Walls by L.M. Elliott

This is a very emotional story. This story shows how hard it was for people living in East Berlin right before the wall was built and how hard it was for people living in West Berlin to understand why anyone would want to stay in the East. There were a few laughs but there are a lot of tears in the story. I love the photos that are included in the book. These showed how different but also how alike many parts of the world can be. I received a copy of this book from Algonquin Publicity for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

I give this book a five out of five stars.

From the opposing sides of the Cold War, cousins Drew and Matthias begin to overcome the ideological walls between them to become wary friends, but their loyalties will be tested in ways that will change their lives forever.

“Elliott both fills in the historical background—aided by Behm’s mixing of period photos, contemporary news, and pop-culture notes—and crafts a tale of rising tensions that culminates in a suspenseful climax… A sensitive exploration of cogent themes in a richly detailed historical setting.”

—Kirkus, Starred review


by L.M. Elliott

“Elliott’s latest is set a year prior to the unexpected rise of the Berlin Wall, incorporating all kinds of historical context, including science, world events, politics, and entertainment, through pictures at the beginning of each chapter, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the period. The portrayal of events is first-rate, creating a poignant yet lighthearted read.”


The New York Times bestselling author of ten young adult novels, L. M. Elliott has long been known as a master of historical fiction that humanizes and illuminates contemporary issues, steeping readers in the eras of World War II, the Cold War, and the American Revolution. Now, in the unofficial follow-up to her 2017 Suspect Red, which followed two teenage boys swept up in the 1950s Red Scare, Elliott turns her attention to the espionage-riddled standoff between America and Soviet Russia in WALLS (Publication Date: July 27, 2021; Ages 12 – 18; Hardcover; $19.95). Set in the tumultuous year leading up to the surprise overnight raising of the Berlin Wall in August 1961, and punctuated with real-life photographs, headlines, and personalities of the time, WALLS explores the budding friendship between two cousins on different sides of the communist/democracy divide and the very real dangers their growing bond presents their families. 

Drew is an army brat, a hotshot athlete poised to be his high school’s star pitcher, when he has to move for the sixth time in fifteen years—this time to West Berlin, where American soldiers like his dad hold an outpost of democracy against communist Russia in Hitler’s former capital. Meanwhile, in East Berlin, his cousin Matthias has grown up in the wreckage left by Allied bombing during World War II, on streets ruled by the Communist Party’s secret police. From the opposing sides of the Cold War, Drew and Matthias begin to overcome the many ideological walls between them to become wary friends. They argue over the space race, capitalism, socialism, and even the American civil rights movement, and bond over rock ’n’ roll—music outlawed in Matthias’s part of the city. As the political situation around them gets all the more dire, Drew and Matthias’s loyalty—to their sector, their countries, their families, and each other—will be tested in ways that will change their lives forever.

“My hope with WALLS is to provide a compelling, suspenseful read about whether two teens can learn to trust and care about one another, despite what they’ve been fed about the other’s world. Showing (I hope!) in a poignant, relatable way the importance of forming your own opinion based on personal experience and reflection. Not swallowing propaganda, disinformation, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and innuendo, or demeaning slogans and stereotypes,” says Elliott, whose works have been recognized as NCSS/CBC Notables, Bank Street College of Education Best Books, and Grateful American Book Prize winners. “The set-up of two boys—each fervent believers in their diametrically opposed political philosophies who come to understand the other’s point of view—felt a potent way to humanize the effect of the Cold War’s dangerous polarization on the day-to-day lives of ordinary people. And given the narrative’s relevancy to some of today’s frictions, to spark some thoughts about readers’ own lives.”

Moving by month through a historically monumental year, WALLS sheds light on a troubling, often overlooked chapter of history, and brings to vivid life the heroic and tragic choices of the Cold War. 

L.M. Elliott was an award-winning magazine journalist in Washington, D.C., before becoming a New York Times bestselling author of historical and biographical young adult novels. Her works include Under a War-Torn Sky, Suspect Red, and Hamilton and Peggy.


By L.M. Elliott

Algonquin Young Readers

Publication Date: July 27, 2021

Hardcover / 352 pages / $19.95


Advance Praise for Walls

“Elliott both fills in the historical background—aided by Behm’s mixing of period photos, contemporary news, and pop-culture notes—and crafts a tale of rising tensions that culminates in a suspenseful climax… A sensitive exploration of cogent themes in a richly detailed historical setting.”

—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Elliott’s latest is set a year prior to the unexpected rise of the Berlin Wall, incorporating all kinds of historical context, including science, world events, politics, and entertainment, through pictures at the beginning of each chapter, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the period. The portrayal of events is first-rate, creating a poignant yet lighthearted read.”


Praise for Suspect Red

A NCSS/CBC Notable * A Bank Street College Best Book * Grateful American Award Winner * TLA Tayshas High School Reading List * PA Young Readers Choice Finalist

“A tense, engrossing story that effectively captures the suspicion and paranoia that prevailed during American history’s darkest chapters. . . This historical novel revisits the anxious, fearful time of the Cold War, when blacklists, political profiling, and guilt by association ruined the lives of thousands of innocent people and deeply divided the nation.”


“Riveting…Author Elliott’s technique and methodology are superbly appropriate. She begins each chapter — each month — with a detailed description of actual events from that month…Lessons for all of us — particularly in this case young readers — abound: of the use of fear tactics to motivate destructive behaviors; of the all-too-tempting trap of fighting tyranny with tyranny; of the tragically unfortunate effects of herd mentality. . . And so arises the sad implied question: can we really hope to ‘make America great again’ by returning to the practices and beliefs and traditions of the ‘fabulous fifties’? Before answering that question, consider the lessons of Suspect Red.”

—Huffington Post 

Praise for Hamilton and Peggy

Bank Street College Best Book * Honorable Mention, the Grateful American Book Prize

“Elliott combines a flair for fiction with masterly research… the book presents day-to-day life during the Revolutionary War through the eyes of a young woman witnessing some of its most momentous events, detailing both the ordinary and extraordinary through her perceptive point of view. Well educated and sharp-witted, Peggy is a strong and appealing protagonist…. Elliott does a remarkable job of humanizing important historical figures.” 

—Publishers’ Weekly, Starred Review

“Peggy is the Jo March of this family. Intelligent and fierce…(using) her razor-sharp wit and cleverness to make her mark… Elliott has accomplished something wonderful here, and this is an absolute must have.”

—School Library Journal 

“An engaging novel that navigates the challenge of maintaining historical accuracy while upholding the personalities popularized by the musical.”


Praise for Under a War-Torn Sky

 “It’s packed with action, intrigue, and suspense, but this novel celebrates acts of kindness and heroism without glorifying war.”


“Hank is a smart, strong, and courageous character.”

—School Library Journal

“Elliott’s fluid style is woven together with vivid historical details from WWII, appropriate for adolescents who seek suspense-filled adventures. Inspired by true stories of WWII, Elliott captures the courage, self-sacrifice, and bravery of the French Resistance forces (helping American pilots escape Hitler’s forces). Fans of history, culture, language, or just good storytelling will definitely want to read this.”

—Book Page

“An emotional, action-packed gem… An engrossing thrill-ride.”


“A powerful debut novel of adventure and salvation. Readers, young and old, will be moved by this fine book.”

—Children’s Literature

Praise for Flying South

“This is both a poignant mother-daughter story and a comforting tale of the affection between a lonely young girl and an irascible but devoted old man. Doc’s gems of insight invigorate Alice and shape her outlook on life. Readers will find poignancy, humor, and history in this story.”

—School Library Journal

“Elliott creates a strong sense of the time and place, with issues of feminism and civil rights woven into both plot and characterization. The rose-garden metaphor is subtle, but the hurt and comfort implicit in the thorns and flowers will stay with readers.”


“Elliott’s sure hand explores a complicated chapter in America’s ambivalence toward race.”


“The story is as beautiful as the roses that symbolize the tale of rebirth between mother and daughter.”


Praise for Annie Between the States

A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age * IRA Teachers Choice * 

A PA Library Association YA Top 40 * Virginia Readers Choice finalist

“Fiery, intelligent Annie remains a heroine to relish, and YA readers who encounter her story will find themselves pondering the soul-wrenching questions she asks.”


“Scenes are so powerfully drawn that readers will be engaged from chapter one. A rich experience for Civil War history buffs.”


Praise for Give Me Liberty

“Elliott’s engaging and highly readable novel is well researched and sprinkled liberally with renowned patriots of the period. Particularly noteworthy is the way in which Elliott handles the paradox of colonial Americans fighting for their independence from England yet clinging to the practice of enslaving other human beings. She does not provide pat answers, and Nathaniel’s inability to reconcile what he sees around him promises to provoke thoughtful discussion. A rich and robust piece of historical literature.”

—School Library Journal

“Elliott’s vivid descriptions and in-depth research make it easy to envision revolutionary-era Williamsburg and the impassioned leaders who led the American colonies to chose “liberty or death.”


“Filled with action, well-drawn characters, and a sympathetic understanding of many points of view.”


Praise for A Troubled Peace

“In this sequel to Elliott’s acclaimed Under A War-Torn Sky (2001), nineteen-year-old bomber pilot hero Henry Forester is back home in Virginia, suffering PTSD (then known as battle fatigue) and (decides) to go back to France and search for the young boy who jeopardized his own life helping Henry escape. Returning and new readers alike will find gasp-producing action, well-developed characters, and deep details about the privations war brings. Similar to The Book Thief (2006) and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2006).”


“A Troubled Peace will keep both male and female readers pulling for Henry’s success. Teachers of U.S. and European history classes will also appreciate having another quality book to recommend.”

—The ALAN Review

“With our own country currently at war, this compelling book proves especially timely. Elliott vividly captures the turmoil, fear and hope of the times and the sense of trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild. ‘War ends,’ she writes in the afterword, ‘and the battle for peace begins.”

—Children’s Literature

Praise for A War-Tossed Sea

“Likable protagonists and a fascinating historical backdrop combine for a story well-told.”


“Elliott uses the backdrop of World War II and the horrors of Hitler’s plans to illuminate an entirely different picture of the racial divide in the United States. At every turn in this well-plotted novel, readers see an example of prejudice and preconceptions. The author’s attention to detail is evident, as the facts of World War II come through clearly in each chapter, just as they did in Under a War-Torn Sky (Hyperion, 2001). This historical novel would be a perfect fit for any collection seeking to engage readers in conversations around race, culture, and equality in America.”

—School Library Journal 

“Elliott leads us through a series of misadventures and straight-up adventures as the boys go hunting, hold a haunted house, contribute to the war effort, and even conduct a few acts of outright heroism. Serious issues of intolerance (religious freedom in Europe, racism in America, cruelty to German POWs) permeate the story without overwhelming it, making this a breezy and enlightening read.”


Praise for Da Vinci’s Tiger

“Renaissance Florence breathes through this delicately beautiful novel, bringing readers to a fuller understanding of the portrait, the era, and an indomitable young woman.”

—Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

“This mysterious figure is the subject of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s earliest groundbreaking masterpieces. In Da Vinci’s Tiger, Elliott imagines Ginevra’s story, based on known fragments from history and the only surviving scrap of her poetry. Ginevra’s story is captivating, empowering, and beautifully told, as she navigates Florence during the Renaissance, a time women were to be seen and not heard.”


“Elliott meticulously researched the 15th century to bring alive the affluence, art, and clothing Florence was known for—fully immersing readers in the time period. In many ways this intriguing novel is a feminist piece. . . Ginevra learns that her empowerment comes from within, despite the limitations put on her sex. VERDICT: add this gem to round out collections skewed toward 20th-century history.”

—School Library Journal 

“Rich in historical detail. Descriptions of well-known works of art, complex societal protocols, and political power plays allow the reader to understand both the beauty and restrictions of Ginevra’s world. Fans of historical fiction will find Italy’s Renaissance fascinating.”


Praise for Storm Dog

“Storm Dog approaches like a gentle rain shower and then whirls into your heart like a wild frenzy. Thunder and music, dogs and dancing, Storm Dog is ultimately a story about loyalty, about longing, and no one can teach humans those two things better than a pack of fuzzy frolicking pooches. Storm Dog will make readers dance!”

—Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, author of A Dog Like Daisy and Zeus, Dog of Chaos

“I love Ariel for her resilient spirit! She honors the comforting premise that our sense of belonging in this world comes of extending ourselves to others—human and canine! Laura Elliott has crafted 

an engaging and relevant story.”

—Leslie Connor, author of The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle and A Home for Goddesses and Dogs

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