a coming of age contemporary romance. I grew up in the 80’s and even I found myself overwhelmed by the multitude of historical references peppered throughout the book. They set the timeline and political nature of the characters, but distracted from my emotional connection to the story.
That being said, Katie Pierson’s writing is very good. I never would have guessed this was her début novel. I applaud the way she dealt with some very tough political, social and personal issues. She didn’t shy away from anything.
My favorite thing about ’89 Walls were the relationships between all of the characters. Seth and Quinn had a deep connection for a couple of teenagers on the verge of adulthood. I loved that each stood their ground on their beliefs, but were willing to learn, grow and possibly change their minds. Their relationship wasn’t without turmoil, but the outcome of their problems made them stronger together and apart.
The story wasn’t just about Seth and Quinn’s relationship, though. It also focused on their relationships with their respective parents. Both were close to their parents and wanted to make them happy, but it wasn’t always possible. Seth and Quinn were fighting for their adulthood and freedom to make important choices in their lives. I loved they way they discovered how to balance their need for independence with their desires to make their parents proud.
Overall, ’89 Walls was a strong début novel. It’s filled with both political and emotional gems. I think readers who were teenagers in the late 1980’s will love and identify with the story.