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YA Review: All the Walls of Belfast by Sara J. Carlson

Title: All the Walls of Belfast
AuthorSara J. Carlson
Year Published: 2018

Genre: YA fiction (historical)
Pages: 251
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map): United Kingdom and the US (WI)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Fiona and Danny were born in the same hospital. Fiona’s mom fled with her to the United States when she was two, but, fourteen years after the Troubles ended, a forty-foot-tall peace wall still separates her dad’s Catholic neighborhood from Danny’s Protestant neighborhood.

After chance brings Fiona and Danny together, their love of the band Fading Stars, big dreams, and desire to run away from their families unites them. Danny and Fiona must help one another overcome the burden of their parents’ pasts. But one ugly truth might shatter what they have…

Review: This novel was a perfect supplement to the nonfiction book about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. It really shows how the Catholics and Protestants feel about each other, why they feel that way, and how it is so deeply steeped in their every day lives.

I cared about all the characters in this novel, even the ones who are angry and have done horrible things. The author did a great job of showing the reader that everyone has multiple facets that make up who they are and that one (or more) wrong turns doesn't mean we're "bad." Having Fiona come from the US gave people she met the excuse to tell her (and the reader) about how things work and what the issues are.

Northern Ireland, while officially past The Troubles, really isn't. There is still so much tension, hatred, distrust, and posturing that it is tough to see how things will get better. I've seen an Orange (Protestant) parade in person and, I'll be honest, it freaked me out. Not because I am Catholic (because I am not), but because it felt hostile. Those feelings are well represented by both sides in this novel.

Challenges for which this counts: 
For the Pop Sugar challenge (and it's one of the "20" bonuses), this book has 20 letters in the title 

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