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All the Walls of Belfast

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  274 ratings  ·  80 reviews
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 des
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Turner
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Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
wow. okay. when i picked this up, not for one second did i think this would be a story that would make me emotional. yet here we are.

maybe its because ireland has such a special place in my heart, with belfast occupying a large portion of that space, but i felt like i lived and breathed every word of this story.

this is a character driven novel, but set in the middle of a city that is recovering from hurt and hoping for peace. the long history of northern ireland is not commonly talked about, s
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing and reminded me a little of Romeo and Juliet in the sense that they are technically forbidden to be together. Fiona's family is Catholic and Danny's family is Protestant. Their parents' pasts hold an ugly truth that could shatter what love Fiona and Danny have for each other. Learning about both their parents' pasts was interesting, but that shouldn't change the way they feel for each other. It's not their fault for what their parents did. I definitely recommend this book. ...more
TheBibliotheque ♡
Belfast is a city that will always own a big chunk of my heart. It was the city where I started flying free. My first proper job, my first apartment, my first experience abroad. Belfast helped shaping me in the adult woman I am today.

So I will jump at the chance of reading a book that is set there. Specially, it that is a young adult book. And that is exactly what I did.

I think this book comes with excellent timing, now that half of the world is seemingly walking backwards while the other half t
Madalyn (Novel Ink)
This review originally appeared on Novel Ink.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

*Content warnings: violence; child abuse; extensive talk of the Troubles and the violence and death that came along with them*

I fell in love with Belfast upon first visiting the capital of Northern Ireland in 2016– so much so, in fact, that I’ve been back twice since. So when I saw that a YA book set in Belfast, featu
A little novel with a big heart.

I just want to give Fiona and Danny a big hug!

Review coming soon!!!
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Official blurb: ALL THE WALLS OF BELFAST is a powerful story about how the stones our parents throw in the past make ripples in our futures. Fiona and Danny's distinct voices weave a colorful tapestry of modern-day Belfast that will stick with readers for a long, long time.

Further thoughts: WOW. This is a ride. I'll admit to knowing very little about "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland prior to reading, so I appreciate how much research Carlson must have done to create an accurate portrait of bot
Alex Black
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This was so good! I adored this book. Fiona and Danny were both such well developed characters and I loved the family dynamic each of them was dealing with. I also really enjoyed the cultural element to this book. It's not own voices (the author is American) and I am American, so I can't speak for accuracy, but purely from a writing standpoint, she captured the culture so well. I adored reading it.

My main issue was just that it was a little short and felt a little to fast paced. The relationship
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed here @ Angieville

I have had a string of lovely successes with contemporaries lately. I wonder, sometimes, about the phases we go through, both in reading and in life in general and whether or not (or where) they align. I'm not always able to see the patterns amid the daily vicissitudes, but I wonder about them often. Several months ago, I saw the cover for Sarah J. Carlson's debut novel All the Walls of Belfast and thought I might have died and gone direct to heaven. The tit
Samantha (WLABB)
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
All the Walls of Belfast was one of the freshest and more interesting take on Romeo & Juliet, that I have read in quite a while.


• Fiona: Born in Belfast, but raised in the US, she was largely unaware of the Troubles and the shadow they cast over Northern Ireland.

• Danny: A Belfast resident, who fought to better himself as as to escape the destructive parts of his culture.


Danny and Fiona accidentally meet and strike up a friendship, but when they learn, they reside on opposite sides of
Lindsey Lynn (thepagemistress)
TW: domestic violence, alcoholism, neglect, depression
*Was provided a copy for free to review and advertise on my instagram account @thepagemistress
All thoughts are my own*

This book follows Fiona and Danny, which I must say I love duel perspective books. Fiona is just reuniting with her long lost father in Belfast, Ireland and Danny is a local. Fiona's father has a very troubled past with lots of things she never knew about. She has to decide if she trusts her father or if she's the monster s
Sonia Hartl
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book, the relationship between Danny and Fiona was so well done, with everything they had to overcome. The climax was so tense, with new information being revealed to keep me on my toes while reading. Highly recommend this one!
Abi Robins
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Coming out on the 12th March, 2019!!

I was very kindly given this book by the author Sarah as an ARC, and she didn't ask me to review it but I've decided that I want to anyways. Honestly, I wasn't sure how I felt about the premise of this book going in. The synopsis made me think it'd be a bit romance heavy for my tastes and I was nervous about that. Turns out that I didn't need to be as I adored this book! 

We follow two main characters within the book (so the book has two perspectives). Our firs
Mark Grotjohn
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This isn't just a love story. It's a unique drama, fraught in complex history and layered in self-discovery. It was intriguing to watch the love between Fiona and Danny unfold, but what really kept me enthralled was the growth of the individual characters: Fiona's rediscovery and exploration of her relationships with her parents, and Danny's struggle, his culture at odds with his dreams.
This book helped me understand the gravity and complexity of The Troubles and the history and culture at play
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to Turner Publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Belle Ellrich
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it

When Sarah pitched me her book to review, I immediately agreed to take it on. I don't think you know how difficult it is to find books centered in countries other than the USA, UK, or some other made up place. Ireland is a part of my family's history, and getting to read a book centered there is like a dream come true.

Fiona is a character I think we'd all be able to relate to if we were forced into the
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
American teen Fiona travels to Belfast, Northern Ireland, to reunite with her father whom she has not seen since she was a toddler. Having no memories of her older half brothers or her birthplace, Fiona tentatively gets to know her family and explores her culture and community. She discovers her Catholic father was formally a key member of the IRA and his bombs killed many people during the Troubles, a time when ethno-nationalism led to violence between Catholics and Protestants. Fiona meets Dan ...more
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book so. much. It has been a long time since I have felt this invested in characters from so early on in the story; what is it about both Fiona and Danny that made me like them so much? I still haven't figured it out, but I think it made all the difference. Perhaps it is because characters on both sides were so well represented, for their strengths and their flaws; it showed how no one side is ever fully right or fully wrong, they're both just human.

Because I cared about the charact
Terra Laurel
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Such mixed feelings about this one! I spent 11 days in Belfast in 2017 studying the role of libraries during The Troubles, so I was very excited to read a YA novel set in Belfast. It was extremely satisfying to read the author's description of the city because it so closely matched my experience of it. However, I started to realize that my experience of Belfast was definitely as an outsider, a tourist. It became clear that the author is also an outsider and I wonder how the book might ...more
Jodi Herlick
Oct 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fiona and Danny’s story is a heart-wrenching take on star-crossed lovers. I fell in love with the broken but relatable characters almost immediately. The narration moves smoothly back and forth between the two main characters, and it was easy to understand both their hurt and their heart. The story was fast-paced, compelling, and unputdownable. The backdrop of the aftermath of the Ireland conflict was fascinating. I learned a lot about the history, but I also loved how Fiona and Danny’s story tr ...more
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story! It made me reminiscent of my own youthful navigations in love. I loved the new man her dad is trying to be, and I could feel the tension as she suddenly dropped back into her brothers lives. The story between Fiona and Danny is so sweet, focused on commonalities and making each other happy as they struggle with their own darkness and in spite of the figurative and literal barriers that make their meeting so unlikely. I read most of this book in a day because I couldn’t put it ...more
Clare O'Beara
This is a very well written but ultimately sad story, about attitudes in Northern Ireland not changing fast enough. We think life is so much better there now, and that is indeed the case, but at times the situation is poised and people can be thrown back into danger even if they are of the new generation.
We see a young lady from an Irish-American family meeting a young man from an abusive Protestant family when she's a tourist in Belfast and he is trying to head out of Belfast. Family issues ov
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading about the culture of Belfast.
A good diversity of characters.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Please Note: I received an advance copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

***Trigger Warning for domestic violence***

Last summer I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Northern Ireland. I was so impressed, not only with the historic sights and staggering natural beauty, but with the people. Everyone was so friendly and hopeful for the future. The "Troubles" seemed to be a long-ago conflict.

But, even during o
Sarah Hunnicutt
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you, @kidlitexchange, for lending me a review copy of this book! All opinions are my own.

This book was highly engaging and I really enjoyed it. It was definitely a rollercoaster ride. So why only four stars? There were times where I was certain I was going to give it five stars, and other parts where I was going to give it three. I'll talk more about that later.

Fiona is an American...mostly. She was born in Ireland but had to flee the country with her mother when she was a toddler. Now she
Susan Apps-Bodilly
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved Sarah Carlson's debut novel set in Belfast Ireland!
Sarah Carlson - All the Walls of Belfast

Note: I was given an Advanced Review Copy of this book in order to provide a fair review.
I also attended Sarah Carlson's book launch at Mystery to Me Bookstore in Madison, WI.

All the Walls of Belfast is set in Northern Ireland today. The two main characters are teens who both remain affected by the “Troubles” that occurred there when they were younger. A large wall still separates Danny’s Protes
Kailyn Bettle
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
All the Walls of Belfast is your classic tale of star-crossed lovers. Fiona’s father, who until a month ago she didn’t know existed, is a former member of the Catholic IRA. Danny’s father and many of his friends are protestant and active members of the UVF. “The Troubles” have played a significant role in both of their lives in the past and may end up keeping them apart.

One thing I loved about this book was that it brought light to a part of history (and present day continuations) that many peo
Madelyne DeNovellis
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: engl-4250
Man, am I a sucker for novels set in Ireland. I chose this purely for the name of the of the city written on the cover. Though - I am oh so glad I picked it up. Fiona is Belfast born and Wisconsin bred as her mother whisked her away when she was just two years old! Fiona finds her way back to Ireland, however, because she discovers her father is alive. Danny is the son of a drunk and Loyalist. Danny dreams of joining the military. What I love about this book is that it shows two people from two ...more
J Mccarragher
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlitexchange
“Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of
this book - all opinions are my own.”
In All the Walls of Belfast, Sarah Carlson’s debut novel paints a dreadful picture of a country in turmoil. The attention to detail of the language, dialect, and slang make this book such an incredible read, but definitely meant for a mature YA audience. A true testament to young love and the necessary blindness to make their world make sense, Danny and Fiona weave their way through war, religious
I loved this debut but am not feeling the shaming language the author uses in the description for her second book. Substance use disorders are a health concern we should work holistically toward, not shame. Will no longer support Sarah going forward.


A modern day Romeo and Juliet set in actual historical tension and minus the tragic death? I.AM.IN.

I loved watching Sarah’s lead up to release, showcasing the actual walls of Belfast and the community itself. Her photos and narrative helped set the
Laura Sibson
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The narration of this audio edition was fantastic, using two narrators to capture each of the point of view characters personalities. I loved the way that Carlson showed the reader the challenge of forgiving the unforgivable, the prison of living within your parents' narrow belief system and the joy of finding new love. Fiona is an Irish-born Catholic girl raised in America. Danny is a Northern Irish Protestant boy whose mother died in an IRA bomb. By seeing each character with their families or ...more
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Sarah J. Carlson writes contemporary YA that delves into complex, real world problems. Professionally, she is a school psychologist who works primarily with a diverse, mostly low income population. Her professional focus is around supporting the success of children with behavioral and mental health needs and helping to promote resilience in children who have been exposed to trauma or toxic stress. ...more

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