I received The Girl with the Red Balloon from edelweiss in exchange of an honest review. This in no way influences my opinions.
When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.
After following Katherine Locke on Twitter for quite a while, I was pretty excited to read The Girl with the Red Balloon. I’d just like to say now that this book definitely did not disappoint.
All of the characters were so wonderful. Although the book mainly follows Ellie, we also do get multiple P.O.V.s. Multiple P.O.V.s are generally something I shy away from, but I ended up really loving it in this book. It helped make the magic behind the red balloons a bit easier to understand.
With that being said, I did feel that at some points it was still pretty difficult to understand. I really didn’t understand the magic behind the balloons until 30% into the book. The book is ‘magical realism’ which makes some details pretty difficult to comprehend. After I grasped it all, I really enjoyed it! It was just trying to make it through the confusion.
The Girl with the Red Balloon is definitely not a light-hearted read. It deals with heavy-but relevant-topics such as antisemitism, Holocaust, racism, war, etc. If you are triggered/upset by any of those things, people take precaution before reading Girl with the Red Balloon.
What everyone is probably wondering: are there diverse characters in this book? YES. And I love them all dearly. Kai (arguably the love interest) is a Romanian boy from England. Ellie (our beloved main character) is a Jewish American. Mitzi is a German Lesbian. Basically, there’s representation across the board and it’s WONDERFUL.
Overall, I really liked The Girl with the Red Balloon. It surely wasn’t perfect, but it was still an enjoyable read. I really hope you decided to pre-order/pick it up on Sept. 1!
So, what do I rate The Girl with the Red Balloon?
Have you read or pre-ordered The Girl with the Red Balloon yet? What did you think of it? Are you normally a fan of magical realism?