Review—’89 Walls by Katie Pierson

When I received the email from Bostick Communications announcing the publication of Katie Pierson’s new YA novel, I was excited. It was described as a novel that mirrored our time in 2015, when we still “argue[d] bitterly over the parameters of legalized abortion,” with a “sex-positive” message for young girls.

The female protagonist, Quinn, is a high school senior trying to decide where she’s headed, both in the literal and figurative sense. She talks politics with her dad and her classmates—including Seth, who eventually becomes her boyfriend—in Mr. Levine’s history class. She sometimes thinks profound things like, “The problem with being friends with audacious people was that it made you see your own fraudulence more clearly.”

89 Walls

89 Walls

The male protagonist, Seth, is a high school senior who thinks he already knows where he’s headed, because he feels trapped by the town in which he lives, as well as his mother’s multiple sclerosis and continued declining health.

I expected to read a mix of politics (as was also advertised in the email) and teen romance, and on that point I wasn’t entirely disappointed. I felt, though, that in order to treat each subject appropriately, the novel needed to be longer. Problematically, when I made it a decent bit into the novel, I didn’t feel a true connection to any of the characters. The action, political arguments, and relationship changes all felt rushed to me.

To me, the issues dealt with in the novel—sexuality, abortion, political beliefs, terminal illness and end-of-life choices—needed a much longer treatment to make them work.

I admire what Pierson was trying to do by having a strong female protagonist who learns many different truths, but I’d love to see it done in a more well-developed way in a longer novel.

*This book was sent to me by the author following my response to the email from Bostick Communications.

2 thoughts on “Review—’89 Walls by Katie Pierson

  1. Pingback: SLJ, Foreward and Salon.com reviews! | Katie Pierson

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