The Boy Behind the Wall is set in Berlin in 1967 during the Cold War. The story begins with Harry witnessing the death of a young boy. He is shot by East German guards as he tries to scale the Wall which separates East and West Berlin.

Harry has recently moved with his parents to West Berlin from the US so his father can take up a new employment opportunity. Their home is so close to the Wall, that Harry can see into East Berlin from his bedroom window.

Meanwhile, 14-year-old Jakob lives in East Berlin with his adoptive parents Hans and Margot. Jakob’s biological parents are considered traitors and his father is dead. However, his mother and sister managed to flee to West Berlin. Hans works for the Stasi, the East German authorities. Hans has plans for Jakob to play an important role in the Stasi, but Jakob wants to escape to the West and find his mother. Harry and Jakob become pen pals and communicate secretly. They discover they have much in common, especially around music. Chapters alternate between Harry and Jakob, each giving their perspective on the events that transpire.

As the story concludes, there are some loose ends. It’s not clear what happens to some of the minor characters but perhaps these issues are resolved in the sequel, Breaking Down the Wall.

The story is engaging and well-paced. Harry and Jakob are bold and daring in their attempts to secure Jakob’s freedom. This creates much adventure, drama and tension.

Overall an exciting story, especially for young teenage boys.

Thanks to the Book Curator for providing a free copy for review.

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