The Girl with the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers, #1)
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 Girl with the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers, #1) Details

TitleThe Girl with the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 1st, 2017
PublisherAlbert Whitman Company
ISBN-139780807529379
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Time Travel

The Girl with the Red Balloon (The Balloonmakers, #1) Review

  • Candace Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    What a magical book! Love how everything comes full circle and connects! Plus time traveling intertwined with magic! And that ending!!! *Hyperventilates* Full review on my blog https://literarydust.wordpress.com/20...
  • Cam (abookeater)
    January 1, 1970
    A copy was provided by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review"All the facts in history books couldn’t prepare someone for standing in a place where history was present tense".It's going to be easier for me to just jot down what I loved about this book that try and elaborate an essay so here we go: This book definitely falls on the heavier, darker side of YA. In a way, that makes it even more relevant and important to the times we ourselves are facing. The topics mention A copy was provided by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review"All the facts in history books couldn’t prepare someone for standing in a place where history was present tense".It's going to be easier for me to just jot down what I loved about this book that try and elaborate an essay so here we go: This book definitely falls on the heavier, darker side of YA. In a way, that makes it even more relevant and important to the times we ourselves are facing. The topics mentioned are not easy to digest; there is racism, talk of the Holocaust, death on page, genocide, the anxiety of war and totalitarian regimes, antisemitism, etc...But what this books does right? It gives in-depth conversations on these topics and calls out problematic trains of thought on page. There is also no attempt to romanticize any of these gruesome events. It’s just the gritty and the terrible, told in a way anyone can digest and empathize. Even though it is pretty dark, we do get the fantastic element and plenty of magic mixed with some science fiction. You would think that would confuse you more but it actually makes the story even more complete and interesting. It was whimsical and terrifying all at once; the perfect magic system. The book is narrated in three different points of view. We have Ellie’s perspective, Kai’s perspective and Benno’s perspective. This narrative strategy can go so wrong in so many ways but Katherine Locke has it down to a T. Each of these characters voices is easily distinguishable and all of them are equally enjoyable. I never felt myself wanting to skip someone’s part because I wanted to read about all their stories. I would have loved to have read Mitzi’s PoV but I’m guessing we might get that in the next installment! A diverse cast you can’t help but love. Kai is a Romani boy from England, fleeing his community in order to keep his powerful little sister safe; his friends are everything to him and his heart is full with purpose and promises he must keep. Ellie is a Jewish-American, grand-daughter of a Holocaust survivor; a girl who feels too much but stands up firmly for what she believes in. Mitzi is German and lesbian living in a place in time where being gay is excuse enough to have her arrested; she’s bright and unapologetically her, no matter the consequences. They’re a trio you’ll never forget, I promise. The romance. I don’t normally enjoy romance in YA as much as I would like to. I find the tropes repetitive and unrelated to the actual story. Sometimes it can take way too much time away from the plot and I end up feeling more irked than giddy. This isn’t the case for Kai and Ellie. I am the captain of this ship and I will sail it proudly until the end of time. If you must know one thing about me, it's that I am a huge sucker for low burn romances and angst. Kai is broody (which is pretty trope-y, sure) but he’s also incredibly loyal, selfless and kind; Ellie is strong and brave in her soft way. Together...they wrecked me. The chemistry between them is undeniable and beautiful. They both want what’s best for each other and even in the difficult times they’re living, they know the value of trust and communication. Above all, they’re friends to each other; seeing them falling in love felt like falling in love. The writing is phenomenal; there are countless passages that make you stop and think and make your heart break. It's not overly descriptive but there is a lot of internal monologues. Usually that would annoy me but the way everything is narrated is so beautiful. I read this book with a constant ache in my chest. My ARC is thoroughly highlighted and once I get hands on a physical copy I’ll make sure to annotate it even more.
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  • Katherine Locke
    January 1, 1970
    I wrote this thing. It'll be on your shelves and available September 1, 2017!(edited on 6/22/17 because it still said spring lol)
  • Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest09/27/17: This book is currently $1.99 for Kindle. I adored this author's District Ballet Company series, so when I found out she was writing a book about magic realism and time travel about WWII, the Berlin Wall, and romance, the question wasn't so much, "Do I want this?" as "How badly do I want this, and when will the book be out?" The story itself seems to be paying homage to Nena's 99 Luftballons; there is no way that they aren't relate Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest09/27/17: This book is currently $1.99 for Kindle. I adored this author's District Ballet Company series, so when I found out she was writing a book about magic realism and time travel about WWII, the Berlin Wall, and romance, the question wasn't so much, "Do I want this?" as "How badly do I want this, and when will the book be out?" The story itself seems to be paying homage to Nena's 99 Luftballons; there is no way that they aren't related - especially since the English version of that song frequently appears as "99 Red Balloons." And the "magic" in this book revolves around magical red balloons. How cool is that?Sadly, this book also follows what I call "music video logic." It would make a good video, but is a bad book. The world building isn't very good. The reader is just supposed to take everything at face value. There's insta-love, and the characters spend way too much time dressing up and going out to the club and laughing over nail polish. I wasn't a fan of the multiple POVs, since all the voices sounded so similar, and Ellie, the heroine, doesn't have much of a personality. I don't care if I love or hate your characters, just make me feel something, anything.I read to about p.150 in earnest and then skimmed the last 100 pages, hoping things would get better. It didn't. I'm pretty bummed about this, but I guess I'll just listen to 99 Luftballons again. If there is one upside to this book, it is that it got me listening to Nena, which is always a plus. I'm shocked at how many YA bloggers are going to town over this. Did we read the same book? Was I tricked?Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy! 1 star
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  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    I had only heard good things about this book and several people I trust couldn't stop gushing about it. Sadly I was disappointed. l liked Ellie well enough. She was sort of bland and I struggled to connect to her. I didn't see any of the extraordinary, amazing, and brave traits that everyone else saw. Kai and Mitzi were both intriguing, but also sort of meh. There is a third POV and once I figured out who it was and how it tied together, I skipped most of those chapters because it didn't bring a I had only heard good things about this book and several people I trust couldn't stop gushing about it. Sadly I was disappointed. l liked Ellie well enough. She was sort of bland and I struggled to connect to her. I didn't see any of the extraordinary, amazing, and brave traits that everyone else saw. Kai and Mitzi were both intriguing, but also sort of meh. There is a third POV and once I figured out who it was and how it tied together, I skipped most of those chapters because it didn't bring anything to the story for me. Plot wise, I was just so bored. There wasn't any real build up or tension. It all felt repetitive. I get that due to the time period, there wasn't going to be frivolity and there were pockets of joy and sweetness. I think that's what kept me reading.Overall, I liked the idea of it, but something just didn't work. I had to force myself to continue because I was hoping for a twist or a spark that would captivate me. Oh and I absolutely hated the ending. Judging by the high reviews, I'm in the minority, and it just wasn't for me. **Huge thanks to Albert Whitman & Company for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Kate (beautifulbookland)
    January 1, 1970
    Guys, do yourselves a favour; either go and request this book on NetGalley, or take note of when it is released (or do both, like I am) because it is seriously one of the most beautiful, magical, heartbreaking stories I've read. It made me cry on numerous occasions. This review is going to be all over the place because my emotions are all over the place. The ending is so perfect, but so sad and it just...gah. I'm crying again."What could change if we started to measure society's successes not in Guys, do yourselves a favour; either go and request this book on NetGalley, or take note of when it is released (or do both, like I am) because it is seriously one of the most beautiful, magical, heartbreaking stories I've read. It made me cry on numerous occasions. This review is going to be all over the place because my emotions are all over the place. The ending is so perfect, but so sad and it just...gah. I'm crying again."What could change if we started to measure society's successes not in wars won but in moments in which we countered injustice? When good did win out over evil."If I had to describe The Girl With the Red Balloon in one word, it would be magical. Ellie Baum's grandfather is a Jewish World War II survivor, and Ellie has grown up being told the story of how he escaped a death camp; that a girl in a purple dress handed him a red balloon, and it took him out. So when she is in Germany on a school trip, and she sees a red balloon, she grabs it, wanting her picture taken with it. She is transported back in time, in East Germany where red balloons are able to take people over the Berlin Wall, to safety. The love and relationships in this book are incredible. Apart from Ellie, we have Kai, a Romani boy who would do anything to protect his little sister, and who helps to transport people over the Berlin Wall. We also have Mitzi, a German girl with a family who can never accept her sexuality, partner to Kai in helping those in need of escape. They both fall in love with Ellie, in very different ways. "I was the girl with the red balloon who shouldn't be in the black-and-white world of Walls and fear and lies. He was a kaleidoscope boy born at the wrong time in the wrong place, too bright for here, too much for everywhere else."I could share endless amounts of quotes from this book, but I won't spoil things for you. I will, however, leave these two with you, and urge you to keep a lookout for this book. "Be good and be sparkly and flirt with a stranger, darling.""One time, I spent six months back in time. I fell in love with a boy who had no obligation to love a world that only gave him grey skies and loneliness. I fell in love with a girl who loves so fiercely that she holds the world together. I fell in love with believing in magic.If you give a girl a red balloon, she'll believe in magic and memory.If you give a girl a red balloon, she'll never want to let go."*Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read this book*
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  • Ava
    January 1, 1970
    Four stars, maybe more. Wow.It's the next day now (I finished this at 11 last night) and I'm still shocked by how much I enjoyed this book. Do you like:-Jewish main characters-multiple points of view-time travelling stories-diversity (Jewish mc, Romani mc, queer mc)-historical fiction-learning more about the Holocaust and the Berlin Wall?Then you'll love this book. I most definitely did. My very small quibbles:-I wasn't a *huge* fan of the writing style. By the middle of the book, I was used to Four stars, maybe more. Wow.It's the next day now (I finished this at 11 last night) and I'm still shocked by how much I enjoyed this book. Do you like:-Jewish main characters-multiple points of view-time travelling stories-diversity (Jewish mc, Romani mc, queer mc)-historical fiction-learning more about the Holocaust and the Berlin Wall?Then you'll love this book. I most definitely did. My very small quibbles:-I wasn't a *huge* fan of the writing style. By the middle of the book, I was used to it, but it was nothing outstanding in my opinion. -It took me a bit to get into the book. I was thoroughly engrossed after a while, but at the beginning, I was a little confused. Other than that, I really enjoyed it, and would highly, highly recommend you check it out when it releases. Katherine Locke has written a masterpiece that is especially timely right now, and will do a lot for so many people. The characters and story will stick with you long after you finish. I'd never read a YA about the Berlin Wall or even set in that time period before, and I am so happy this book exists. Review in more detail to come soon. (Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a copy for review.)
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  • alice (arctic books)
    January 1, 1970
    Overall, I liked this one! I'm looking forward to Locke's future works. I thought the time traveling aspect was incredibly fun, especially because I'm not a huge time-traveling person despite loving science-fiction. I liked the idea of the red balloon, serving as a way to save lives and as a huge symbol during this time period. I also enjoyed the shifting POVs between Benno, Kai, and Ellie, as I felt as if it gave me more development as to the impact of the red balloons and the time-traveling as Overall, I liked this one! I'm looking forward to Locke's future works. I thought the time traveling aspect was incredibly fun, especially because I'm not a huge time-traveling person despite loving science-fiction. I liked the idea of the red balloon, serving as a way to save lives and as a huge symbol during this time period. I also enjoyed the shifting POVs between Benno, Kai, and Ellie, as I felt as if it gave me more development as to the impact of the red balloons and the time-traveling aspect. The romance was also super cute and developed, and I liked the incorporation of information about the Berlin Wall and the personal perspectives as to how it affected daily lives. Overall, if you enjoy Jewish characters (as well as a swell of other characters from different backgrounds), time traveling, and German history, be sure to check out this one!Thank you to Edelweiss and Albert Whitman for providing a copy for an honest review.
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  • Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
    January 1, 1970
    *Reposting because this beauty is actually out now. Do yourselves a favor and get you hands on it ASAP*If you gave a girl a magic balloon, she’ll become something else.OKAY. Can I just say that if this isn’t the best book I’ve read all year (I don’t think I can take that position away from ACOL) then it’s the one that’s left the biggest impact on me. And it still takes the cake as second best book. I requested this after having read ONE great review but still wasn’t fully prepared for what I was *Reposting because this beauty is actually out now. Do yourselves a favor and get you hands on it ASAP*If you gave a girl a magic balloon, she’ll become something else.OKAY. Can I just say that if this isn’t the best book I’ve read all year (I don’t think I can take that position away from ACOL) then it’s the one that’s left the biggest impact on me. And it still takes the cake as second best book. I requested this after having read ONE great review but still wasn’t fully prepared for what I was getting myself into. This book is a prime example of historical fiction and time travel done right—EVERYTHING about this book is done right. And as a person who love time travel that should really mean something. Ellie is a modern day student who is in Germany on a study abroad trip. Her grandfather, who was actually a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, used to tell her these stories about magic red balloons and how one actually saved his life while he was being transferred from a Polish ghetto to an internment camp. Oh a whim, she goes to grab it and ends up in East Germany in 1988.The city hummed with a frenetic sort of energy, the kind that came when people say the light at the end of the tunnel and realized it wasn’t the oncoming train. It was hope. The world was changing. We were along for the ride.Now, I was born in 1991 and I’m going to tell you straight up that it was unbelievable for me to read about this place, one continent over, that had people living in that much fear only three years before I was born. I know that people in different places around the world are STILL living in that kind of fear but…this book in particular made me feel so sheltered. In all of my twenty five, almost twenty six years I have NEVER known that kind of fear. And it just kills to know that I have it so easy when so many others don’t. I think that this book is a good reminder of that. What’s out there even still today.But I digress. Let’s get to the other parts of this book that had me laughing, SOBBING, and everything in between. Well let’s see. First of all, ALL of the characters were amazing. Ellie, the main character is probably one of my favorite female protagonists of ALL TIME. Other than the small breakdown she has after being transported back in time (and I mean who WOULDN’T freak out about leaving YOUR time and friends and family) she is calm, cool, collected, sassy. UGH I fucking love her. Kai and Mitzy are just as amazing. Oh—and by the way, this book is DIVERSE. Ellie is Jewish, Kai is Romani, and Mitzy is gay. And that’s just who they are and we get to see how being those people in that time period affects their lives in a place that is so unforgiving. For those of you who love romance, the stuff we get in here is SO BELIEVABLE AND WILL GIVE YOU BUTTERFLIES AND SO MUCH MOREEEEEE. I just want to cry thinking about it. I don’t want to say any more honestly, you’ll just have to read it and find out yourself. Not sure what direction book two will go in or who will be in it but I am already dying to get my hands on it (which is super depressing seeing as this one doesn’t even come out until September).If you give a girl a red balloon, she’ll believe in magic and memory. If you give a girl a red balloon, she’ll never want to let go.Overall, this book just goes to show that one person, magic or no, has the ability to change the course of history with even just one decision—exactly the kind of book that we want to be reading in this day and age.A HUGEEEEE thank you to Albert Whitman Company, NetGalley, and Katherine Locke for allowing me to read this eArc. It will stick with me FOREVER and I know I will be recommending the shit out of this book for years to come.For more of my reviews, please visit:
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  • MsArdychan
    January 1, 1970
    Please Note: I received an advance reader's copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.East Berlin in the 1980's was a seriously messed up society. One could look out their window and see the freedoms of the West, yet their city was on lock-down. Neighbors were rewarded for spying on each other, and the Stasi (secret police) bugged people's homes. I visited a country behind the Iron Curtain in the 80's, and it wa Please Note: I received an advance reader's copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.East Berlin in the 1980's was a seriously messed up society. One could look out their window and see the freedoms of the West, yet their city was on lock-down. Neighbors were rewarded for spying on each other, and the Stasi (secret police) bugged people's homes. I visited a country behind the Iron Curtain in the 80's, and it was bizarre. I remember entering stores where the shelves were bare. Waiters would whisper in our ears and ask us if we wanted to sell our western clothes. I think the author captured the bleakness and desperation of the city, and the resilience of it's people perfectly.Story:Who wouldn't want to escape an oppressive regime simply by holding a bright red balloon? The symbolism of invisibility was powerful. So many people did small, brave deeds during the Soviet era: broadcasting banned news and music, helping others hide and escape, NOT turning in their neighbors. The quiet defiance of people faced with the impossible was on display in this story.I also enjoyed the secret society of people using magic to smuggle others out to The West. The use of the disused subway system as the group's headquarters was a eerie touch. I particularly liked the ongoing threat of discovery by the police. As an American who only speaks a little German, Ellie is in constant danger. She needs to find a way to blend in to, not only a different political reality, but also to another time. It made for a tense game of cat and mouse whenever Ellie was out in public. What if someone speaks to her? Will she be able to pass for a Berliner?Ellie:Ellie has a resiliency to be admired. While she does have a tough time accepting her new situation, she quickly realizes that a key component of her survival is perfecting her German. What a way to be motivated towards fluency! I appreciated that Ellie didn't act spoiled or self-important. She grew to empathize with her new friends and see their struggles as her own.What I Was Mixed About:Although I enjoyed the secret society, I didn't feel that this was explained enough in the novel. I would have liked to have more background information, and more character development of the people who founded the group. I'm sure the author thought this would bog down the story, but I think it would have added more to the story, and even presented some openings for a sequel!What I Didn't Like:I thought that the resolution of what happens to the bad guy was very rushed, and a little convenient for the story. I would have liked to know more about this person and why they did what they did.I also didn't find the ending very satisfying. I don't like putting in spoilers, but the ending was very abrupt. I needed to know what actually happens to Ellie!!! I was surprised when the book just ended as it did. I, the reader, have invested so much time in the book, the characters, the situation... I needed more!
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  • Amy Leigh
    January 1, 1970
    This book was amazing! I love the way time travel worked with the rich emotional and historical journey the author takes you on. The world building was great and the author definitely did her research. The character building was done really well especially for the time period the book is set in. I felt like I was there to witness history. I highly recommend!Jewish American high school student Ellie Baum has left Pittsburgh and arrived in Germany for a spring break trip with her German Language c This book was amazing! I love the way time travel worked with the rich emotional and historical journey the author takes you on. The world building was great and the author definitely did her research. The character building was done really well especially for the time period the book is set in. I felt like I was there to witness history. I highly recommend!Jewish American high school student Ellie Baum has left Pittsburgh and arrived in Germany for a spring break trip with her German Language class. Ellie thinks this trip will give her an excuse to practice German and give her perks for her college applications. Her Saba, a Holocaust survivor, didn't want her to go and she doesn't completely understand why but she will."We are strange, sometimes, in the ways we choose to bear witness"When her friend Amanda wants to go flirt with a boy by the Berlin Wall Memorial, Ellie spots a red balloon and thinks of her grandfather Saba and his balloon stories. He called beautiful days balloon days. She thinks a kid may have accidentally let go of the ballon and to draw her friends attention from the boy, asks her to take a picture of Ellie with the balloon. She thinks it will be a beautiful gesture for her grandfather. When she grabs the string on the balloon she is transported to 1988 East Berlin, Germany. The balloon is a portal of sorts but not meant for her and the book is non stop hold onto your seat action and drama rollercoaster. The scenes about the Holocaust were gut wrenching and I cried. The friends she makes stay with you as she tries to figure out who she can and can't trust. I'm so excited to read the next book!
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  • Kay
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for approving my request for a free digital copy in exchange for a review. The Girl with the Red Balloon is a welcome addition to YA literature, and it worthy of being in the same category as "The Book Thief" and "Shades of Grey." However, unlike the former, the Girl with the Red Balloon blends history and fantasy in order to tell a story that is indeed well-needed. The book has three main characters, Ellie, Kai and Benno. I found most of the characters, wit Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for approving my request for a free digital copy in exchange for a review. The Girl with the Red Balloon is a welcome addition to YA literature, and it worthy of being in the same category as "The Book Thief" and "Shades of Grey." However, unlike the former, the Girl with the Red Balloon blends history and fantasy in order to tell a story that is indeed well-needed. The book has three main characters, Ellie, Kai and Benno. I found most of the characters, with the exception of Benno, very well-developed. I can't say that I have a favourite but I do believe that readers will see aspects on themselves reflected on the page. I only wish we had seem more of Mitzi. With respect to Benno, I wish there were more of his story given how central he is to the plot.The writer uses a triple narrative storyline in order to develop the plot and it definitely worked in a non-distracting way. The triple narrative is engaging and looking back, I do believe the story would have been less interesting if only told from the perspective of the main character. It is worth mentioning that there is a bit of romance. It is, however, extremely mild and does not detract from the plot in anyway. Again, it seems like a tool used for advancing the story as it difficult to conceptualise the story developing along purely platonic lines. Locke's writing style is very engaging. The writing felt very personal and it was easy to be fully immersed in the story. Although I found the plot engaging, The Girl with the Red Balloon falls into the same trap that that other time-trail books often do, that is readers have no idea what's going on on the other side. Although it is addressed on page I wish that readers would have been privy to developments in the original timeline. The pacing of the story was also very strong, while there was a bit of a lull towards the middle of the book, the latter half was very engaging and I found myself skipping ahead to find out what was happening. Locke does a great job of building anticipation in that regard. One minor point to note was that the resolution of the plot does come way into the latter half and could be considered a bit rushed. Setting is a huge part of this book and it's very difficult to imagine this story in a setting other than Berlin. Locke manages to weave together a tale that relies as much on setting, politics and history as it does on characters and plot. This is truly a commendable feat. In summary, The Girl with the Red Balloon was an enjoyable read. I would recommend to teens who are interested in history, specifically European history.
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  • Shelly
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not usually a fan of historical fiction but The Girl with the Red Balloon totally blew me away. It's definitely a unique premise with characters that you'd want to meet and talk to in the real world. I can't wait for the next book in this series.
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  • Heidi Heilig
    January 1, 1970
    Read and loved an early version of this magical devastation. Up, up and away!
  • Shae McDaniel
    January 1, 1970
    My heart is full. This book ticks all the boxes in the list of "Things Shae Needs":1) A time travel element that I could pretty much follow (pretty much, which is not damning with faint praise--there's only one time travel book I've solidly followed ever, so time travel books join the ranks of horseshoes and hand grenades here.)2) Historical fiction that WORKS. This story actually taught me something about the era(s) it was set in, as the Cold War is a weird time that my brain slots as historica My heart is full. This book ticks all the boxes in the list of "Things Shae Needs":1) A time travel element that I could pretty much follow (pretty much, which is not damning with faint praise--there's only one time travel book I've solidly followed ever, so time travel books join the ranks of horseshoes and hand grenades here.)2) Historical fiction that WORKS. This story actually taught me something about the era(s) it was set in, as the Cold War is a weird time that my brain slots as historical but really wasn't that long ago. I had to work through the fascinating cognitive dissonance of "They said DNA! DNA is a modern thing, they can't possibly--oh. Wait." 3) No easy answers. There's a lot of injustice in the world, and overlapping injustices don't cancel each other out. I thought the plot did a great job of highlighting those muddy waters and not settling for a quick fix and a glib pat on the head. It helps, too, that at least some of the experiences presented were own voice, and that I trust Katherine to tread carefully.4) The romance was lovely and gentle and sweet.5) The friendships were perfect. Seriously, the Ellie-Kai-Mitzi triumvirate was rockin'.6) The magic was cool. I don't completely understand it, but it's magic (with a science base!) so I'm fine with that. I do want to know more about Ashasher's feathers, though.7) The storyline is bittersweet. As much as I love pure fluff, I can also appreciate the realism. Part of the story takes place in a Nazi work camp in Poland. Part of the story takes place in East Berlin during the Cold War. These are not happy places or happy times. There is no happily ever after here, but neither is there total crushing despair. I can even get on board with the ending, because I thought it was a daring choice, though the lack of closure makes my heart roar.8) This one is purely personal--holy crow, is it terrifying to read a friend's book. What if I don't like it? What do I say then? BUT HOORAY THIS BOOK WAS GREAT AND I CAN SCREAM OUT MY PRAISE WITH A CLEAR CONSCIENCE AND HAPPY HEART YAY YAY YAY YOU DID IT BUDDY!Now, if you'll excuse me, I am going to check out a bunch of Cold War books from the library to fill in the rest of my knowledge and then build a little bunker outside of the author's workspace to away her next book.
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  • Liv (Stories For Coffee)
    January 1, 1970
    REVIEW TO COME
  • charlotte
    January 1, 1970
    Galley provided by publisherI loved this book. Everything about it was so so good, and it was really enjoyable, even if I did take longer to finish it than I might have (reading slumps come at the worst time).The Girl with the Red Balloon tells the story of Ellie Baum, who is accidentally transported back in time to 1988 East Germany when she takes hold of a red balloon. She finds out there is a group of people who work to help those stuck in East Germany escape to West Germany, using such ballo Galley provided by publisherI loved this book. Everything about it was so so good, and it was really enjoyable, even if I did take longer to finish it than I might have (reading slumps come at the worst time).The Girl with the Red Balloon tells the story of Ellie Baum, who is accidentally transported back in time to 1988 East Germany when she takes hold of a red balloon. She finds out there is a group of people who work to help those stuck in East Germany escape to West Germany, using such balloons, but the one that transported Ellie back didn't work as it was supposed to.The premise of this story is so original and it's written so well too. I loved all of the characters, especially Mitzi, Kai, and Ellie, and I'm sad this is just a standalone book. I can totally understand why it would be but that doesn't stop me wishing there was more from these characters.If anything, there was just a bit too little action for me, but then again I need action almost every page because I'm so impatient and get bored so easily. It helped that the chapters alternated between different characters' points of view, though.The ending was perhaps a little abrupt - they seem to be slowly working their way to a conclusion, and then all of a sudden everything's happening, and just as suddenly it's done. But that besides, I didn't have a problem with the pacing of the book.
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  • Jeanmarie Anaya
    January 1, 1970
    This one hit me so hard. What an emotional, utterly compelling book. Katherine Locke is an absolutely brilliant writer and a plot weaver like none other. Time travel stories always kind of leave me scratching my head, but not here. It's expertly crafted; I never felt disoriented. I'm still shook by all the threads (forwards, backwards, and sideways) in the timeline and the characters' relationships. This is the sort of book that makes you immediately flip back to the first chapter after you've f This one hit me so hard. What an emotional, utterly compelling book. Katherine Locke is an absolutely brilliant writer and a plot weaver like none other. Time travel stories always kind of leave me scratching my head, but not here. It's expertly crafted; I never felt disoriented. I'm still shook by all the threads (forwards, backwards, and sideways) in the timeline and the characters' relationships. This is the sort of book that makes you immediately flip back to the first chapter after you've finished the last page, hunting for Easter Eggs (I think I found one!). Not to mention the heart-wrenching themes of loss and grief from the Holocaust survival story woven throughout. THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON deserves all the awards this year. It's that good. (I received an early copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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  • Nita
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclaimer: I'm Katherine's critique partner and friend, so. BUT. But. I read this book in its early stages and what a lush, beautiful, magical world Katie has created. There's so much to love in this book—the romance, the magic, the Jewish heroine and historical setting, Katie's prose—all of it is magical and wonderful, and you'd better be picking up this book when it comes out.
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  • Ashley Poston
    January 1, 1970
    This. Book.
  • Jessie (Ageless Pages Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5Moving and lovely and timely. I found the villain's reveal/reason to be a bit underwhelming and unexplained, which is the only reason this is not a full five-star book.
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Me, a self-proclaimed history devourer & wannabe SPONGE (Red Balloon reference, anybody?), travelling to Berlin in her summer holidays, OF COURSE requested this on NetGalley - not really expecting too much... boy, was I was blown away (gettit, like a balloon is blown away? Looool)SO, FOR YOU HISTORY NERDS OUT THERE, we have: - (fictional) first hand accounts of being a Jew in 1942 in Berlin, in Łódź ghetto AND in Chełmno concentration camp-the majority of the book set in the DDR, East Berlin Me, a self-proclaimed history devourer & wannabe SPONGE (Red Balloon reference, anybody?), travelling to Berlin in her summer holidays, OF COURSE requested this on NetGalley - not really expecting too much... boy, was I was blown away (gettit, like a balloon is blown away? Looool)SO, FOR YOU HISTORY NERDS OUT THERE, we have: - (fictional) first hand accounts of being a Jew in 1942 in Berlin, in Łódź ghetto AND in Chełmno concentration camp-the majority of the book set in the DDR, East Berlin in 1988 (one year before the Berlin Wall comes down, but obvs the character from that time period don't know that)- a dark-skinned Romani living in East Berlin in 1988 (where racism is still rife, against Jews and Romani - who were statistically most impacted by the holocaust)- a gay girl with blue hair (!) living in East Berlin in 1988- and references to other strifes in the 1980's, i.e. South Africa, Iran etc etc... and all of these storylines intertwine with a girl from the present, a girl with a red balloon. FOR YOU MAGIC BELIEVERS AND READERS, we have:- people born with magic in their veins- this magic can make you invisible, make things fly, make words glow & hence have a magical impact, and TIME TRAVEL (controversially) - magic communities fighting against oppression, helping people escape from East Berlin over the wall, and from other places of oppression, with magic flying balloons- MAGICIANS GONE ROGUE - watch-dogs that watch over the magical communities AND IF YOU JUST WANT TO READ A REALLY GOOD BOOK, we have:- brilliant structure. The book is split into a few point of views, but bare with me - it's not confusing at all, I promise. In the beginning, we are in 2017 with our mc Ellie, a Jewish girl, the granddaughter of a holocaust survivor, on a school trip to Berlin. With a little help from a red balloon, we now have Ellie's POV from East Berlin in 1988 - sometimes we have Kai's (who found Ellie in 1988, works for the people with the red balloons) POV. Also, emotively, we have a young Jewish boy's POV on his life through the Nazi rise in power, the Łódź ghetto and the beginning of arriving in a concentration camp, Chełmno. - great pace! I was never bored, the swell of characters meant there was always something going on, plenty of dialogue, and a steady unravelling of mystery (remember that MAGICIANS GONE ROGUE I mentioned? Yeah, that)- romance between a Jewish girl from the future and a Romani boy from the past....... kills me- all the characters. Just all of them. Ellie is the mc and is, understandably, wanting to get back to her own time period at the same time as being eager to learn about the time period and what came before it to understand her family's history, her character development is great and I loved the contrast between the present-day "I use my best friend to hide behind" and the 1988 Ellie who finds the courage to ignite a fire & is willing to burn for her best friends - Kai, who ran away from the only community he ever knew to save his sister when they wanted to institutionalise her, is fierce and passionate and everything I wish I was brave enough to be.- Mitzi will stay with me for a long time - her character is so beautiful. Unapologetically who she is; fearless, german, gay. - I even loved the more minor characters, Sabina without a home, Aurora weighed down by the pressure of time, Felix with his obligations to his job. Reading the first page about Ellie on the U-Bahn in Berlin, whilst I was on the U-Bahn in Berlin, was an experience to treasure, just like this book is... so many important lessons are conveyed, with all of my favourite things: the lessons of history, conflicting opinions, the importance of human rights and the influence of a little glitter and magic every now and then. Thanks for this one Locke, I'll remember it. "One time, I spent six months back in time. I fell in love with a boy who had no obligation to love a world that only gave him gray skies and loneliness. I fell in love with a girl who loves so fiercely that she holds the world together. I fell in love with a few good people who used their magic for good, and I fell in love with a few more people who used it questionably but whose hearts meant well. I fell in love with believing in magic. If you give a girl a red balloon, she’ll believe in magic and memory. If you give a girl a red balloon, she’ll never want to let go."// Thanks to NetGalley & the Publisher who provided me with a copy of this in exchange for an honest review //
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  • Atlas
    January 1, 1970
    We are strange, sometimes, in the ways we choose to bear witness* * * *4 / 5 I wouldn't call myself a history nerd, but I would like to think that I have a reasonable understanding of a good chunk of European history. The Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall, however, have drifted under my radar - possibly because I've never been to Berlin but also perhaps because it's so recent, more recent than I had thought, such that it is less likely to become a dinner conversation and is more of a hushed memor We are strange, sometimes, in the ways we choose to bear witness* * * *4 / 5 I wouldn't call myself a history nerd, but I would like to think that I have a reasonable understanding of a good chunk of European history. The Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall, however, have drifted under my radar - possibly because I've never been to Berlin but also perhaps because it's so recent, more recent than I had thought, such that it is less likely to become a dinner conversation and is more of a hushed memory. The Girl With The Red Balloon is a beautifully written and magical (in more ways than one) novel that I implore you to read.A new language forming from her mouth, even as her hands wrote out an equally strange one and made magic of itIt's actually quite a short novel, yet it packs an emotional punch and spans three time periods. We have Ellie Baum, a sixteen year old girl who lives in the present, or at least she did; on a school trip to Berlin, Ellie grabs hold of a red balloon in order to pose in a photograph for her grandad who claims that a balloon helped him escape the concentration camps during WWII, and is transported to East Berlin, 1988. There she meets Kai and Mitzi, who recognise the balloon she is holding and get her somewhere safe; after all, East Berlin at night with rudimentary German at best and no papers is a dangerous place. Kai and Mitzi are Runners. They work for two, for want of a better word, magicians who craft balloons with mathematics and blood that can carry people over the wall. Runners keep the passengers safe beforehand and essentially do all of the grunt work, but something is going wrong: time travellers are turning up dead, red balloons clutched in hand, and Kai's sure he's being watched. This main story is interrupted and bound together by a story set in 1941, that of a young Jewish boy called Benno in Lodz Ghetto. The plot itself is captivating, winding together stories of hope, of history, of magic, of death, of racism (Kai is a dark-skinned Roma), of sexuality (Mitzi is gay), and of family. "Magic and balloons," I whispered, shivering from the cold and the dark. "And Walls and time"Kai's voice was low and sad. "The things that get us out and the things that keep us in" The characters are also fantastic and the three voices of the book, Ellie, Kai, and Benno, are all easily distinguishable. Understandably, Ellie spends a fair amount of the start of the book in states of shock and making a few stupid decisions, but she is a soft, loving girl who I was fond of. Kai is driven by a desire to protect his younger sister, Sabina, who is being hunted by various people because of the magic in her veins. Then we have Mitzi, who I really wish we had more of. I was sensitive to and moved by Benno's story and saw how it was necessary to the narrative, but I did find it disrupted the flow, to flick between 1941 and 1988 constantly, and I think I would have rather the book focused specifically on the Berlin Wall by replacing Benno's narrative with bits by Mitzi. My other complaint is that I thought that the ending was a bit of a cop-out: if we had had another couple of chapters, the book could have well been wrapped up as an amazing stand-alone. Overall, I highly recommend The Girl With The Red Balloon to those who might not normally read historical books, to those, like me, who want to explore a slightly different area of German history, and to those that love an inventive, magical plot. My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of this bookRead this review and more on my blog: https://atlasrisingbooks.wordpress.co...
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  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Oh, how I adored this book! Fun fact: The first, say, fifteen to twenty pages were not the strongest start to a book. In fact, I was downright wary of it. BUT. Things changed, and they changed quickly. As soon as Ellie pops (get it? Like a balloon?) back in time, into 1988 East Berlin, the whole tone of the book shifts. It goes from feeling like a campy contemporary in the first few page You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Oh, how I adored this book! Fun fact: The first, say, fifteen to twenty pages were not the strongest start to a book. In fact, I was downright wary of it. BUT. Things changed, and they changed quickly. As soon as Ellie pops (get it? Like a balloon?) back in time, into 1988 East Berlin, the whole tone of the book shifts. It goes from feeling like a campy contemporary in the first few pages to a magnificent story with an incredibly important social commentary in a matter of pages, then doesn't let up. And now, I shall explain how and why. The most striking aspect of the story is its eternal relevance. Yes, it is centered in two very specific points in history: The tail end of the Berlin Wall's oppression, and the Holocaust. But looking at our current political and social climate, it's clear that this story applies to not just Germany's history, but is the tale of an ongoing struggle that humanity is always in the midst of. It's a story of the brave people who stood up against evil, against wrong. And if that isn't a lesson we need now more than ever, I don't know what is. Using the character of Ellie, a modern day teen, to see the atrocities of the past was a perfect choice. At first, Ellie seemed quite vapid to me, quite mundane. But I feel like that might have been the author's intention, looking back on the story. Ellie was all of us. Living her daily life, worried about her friends and family and classmates and what she'd be doing in her free time, and how she looked. But in the literal blink of an eye, Ellie was transported to something more than her normal cushy American life. Ellie navigating this world felt relatable because she was such a normal girl, thrust into a dangerous and important time. Ellie's lessons extended beyond the historical ones. The bonds she formed while she was in East Berlin were so incredible. She found the power of female friendship, of love, of mentors. She had to navigate who could be trusted, how to handle herself in dangerous situations, how to make tough choices. And certainly she made mistakes, but again, I think that was important to the story. The story was incredibly emotionally provocative.  The flashback chapters to the Holocaust were positively gutting. And the tension in East Berlin was absolutely palpable, the danger apparent and imminent. Bottom Line: This was exquisite. I am absolutely looking forward to the next book set in this world, and while I think an epilogue or even a sequel would be amazing, I do understand why the book ended as it did. Apart from a bit of a slow start, this book completely captivated me.*Copy provided for review
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  • Angelica
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t know what I expected when I picked this book up a few months ago. If I'm honest, I had barely paid attention to the synopsis. All I knew was that it was a novel about Germany, time travel, and red balloons. All I knew was that I wanted to read it.What I did not expect was for it to hit me the way that it did, or to be nearly as good as it was.This novel is fairly short, the hardcover is set to have only 256 pages, and yet it is so full of beautiful writing and heartwarming moments.The st I don’t know what I expected when I picked this book up a few months ago. If I'm honest, I had barely paid attention to the synopsis. All I knew was that it was a novel about Germany, time travel, and red balloons. All I knew was that I wanted to read it.What I did not expect was for it to hit me the way that it did, or to be nearly as good as it was.This novel is fairly short, the hardcover is set to have only 256 pages, and yet it is so full of beautiful writing and heartwarming moments.The story is about a Jewish girl named Ellie, on a school trip to Germany when she finds an abandoned red balloon, almost as if it had been waiting for her. Once she goes to hold it she finds herself transported back in time to 1988 on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall. There she meets Kai, an English Romani, and Mitzi, a gay, native East Berliner: two people facing terrible judgment for being different in a cruel and unforgiving world. Two people, who in spite of it all, are doing their best to sneak people into the safety of the West through the use of magical red balloons.  It also is about a boy named Benno, in 1941 Berlin. He's a young Jew in during World War II. At first, his presence seems out of place. The point of views alternate between Ellie and Kai in 1988, and Benno in 1941. Then, all of a sudden, you see how the stories connect and how every event leads to another, all connecting in a wonderfully crafted circle. The two time periods play off one another, showing the dark moments of Germany's recent history. They also show the heart and the hope of the people who lived through them.I tend to avoid books about the Holocaust. I am not Jewish. I have no ties to Germany. I have no connections to any of the events that happened during those hateful years of the World War. And yet, I do not think that any of that is necessary to feel something so deep inside your soul. Books dealing with those events always break my heart. The injustice of it all kills me every time, and this book made me feel it all. This book made me laugh, it also made me cry. It is so real, and yet, so magical. Also, that ending was absolutely wonderful and heartbreaking, and everything that it needed to be.This book has a little bit of everything and could easily appeal to anyone. It's part historical fiction, part science fiction, part time travel adventure, and part fantasy. If you are looking for a good book, I totally recommend this one. **I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**
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  • Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)
    January 1, 1970
    *I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*In 1942, a boy escapes from Chelmno concentration camp holding onto a red balloon.In 2017, the granddaughter of that boy grabs the string of a red balloon and is transported back to Berlin, Germany, 1988.I'm not a big fan of time travel books in general, and I wasn't really impressed by The Girl With the Red Balloon's take on it in particular. I found the plot a little aimless and the twist a little obvious. That's *I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*In 1942, a boy escapes from Chelmno concentration camp holding onto a red balloon.In 2017, the granddaughter of that boy grabs the string of a red balloon and is transported back to Berlin, Germany, 1988.I'm not a big fan of time travel books in general, and I wasn't really impressed by The Girl With the Red Balloon's take on it in particular. I found the plot a little aimless and the twist a little obvious. That's not to say the plot was bad — it wasn't, and there were exciting parts — I just wasn't reading it for the plot, not really. I found myself reading it for the writing and the representation.So on that note, let's talk about writing and Jewishness.I didn't find the style to be absolutely perfect, but it was beautiful and it ended up growing on me a lot. I have so many gorgeous quotes highlighted in my reading app, and the style definitely made what would have been a tedious plot (to me) enjoyable. I really love Kai and Ellie and Mitzi, and their friendships and romances and personalities. (The romance plot actually deserves a bigger mention — Kai is my new book boyfriend)But the thing that got the most emotional reaction from me was Ellie and her grandfather, who has his own subplot, being Jewish. It's not extremely common to find Jewish representation in books, and it's decidedly uncommon for it to be Jewish representation I actually relate to. But I loved that Ellie was determined to celebrate Shabbat, even stuck in 1988, and how her stubborn commitment was echoed in the story of her grandfather illegally taking part in religious ceremonies (like Passover, specifically) in the ghetto. Despite being mostly a story about the perseverance of ordinary people during dangerous times of history, The Girl With the Red Balloon was also a story of Jewish perseverance at all times, no matter what.And that's why this book gets five stars. So maybe it wasn't an absolute favorite and I shouldn't rate it quite so high, but I'm indulging myself. It was beautifully written and personally important to me, and anyone who actually likes time travel will undoubtedly enjoy it even more. Five stars. Fight me.
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  • Brooke
    January 1, 1970
    The premise of this story was actually beautiful, it just lacked “something special”. The writing was a bit all over the place and was there really a need for the f bomb so many times? The romance too was typical. However, though the magic in this book was a bit far stretched I did think it was a great concept; “a labor of love”, Locke says.
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  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    I was doing okay until the Dayenu part and the I cried my face off. THANKS, KATIE.No but for real, read this book - it's fascinating and inventive and really unlike anything I've read in YA, and even though it's kinda devastating it's totally worth it.
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  • Chiara
    January 1, 1970
    A copy of this novel was provided by Albert Whitman Company for review via Edelweiss.I got to 9% of The Girl with the Red Balloon and wanted to DNF. The first few chapters weren’t engaging me, and I just didn’t feel any pull to keep reading. I thought that ditching at 9% felt a little unfair, especially since there were only about two chapters in that time, so I decided to keep reading. I didn’t end up loving The Girl with the Red Balloon, but I did end up liking it.There were three POVs in The A copy of this novel was provided by Albert Whitman Company for review via Edelweiss.I got to 9% of The Girl with the Red Balloon and wanted to DNF. The first few chapters weren’t engaging me, and I just didn’t feel any pull to keep reading. I thought that ditching at 9% felt a little unfair, especially since there were only about two chapters in that time, so I decided to keep reading. I didn’t end up loving The Girl with the Red Balloon, but I did end up liking it.There were three POVs in The Girl with the Red Balloon. There’s Ellie, who is Jewish and our main protagonist – the girl who grabs a red balloon and gets transported back in time to East Berlin in 1988. Then there’s Kai, who’s a Romani boy who actually lives in East Berlin in 1988. And then there’s Benno, a Jewish teenager living through the Second World War.My favourite POV was Benno’s, which is sad because his were the least frequent. I wish there had been more about him because his story was the most engaging. The scenes where Benno and his family and friends were secretly practising their Judaism in the Nazi ghetto were incredibly emotional. I just wanted more of his story because the time that Jewish people (and others) spent in places like Łódź during World War II is such an important part of history, and reading about it from a teenage boy’s perspective is something I have never experienced before.My least favourite POV was Kai’s. In all honesty his chapters mainly felt like info-dumps. There wasn’t a lot that they added to the story, and were mostly filled with info on Berlin’s situation in 1988, the system of the magical red balloons, and the people that he and Ellie interacted with. I wanted his POV to be more than an information package.Then we have Ellie. I don’t really feel any strong emotional connection to Ellie, despite what she went through. And that’s probably because of how she reacted to it. I think there was one scene where she says she misses her mum, and that’s because of the cute pictures of their cat that she sends. Beyond the first few chapters Ellie barely mentions missing her home or the people she loves at all. I found this unrealistic, I guess. She does have friends and family she loves so it’s not like she had no one to miss. And the fact that she barely thought about them at all just seemed off to me. At sixteen how could you not miss all the things that have been randomly taken away from you?I also felt like her acclimation to being in a city under martial law was a little fast. She adjusted very quickly to being in East Berlin in 1988 – which was an incredibly dangerous and scary time, especially in terms of Ellie’s fictional situation of being part of a magical rebel resistance. But after a few days of being holed up in her room she just takes off into the city with no papers, no map, no clue of where she is. I suppose I felt like there needed to be more time spent on Ellie coming to terms with everything before being so confident and comfortable.Overall, I am glad that I didn’t ditch The Girl with the Red Balloon after 9%. I liked reading about two Jewish protagonists, and overall the story was interesting and unique. I certainly appreciated learning what East Berlin was like in 1988 because it was something that I was never taught in history classes.I think if you’re a fan of time travel, want to read a book with a range of diverse characters, and enjoy magical balloon stories then I’d suggest giving The Girl with the Red Balloon a chance.© 2017, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.trigger warning: war themes, martial law, reference to concentration camps, time spent in Nazi ghetto, death of father, death of sibling, death of mother (Nazi gas chamber), use of g*psy slur, multiple deaths, use of ableist language, suicidal ideation, building fire (arson), burn wounds, smoke inhalation, forced drug use, racism, reference to homomisia, and multiple murders in this novel
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    The Girl with the Red Balloon tells the tale of Ellie Baum, a teen who inadvertently time travels back to 1988 East Berlin via a magical red balloon. While there, she learns that there is an entire network of balloonmakers, who are using their magic to fight oppression by giving the gift of freedom to selected passengers.Well, that was a magical adventure, but that ending!!!! There I was, some tears escaping my eyes, and then that's all Locke gave me. Well done, Katherine Locke. You have left me The Girl with the Red Balloon tells the tale of Ellie Baum, a teen who inadvertently time travels back to 1988 East Berlin via a magical red balloon. While there, she learns that there is an entire network of balloonmakers, who are using their magic to fight oppression by giving the gift of freedom to selected passengers.Well, that was a magical adventure, but that ending!!!! There I was, some tears escaping my eyes, and then that's all Locke gave me. Well done, Katherine Locke. You have left me totally wanting. Kudos to you.My little outburst after reading that last sentence. I shelved this book on my fantasy shelf, because it involved time travel, but with any time travel book, we also have some historical content. Most of the story takes place in East Berlin, and I was in love with this idea of the balloonmakers helping East Germans over the wall, because my family, who were in West Germany, actually offered their home to those escaping the East."If you give a girl a magic balloon, she'll rage against the machine."But, Locke didn't just focus on the oppression of those behind the Iron Curtain, she also wove in the genocide of the European Roma and Jews during the Nazi regime of World War II. The character, Benno, was a Jewish teen, who was relocated from Berlin to the Łódź Ghetto in Poland during WWII, and the chapters that were from his point of view, were often painful. They tell starvation, slave labor, sickness, death, and despair, but there were also these shreds of hope and beauty too. "If you give a girl a red balloon, she'll believe in magic and memory."I totally fell in love with Ellie, Kai, and Mitzi. Each character was individually strong, but they were even better together. I adored the dynamic between Mitzi and Kai, and I immediately shipped Ellie and Kai. I found myself very invested in their relationship. I don't know if it was this idea of trans-temporal romance or that I, myself, was so in love with Kai. He was so complicated, loyal, brave. He risked his life, so that others could enjoy freedom. He gave up his wants and desires, and assumed a life behind the Iron Curtain, in order to protect his sister. Just, wow!"If you give a girl a red balloon, she'll never want to let go."This book took me on a historical journey with a magical twist. It made me laugh, cry, swoon, and smile. I rooted for good, raged against evil, and was left curious for the next book.**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this bookBLOG|INSTAGRAM|BLOGLOVIN| FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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