Review #36: All the Walls of Belfast


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 desire to run away from their families unites them. Danny and Fiona must help one another overcome the burden of their parents’ pasts. But one ugly truth might shatter what they have.

Separators (1)


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 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 same situation as her. A teenage girl, suddenly finding out that her Irish dad isn’t as deadbeat as she thought? Oh, and to add to it, she’s got two, older half-brothers with a nephew? I’d be pretty irritated to have had that hidden from me too.

We’re thrown into her story as she arrives in Ireland, finally meeting the family she’d only dreamed of having with her. However, this picture perfect dream came to a halting stop after she unveiled some horrifying information about her father.

Danny is a character we can all sympathize for. He lives in an abusive household with people who turn a blind eye. He has big wishes to run off to the army and become a nurse, and that perspective doesn’t shift when he meets Fiona.

Their stories merge quickly and smoothly, bringing about love, drama, and forgiveness. Other than one familial misunderstanding feeling a bit forced, the entire novel was great and I loved it. For that, I rate this book 4 stars. I do suggest it, and I can’t wait to see what Carlson writes next.

Separators (2)

Sarah-Carlson-e1550248686879Sarah 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. Sarah lives outside Madison, Wisconsin with her husband, two young children, and two energetic terriers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s