Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The House of One Thousand Eyes” as Want to Read:
The House of One Thousand Eyes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The House of One Thousand Eyes

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Who can Lena trust to help her find out the truth? Life in East Germany in the early 1980s is not easy for most people, but for Lena, it’s particularly hard. After the death of her parents in a factory explosion and time spent in a psychiatric hospital recovering from the trauma, she is sent to live with her stern aunt, a devoted member of the ruling Communist Party. Visit ...more
354 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Annick Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The House of One Thousand Eyes, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The House of One Thousand Eyes

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  245 ratings  ·  77 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The House of One Thousand Eyes
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every once in awhile you read a novel that stands out from the rest, sticking in your mind for good. The House of One Thousand Eyes is one of those standouts. I would give this ten stars if I could.

Set in East Germany in the 1980s before the Berlin Wall comes down, this novel focuses on Lena, who was orphaned when her parents were killed in an industrial accident and she is being raised by her aunt, who is a devout member of the ruling Communist party. Lena lives for the visits she has with her
Benjamin baschinsky
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Heart warming story set in E Berlin in the 1980’s.
A girl who has lost her parents due to an accident, was put in a hospital, thought to being mentally unstable goes to live with her aunt .
The trials and tribulations of people living with the special police the Stasi are always in the background .
Not to give any spoilers but worth an excellent read.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it

This was a very good book, telling a story of what it was like to live in East Berlin during the early 1980s. 17 year old Lena Altmann works the midnight shift cleaning offices at the Stasi Headquarters. Naïve understandings of what killed her parents in a factory incident years earlier turn to doubt as another relative disappears overnight.

The book is filled with wonderful examples of the oppression and rigidness of living in "Better Germany" behind the Iron Curtai
Jennie Shaw
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I first heard of THE HOUSE OF ONE THOUSAND EYES, it sounded like a great dystopian read. Upon closer inspection, I discovered it was actually historical fiction set behind the Berlin Wall, so same difference? With strong 1984 vibes that hit close to home *glances south* this slower burn novel more than delivered by the end. Excellent character growth and Lena's bravery earned my admiration. Barker's exploration of living in a paranoid society had me questioning each character's intentions, ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Things are hard for Lena, and yet she is strong throughout this book. Picture this: It's the 1980s, there's an East Germany and a West Germany. The government on the East side dictates what you watch, how you speak, where you work, and what you do with your time. And if you step out of line-- they can make you disappear. That's exactly what happened to Lena's Uncle Erich; and Lena is determined to find out the truth.

The book starts out with Lena living with her aunt who is crazy dedicated to Ea
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recently, I read a compelling historical fiction book about West Berliners and how they coped after WWII when their country was split into zones. The House of One Thousand Eyes was another captivating YA read that effectively delved into the lives of East Berliners where freedom and rights were no longer a given and every move to question truths was quickly, and sometimes permanently, silenced.

This story centered on a very selfless seventeen year old who wanted answers to her uncle’s abrupt dis
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book deserves all the attention. The House of One Thousand Eyes tackles so many issues, from back then to modern day: sexual assault, oppression, mental health. It's haunting and eerie, especially with the East Berlin setting. A powerful lesson of history with a character who won't give up, this book is by far one I would recommend.

"People could surprise you with their secrets-the ones they kept, and the ones they didn't."
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Must read for any fans of historical fiction especially of East and West Germany during the early 80s.
Indigo Wayworth
I am absolutely head over heels in love with this book.
The political intrequige, the suspense, the intensity. I love our main character Lena, and her story is so fascinating.

I'll be part of the Blog Tour, so wait for my post!!
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"So remember when you tell those little white lies
That the night has a thousand eyes..."

--Bobby Vee, "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes"

I thought that this song by the late Bobby Vee was a good lead-in to this book review. It's also amazing to me how people tend to easily forget history. Even though the Berlin Wall came down almost 30 years ago, it's still unbelievable that Germany was once divided into two sections--in East and West Germany.

What drew me into this book was the cover. I enjoyed that
Bianca Smith
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review was originally published at Mass Consternation.

I received this book for free from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. If you've read my other reviews, you'll know that if it's bad, I'll say so, regardless of how I received the book.

Occasionally a novel comes along that is so vividly written that it’s hard to believe it’s fiction. I have read two this year. First, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, now The House of a Thousand Eyes by Michelle Barker.

Lena lives in East Germany i
YALSA #BFYA2019 nominee; read review here: ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received The House of One Thousand Eyes by Michelle Barker from Annick Press, a Canadian children's and young adult publisher, in exchange for an honest review! The House of One Thousand Eyes is a historical fiction novel set in Germany in the 1980's.
I will admit firsthand that I don't have a lot of knowledge about Germany in the 80's especially to do with Berlin and the Berlin Wall (which is where this is set). Barker did an amazing job of writing the scenery and really making you feel like
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My rating: 4,75 stars.

I admit, it was a bit difficult to get into this book at first. Partly that was because the document I received was formatted badly. I'm not sure if my kindle is to blame or if the file got damaged, but there were a few errors, the text size changed for a paragraph, there was no block text, or paragraphs got switched around. Luckily, that stopped a few pages later and I was able to enjoy the book much more. That's what caused the subtraction of 0.25 a star, but I'm obviosly
J.L. Slipak
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Who can Lena trust to help her find out the truth? Life in East Germany in the early 1980s is not easy for most people, but for Lena, it’s particularly hard. After the death of her parents in a factory explosion and time spent in a psychiatric hospital recovering from the trauma, she is sent to live with her stern aunt, a devoted member of the ruling Communist Party. Visits with her beloved Uncle Erich, a best-selling author, are her only respite. But one night, her uncle disappears without a tr ...more
Brooke Lorren
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I was debating between giving this book three and four stars... I did enjoy it, and I think that it's an important book, but there were some elements that were not for me, which is why I eventually gave it three stars instead of four. That doesn't mean that this won't be a great book for many people though.

The concept of this book is outstanding, and really important for people to read about. Lena was living in East Germany in the early 1980s. It was a time when Germany was ruled by the Stasi, o
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
TW: Sexual assault, child abuse

3.5 stars

Lena is simple. At least, that's what she's been told. After having wasps in her mind and leaving a mental hospital, she lives under strict rules in her Auntie's house and works as a night janitor in the Stasi Headquarters. She goes to work, she goes home, and on Sundays she visits her beloved Uncle Erich.

Then Erich disappears.

And Lena begins to wake up.

This was an incredibly difficult book to get into. I'm not sure if it was because of the narrative style
Brittani (Game, Read, Teach)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica Wright
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I had some trouble starting with this book. The formatting was really bad: in sentence breaks, page numbers in the middle of pages, author headers in pages, etc. I felt like a print .pdf was converted to .mobi in a program like Calibre and then not checked before uploading. This made the reading very difficult, even if this was the ARC version, where I expect to see some errors. However, having to fight through an ARC or readjust your focus every line breaks up the experience. I found myself rea ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was really surprised by this novel and I'm really glad I picked it up. To be honest I didn't know much about 1983 GDR. To me, the best thing about historical fiction is researching the history aspect of the novel and comparing facts with fiction. I love hearing the real stories and picking apart the novel to find out which parts were true and which were fiction. This story seems to be pretty accurate, which to me is very impressive.

The House of One Thousand Eyes tells the story of a young teen
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
House of One Thousand Eyes is set in Berlin during a time when the tensions between East and West Germany were at an all-time high. During this time, the people of East Germany were monitored closely to see that their people would not revolt against the government. Oppression was real and people died trying to leave.

However, there were others that were extremely loyal to East Germany and may have even loved living there. If they did not love it, they at least loved telling on their own neighbor
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it
My Thoughts:
About two years before the Tiannamen Square massacre in Beijing, I was a dorm advisor for an early college program in China Studies at the University of Hawaii. This was my evening job after they came back from dinner as well as my all day job when we brought the 20 of them to Beijing.

Although I was just two years older than them, the fear and realization that we were not in America or any democratic country was quickly made clear to me when I had to "rescue" one of my students that
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
(I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review)

4/5 stars
The house of one thousand eyes follows Lena, a girl who lives in East Germany in the 1980’s. She has lived with her aunt, who is a devoted member of the ruling party, since her parents died in an accident. Every Sunday she visits her beloved uncle, who is a popular writer. One day her uncle disappears and Lena makes it her mission to find out what happened to him.

When I read the synopsis of this book, I w
Michelle Mallette
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
See my full review at
This is a Canadian young adult book set in 1983 East Berlin, behind the Wall, and featuring 17-year-old Lena Altmann. She lives with her Auntie, a staunch Party member who took her in after a brief but brutal stay in a psychiatric hospital due to her deep grief over suddenly losing her parents in a factory accident. Auntie even got her a job cleaning the Stasi (secret police) headquarters. She spends with her beloved Uncle Erich, a wr
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it

Lena our main character is trying to find out what happened to her uncle, or was it really all in her head? No! She's sure he existed...right? Lena must be brave if shes to discover what truly happened...

Michelle Barker definitely did her homework for this novel. I felt like I was there right next to Lena. I have been to Berlin (not during the 1980's -when this book takes place) so perhaps it's easier for me to envision what our main character is seeing in front of her. However, I think anyon
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Woohoo, this was fantastic! Set in (East) Berlin in the 1980s, a time and place I find super interesting but that I don't know much about, and now I definitely want to read more. I was 7 when the wall came down and it's so crazy to me to think that this book was set when I was alive, it seems either like something from a very distant past, OR a dystopian future. Loved this book, if anyone is reading this then hit me with recommendations of more to read! I definitely learned a lot :) And the fict ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As the daughter and granddaughter of GDR-citizens and proud Eastern German myself, I am always interested in books set in the GDR. However, I am also always weary, as it is too easy to turn the subject-matter into mere propaganda or a joke - especially if the authors are not from around here. That being said, Michelle Barker surprised me with her unbiased and neutral treatment of the country, taking it mainly as the scene for a compelling and suspenseful story. When her uncle suddenly disappears ...more
Jee Hooked On Bookz
Oct 04, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an unpopular opinion, so please bear with me.

It started off slow, then picked up when her uncle went missing. The suspense was there but I personally think it went on for too long. The pace kind of plateued after awhile.

The plot was definitely better than the character development. Lena's character was the most well polished. I liked her relationship with her colleague, Jutta, but not Max which I found hard to get into. I just thought that relationship didn't really gel well with the en
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: histfic, ya
The Cold War is in full swing. Young Lena lives in East Berlin, officially "The Better Germany," but whispered of as "Scheisse Osten," the shitty East. She has never quite recovered from her parents' death in a factory and her subsequent incarceration in a mental institution, but she does have a night job cleaning the headquarters of the dreaded Stasi, the secret police, thanks to her aunt who is a Party member. Lena's Sundays with her uncle, a writer and dissident, are the only things that make ...more
Martha Schwalbe
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My first trip to Europe in 1980 included a week spent working on a farm in southern France. My companion spoke French but I spoke only German. The farmers spoke French. One other man spoke only French. One day he and I talked and he told me that he'd been a doctor in East German as well as a political prisoner. He'd been released and taken three times when he was issued an ultimatum, leave East Germany in the dead of night with on family contact or be executed.
Although Lena's story and experien
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Ghost Collector
  • Smoke (IQ #5)
  • Midwinterblood
  • Crossroads: My Story of Tragedy and Resilience as a Humboldt Bronco
  • A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
  • Search and Rescue
  • Verge
  • The Best Place on Earth
  • The Cure for Death by Lightning
  • The Stalker
  • Gutter Child
  • The Loop (The Loop Trilogy, #1)
  • After the First Death
  • The Book of Moods: How I Turned My Worst Emotions Into My Best Life
  • We Love Anderson Cooper
  • Stargazer (Leaphorn & Chee, #24)
  • The Women with Silver Wings: The Inspiring True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II
  • The Blackbird Girls
See similar books…
I was born and raised in Vancouver. I attended Arts One at UBC, studied for a year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and graduated with a BA from UBC in English literature. After a short foray into comp lit, I left the Master's program and worked as a research/editing assistant to Sherrill MacLaren. Sailed across the Pacific from Vancouver to Hawaii, had four children, lived for a summer in M ...more

Related Articles

If you've got an overflowing Want to Read shelf of books that you keep meaning to get to (one day!), you're in good company. Our company, that...
128 likes · 47 comments