Review: '89 Walls by Katie Pierson

Title: '89 Walls
Author: Katie Pierson
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Publisher: Wise Ink
Paperback, 264 Pages
Published June 2015
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Summary: 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 her doubt her old assumptions. Challenging the rules now, though, would a) squander her last summer at home, b) antagonize her conservative dad, and c) make her a hypocrite. Seth and Quinn’s passionate new romance takes them both by surprise. They keep it a secret: it’s too early to make plans and too late not to care. But it’s 1989. As politics suddenly get personal, they find themselves fighting bare-fisted for their beliefs—and each other—in the clear light of day.
I received a copy of '89 Walls from author Katie Pierson in exchange for an honest review. When I read the summary of this book, not only was I intrigued by the line that "politics suddenly get personal" for the main characters, and I wanted to know why. Another reason I was curious about this book was that my parents are both high school graduates (and high school sweethearts) of the year 1989, so I wanted to see what high school life was like for them back in the day. (And yes, I did fact check a lot of parts of this book with my mom and dad about 80's culture for teenagers. xD)

In this book, Quinn is pretty much the "it" girl. Top of her class, pretty and smart, smart boyfriend, well-off parents, and a perfect life. Seth is the complete opposite - struggling for money, his mom is sick with MS, his father died in the Vietnam war, and - to Quinn's dismay - he's a Democrat.  (There are a lot of politics in this book, which I'm glad I understood since it was only last month that we were covering the 1980's in AP U.S. History.) Anyway, Seth has been in love with Quinn since the tenth grade - he even wrote her a love note that he never had the guts to send. Until, one day, he does.

Everything changes after that. Quinn's relationship with her boyfriend takes a drastic turn, Seth and Quinn's relationship takes some more drastic turns, and something happens to Quinn that makes the politics of the 1980's much, much more real. (I won't spoil this for you, but I'm sure you can guess what I'm talking about. Read the book anyway to find out!)

There are a lot of sex references in this book, so this is not for younger eyes! But the book itself really was good, and I really liked it. Even if at times, Quinn seemed like a raging b*tch and I just wanted to backhand her once or twice (or three times). I'm surprised nobody in the book did it to her. However, watching her family dynamic was interesting to see, too - how crucial winning debates against her father (regarding politics) seemed to her, even if in reality it wasn't something all that important in family life. Watching Seth struggle in his own ways with his sick mom was interesting, too - I never knew anybody with MS, so I had no idea what it would even be like. 

The ending of the book totally took me by surprise - there's definitely a major plot twist in there that I had no idea was ever even coming. (Again, I'm not going to spoil it for you - read the book yourself to find out!) I actually gasped out loud because I couldn't believe it. Pierson definitely is good at plot twists and shocking the reader, unlike E. Lockhart. (I'm still bitter over the ending of We Were Liars and how sucky of a plot twist that was.)

All in all, '89 Walls was a really enjoyable book about love, struggles, sickness, and 1980's life in general, politics and pop-culture wise. This was a book that I really liked and I'd like to thank author Katie Pierson for sending me a copy! This is definitely a book that I think anyone interested in YA contemporary should pick up, because it's an interesting viewpoint from a totally different decade that most of us never experienced firsthand. I really liked it!


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