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'89 Walls

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  351 ratings  ·  160 reviews
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 he
Paperback, 264 pages
Published June 5th 2015 by Wise Ink
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Average rating 3.53  · 
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Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Katie Pierson, Wise Ink, and NetGalley.)

"The actual sex part - once the novelty factor wore off - seemed like more trouble and mess than it was worth."

(That does not sound like good sex!)

This was a romance story set in 1989, which read as a Young Adult novel, until people’s clothes started coming off.

The characters in this book seemed to make very rushed decisions. One minute Quinn was turning Seth
Jr Bacdayan
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I’ve never wanted a book to succeed as much as I want this one to. Yes, this is a YA romantic novel, but it’s much more than that. In a genre invaded by vampires, ancient gods, zombies, and pretty much anything mythical, it’s refreshing to read about something real and something that matters. You see this is a romance between a liberal democrat and a conservative republican in a precarious time when the world is on the brink, and human rights is threatened.

At the turn of the decade, the Cold Wa
Laurence R.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it

I have very mixed feelings towards this book. I could relate a lot to Quinn, yet sometimes I couldn't understand her at all. I thought the classes and the discussions were amazing and if there's one thing I learned from this book, it's that I love politics and that I would really enjoy being in a debate club - even if Quinn despised it.

However, I didn't really care about the characters' relationship. I can't really point out what is lacking in this book, but I couldn't get in the story at s
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ya
Review ’89 Walls by Katie Pierson

***I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***

First I have to say that I study Art history and last year we went to Berlin. As preparation for our visit we had some classes in the history of Berlin. Of course we all had some basis knowledge of it but the classes went further than that and learned us more. So when we visited the city we knew many things about the history of it. From Gorbatsjov to the wall and from the Stasi to escape possibi
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, contemporary, 2015
I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Katie Pierson, NetGalley and Wise Ink. A copy of this review will be posted on my blog, too:

This book is about two teens who were raised in different political backgrounds. Seth, a less-privileged guy, lives and takes care of his single mom who suffers from MS. Quinn is a privileged girl who lives with her conservative parents. She could be considered wealthy based on the desc
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, saucy
I received a copy of ’89 Walls in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Wise Ink and Netgalley. A copy of this review is also on my blog:

’89 Walls tells the story of Quinn and Seth, two teenagers living in Lincoln, Nebraska, attending the same high school and the same social sciences class. Quinn comes from an affluent Republican background; Seth comes from a disadvantaged liberal background. Despite the fact that they clash regularly in class over their polit
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion in any shape or form.

In 1989 my mom was 17 going on 18 so I really wanted to read this book and get a glimpse of my mom the year before she got pregnant with me. When I had the opportunity to journey back in time to 1989, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to 89 Walls but I can say I am pleasantly surprised I really enjoyed the book.

It took me a long time to finish this book it seems that each and ever
C.P. Cabaniss
Apr 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
*I received this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

This novel sounded promising and had me interested immediately. I was expecting it to be a mix of teen romance and politics. In some ways it was just that. Unfortunately it tried to delve into too many deeply rooted social issues that I never felt I could connect with the characters.

The prologue was promising and I found myself pulled into the story. Once I was a few chapters in I found it very difficult to connect with.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
'89 Walls is a refreshing take on the classic class conflict romance story.

Seth and Quinn come from drastically different backgrounds. Seth lives with his liberal mom - a single mother suffering from MS - who he takes care of. Quinn lives a privileged life with both of her wealthy conservative parents and doesn't really want for anything. Despite their differences, they find common ground and a wonderfully sweet romance blossoms between them.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book, I felt
Apr 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
*I received a copy of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

I want to keep my review short, because I have nothing positive to say, sadly. The author tried to put way too much in such a short book. 240 pages and we have angsty teen romance, politics, illness, abortion...I mean, too much. These are themes that require some depth and here there wasn't.

Seth is in love with Quin, or so it seems, but what he truly did for half the book was to attack her. And she was there, be
Jon Kahle
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have taught teenagers for 26 years and have a couple of my own at home. This book not only resonated with me, but will resonate with so many young adults. It seems, thankfully for me, that the days of vampire fiction are behind us and '89 Walls is a fresh, smart take on a tumultuous time in our history that will appeal to an audience that desperately needs it. A smart book for teenagers... refreshing! The writing is beautifully crafted, I connected with the characters, and cared about the outc ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya, 2015
I received this book via a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

So this book was originally gonna get 3 stars from me. The writing itself isn't bad, per se, but it wasn't something that really gripped me. That combined with the fact that it felt like this book was trying to conquer every social issue going on in felt clunky. Like, if the author had just picked 2 or 3, that would have worked SUPER well. But that, combined with the need to have philosophizing arguments be
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
From my review

In a provocative teen romance set in 1989, the politics get personal when a cynical, liberal high school senior who supports his dying mother with his minimum wage job falls hard for a girl who has believed everything her wealthy, conservative father has taught her about the world.

Seth spends his minimum wage on groceries and fakes happiness to distract his mom from the MS they both know will kill her.

Quinn’s finishing high school on top. But that cynical, liberal guy in
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
'89 Walls/Katie Pierson This is a take on the timeless idea of a privileged girl falling for a less-privileged boy.
The strongest point in my opinion was seeing Quinn and Sean's relationship with Quinn's dad and one of their teachers. Quinn develops a lot of her own political beliefs across the book and learns how to represent these with facts and with emotions. This felt very real.
Quinn and Seth's relationship was initially too cute, though the way she acted at the first party was kind of odd
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
I loved how original this book was. Full review to come.

Updated June 7, 2015

**Thank you to Wise Ink for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!**

'89 Walls was such a unique book; unlike anything I had read before. I flew right through it after about 40% because it was just that interesting.

Seth has had a crush on Quinn for the longest time, though she has a boyfriend. He ends up writing her a note in class and gives it to her, in which he professes how much he likes her. Af
Suzanne Merideth
Apr 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was a teen in the eighties, and this book was like a finding a snapshot of those days -- a time when politics and relationships felt so important. Quinn and Seth's journey to find each other was sweet and realistic. Their rocky beginnings as school rivals don't stop them from helping each other with real life problems. I appreciated the author's frank approach to issues like pregnancy, parental illness, and suicide, and the way Quinn and Seth face the world head on. Both personally and politic ...more
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
*Thanks to Wise Ink, Katie Pierson and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book*

So I struggled with what to rate this as, just because in some ways the book really annoyed me, but in other ways it made me want to stay up until 3:30am to finish it. Having seen mixed reviews, I was really intrigued as to how I would feel about it.

First off, negatives:
- I felt like there were some gaps in the plot, in a way that some things just moved way too quickly. It seemed like the writing was rushed. For
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'89 Walls was originally introduced to me as a book about abortion and the politics of 1989 that came with it. '89 Walls delves into abortion, but mostly it's the story of Quinn and Seth who are at opposing sides of political parties. They engage in intense, thought-provoking arguments about the world they live in their history class. I don't know about everybody else, but I loved history class in high school yet I don't remember reading about so much of the politics that was going on today or a ...more
Brooke (The Cover Contessa)
I want to thank the author for sending me a copy of this book to read and review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review.

I am a child of the 80s. I was in HS in the 80s. So when I read the blurb of this book, with kids who were in HS in the 80s, I knew I had to give it a try!

Quinn and Seth, frenemies. Well, sort of. More like rivals. But for a long time Seth has loved Quinn. Yet she's been out of his league. At least he thinks she has until one day he decides to
Anna Smithberger
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I want to put this book into teen's hands.

It looks at something that very few books for teens do: Politics. And it does this is such a brilliant way, a way that isn't horrendously alienating for liberal or conservative readers. Quinn is a Young Republican--from an upper-middle class background who for the most part agrees with her conservative parents on the issues. Seth is a liberal--poor, blue collar son of a single mother with a Vote Dukakis sticker in his locker. That's part of what makes t
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
'89 Walls is a consuming coming of age novel that takes readers on a journey through the lives, loves, struggles, and triumphs of two teens as they prepare to graduate high school and enter adulthood.

Quinn and Seth are high school seniors in Lincoln, Nebraska. Quinn has a bright future ahead of her as she prepares to head off to college at George Washington. Seth who's also quite intelligent has an uncertain future. He desires a college education and a chance to escape his circumstances, but tha
Apr 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I asked NetGalley for a copy of ’89 Walls in exchange for an honest review. I must clarify that I am an elementary school librarian who reads mostly middle grade books and a few older titles, so please take this review in that context.
As I began to read '89 Walls I kept on thinking of the instructional uses of the book. I remember '89 clearly, so all the discussions brought forth in the book fell on fertile territory and thus I enjoyed reading about them. The relationship between the two main ch
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
YA book for the older teen due to adult themes. Like the author, I too was in high school in the late eighties. The political and social climate described is spot on. The characters are faced with navigating their independence, sexual awakenings, political awareness and maturation with the background of apartheid, Roe v Wade, Christian coalitions, growing end of the cold war, AIDS, and conservatism of the tale end of Reagan trickle down economics. Classic romance of boy meets girl from the other ...more
Lindsay Heller
More like a 3.5.

This book was passed to me by a friend and I'm glad because I'm not sure I would have ever found this novel on my own. It had some good bits and would probably be very knowledgeable to its target audience; young adults.

Pretty much all the information in this book was know to me because I lived through '89 (though I was eight) and remember it. But if I was younger it might feel more like discovering a time capsule. Because while this book is ostensibly a romance... it's really abo
Pallavi Sareen
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy in exchange of an honest review.

This is a beautiful story set in 1989. Quinn Ganey has a wonderful life with a nice home and parents that love her. But it's not like that for everyone out there. The cold war has ended but people are struggling still.
Seth has it rough in life. And while he has waited three years to talk to the girl he likes, he doesn't really think that it will work out between them.
The way their love story grows and how th
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
4 stars.

'89 Walls is important because it talks intelligently about heavy issues — nuclear disarmament, abortion, conservative/liberal ideals — without being preachy. And this is the first YA I've read (to my knowledge) that had a main character who chose to have an abortion AND talked about the process with candor. I appreciated this contribution to destigmatizing abortion.

Don't fret, it's not all political — the love story is very well done. I would give this book as a gift (and I'm very picky
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book was provided to me for free through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Quinn and Seth are two high school seniors facing the end of high school and the end of the 80s at the same time. Their backgrounds are distinctly different, but it doesn't stop them from being drawn together: Quinn is influenced by her wealthy Republican parents, and clashes with Democrat-leaning Seth, who spends his free time working at the lumberyard to support himself and his mother, who is suffering fr
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review and rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

A coming of age story set in Lincoln, Nebraska, ’89 Walls by Katie Pierson is a genre crossing mix filled with teenage angst, first love, sex, politics, and religion. It’s also a mix of first and third person point of view, colorful and diverse characters and the reminder that regardless of how you may feel, time marches on to the beat of its own drum
Harrie Farrow
May 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
I loved the premise of the book, but not so much the way it was executed. Came across as too obvious in it's moral agendas which were good teaching lessons but distracted a lot from the story. Ultimately the plot fell flat. ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ya-na
This book interested me right away, because hey--I was a high school senior in 1989. Would the author be able to take me back to that time, and still make it relatable to today's high schoolers? I had to find out. Clearly, I was destined to read this one.

The answer to both of my questions turns out to be yes. Though I wasn't nearly as politically involved/aware as Seth and Quinn while in high school, I do remember most of the major events mentioned in the book. (Though somehow the fact that the
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YA Buddy Readers'...: '89 Walls by Katie Pierson - Restarting June 4th 2015 50 38 Jun 06, 2015 08:23PM  

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I freelance for local non-profits, using my background in public policy and grassroots organizing to overthrow the patriarchy one introverted step at a time. When I'm not writing fiction, I return library books, make soup, and try to be cooler than I really am by hip-hopping at the YMCA.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in American History from the University of Pennsylvania (where I dabbled briefly in

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