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

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  126 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
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 u ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Expected publication: September 1st 2017 by Albert Whitman Company
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(showing 1-30)
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Candace Robinson
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Cam (abookeater)
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
Katherine Locke
Apr 14, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
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)
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book made me feel so, so much. Full review to come.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
alice (arctic books)
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
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Four stars, maybe more.


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
Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
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—EVE
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
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
Liv (Stories For Coffee)
Shae McDaniel
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
Jeanmarie Anaya
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Heidi Heilig
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read and loved an early version of this magical devastation. Up, up and away!

Galley provided by publisher

I 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
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.
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.
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ashley Poston
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This. Book.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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)

- (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
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
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
Sam Kozbial
A historical journey with a magical twist wrought with pain and suffering, but also love and joy.
Review to follow.

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
Lily Grant
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Final Thoughts / Rating:

I received this eARC in exchange for a free and honest review.

4 out of 5 Stars.

Everything is uncertain within the realm of the girl with the red balloon.

Ellie, our heroine, is a young Jewish-American girl on a school trip to modern day Berlin. In the beginning of the trip all is well, but in the midst of her questioning her identity and place within the world. Ellie comes into contact with a single floating red balloon.

Ellie knows or thinks she knows the significance behi
Sarah (Books Before Bandaids)
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
Growing up Ellie has heard the story of her grandfather's amazing escape from a WWII Nazi death camp numerous times; the red balloon that seemingly magicked him to safety was nothing short of a miracle. When she sees a red balloon on her class trip in 1988, she grabs it for a photo op and finds herself pulled back in time to months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. There Ellie, who is Jewish, befriends Kai, a Romani, and Mitzi, who is gay, who use magic red balloons to rescue people in East Be ...more
Now that it's over with I'm so sad I'm done! It's super early in the morning/late at night (I guess) so I'll have more thoughts up soonish :)
Lucy (That Book Gal)
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book really made me think. Rtc.
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)

Moving 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.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
“If the story was happy, you’d care less about that tiny little bit of freedom . . . We wouldn’t like the daylight if it wasn’t for the night. We wouldn’t notice the stars if not for the endless dark of night. All the story, like you said? That’s the important part. The sad parts are all about surviving. We are a people that survives. We endure. We will endure this too.”

I’m torn about this book. Really and truly torn. On one hand, the subject matter, the concept, the ideas behind this book are f
Silvana [The Book Voyagers]
I feel so lucky to have read an early copy of The Girl with the Red Balloon.It's definitely a book that pull at my heartstrings ~ I cried. You will too. Everyone will cry. The story will draw you in and you will never want to let go. Prepare yourself for a journey to the past and a cast of characters that will make sure to make you love them until the end of times.

Julia Ember
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read an early version of this and it was so fabulous. Really looking forward to the finished book and so happy for Kat Locke!!
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Katherine Locke lives and writes in a small town outside Philadelphia, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. She writes about that which she cannot do: ballet, magic, and time travel. She secretly believes all stories are fairytales in disguise. Her YA debut, THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON, arrives September 2017 from Albert Whitman & Comapny.
More about Katherine Locke...

Other Books in the Series

The Balloonmakers (2 books)
  • Untitled (The Balloonmakers, #2)

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