Breaking Down the Wall is set in 1989 and is a sequel to The Boy Behind the Wall which was set in 1967. While it’s not necessary to have read the earlier book to follow the plot, the story does tie up some loose ends from the previous book.
Breaking Down the Wall is about 13-year-old Greta who lives in East Berlin with her mother. Her father is a political prisoner because he orchestrated the escape of many who lived in East Berlin. Her grandmother and one of her aunts escaped to the West many years earlier, and her mother and father did too but came back to the East to help others to leave. Greta and her mother take turns visiting her father in prison, but the visits are mostly unsatisfactory as her father isn’t free to tell Greta about the conditions in the prison or how he’s feeling. Greta’s best friend is Christian, but he’s a loyal Soviet and plays an active part in the Pioneers, a group for young Soviets.
A new girl Lili arrives at school from Hungary. Her father is a diplomat and she has a good grasp of the political situation in the Soviet block. She quickly befriends Greta and encourages her to attend the protest rallies to support democracy in East Germany.
The story is well-researched, engaging and well-paced. The authors, Maximillian Jones (a fictional name for a group of writers) do a good job of showing the difficulties of knowing who to trust. However, it lacks the tension and drama of the first book and the ending is unconvincing.
Thanks to the Book Curator for providing a free copy for review.