Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Tour & #Review for '89 Walls by Katie Pierson

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Book Tour, presented by Pump Up Your Book, for ’89 Walls by Katie Pierson.  Please leave a comment or question for Katie to let her know you stopped by.  You can follow all of the stops on Katie’s tour by clicking on the banner above. 

’89 Walls
by Katie Pierson

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Release Date:  June 5, 2015
Genre: Young Adult
Heat Rating:  3 Flames 
Format: Paperback/eBook
Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-1940014555
Suggested Reading Age:  17+

About the book: 

College is not in the cards for Seth. He spends his minimum wage on groceries and fakes happiness to distract his mom from the MS they both know will kill her. It’s agony to carry around a frayed love note for a girl who’s both out of his league and beneath his dignity. 

Quinn’s finishing high school on top. But that cynical, liberal guy in her social studies class makes her doubt her old assumptions. Challenging the rules now, though, would a) squander her last summer at home, b) antagonize her conservative dad, and c) make her a hypocrite.

Seth and Quinn’s passionate new romance takes them both by surprise. They keep it a secret: it’s too early to make plans and too late not to care. But it’s 1989. As politics suddenly get personal, they find themselves fighting bare-fisted for their beliefs—and each other—in the clear light of day.

For More Information


Quinn used the three extra minutes before class that day to turn in her cap-and-gown order form at the office. She made sure no one was looking before skipping down the marble staircase like a little kid. She watched her light-green sundress rise and settle with each bounce. The translucent afternoon sun had managed to warm the foyer by the entrance doors as if spring might actually stick. A tiny breeze jiggled the branches of the narrow pine trees framing the building’s entrance. The stretch of blue sky spanning the transom window reassured her, like it was telling her that years of self-conscious high school angst were almost over.

Only Trish understood how crucial Quinn’s façade of success was to the fact of it. As long as she stuck to the script—Take the advanced placement classes. Study. Join the debate team. Perform.—she could hold herself together. She could no more drop the script than let her bones dissolve.

Quinn hated the debate team.

She stomped on the final step. As she rounded the bottom of the stairwell, she saw Seth walking to class from the opposite direction. His dark-blond hair looked like it wanted to cover his eyes but was failing at it. Even looking at him made her feel defensive.

He drew near enough for Quinn to read his T-shirt. A cartoon of Uncle Sam silk-screened in black-and-white on the front said, “Join the army. Travel to exotic, distant lands. Meet exciting, unusual people. And kill them.” On the inside, Quinn rolled her eyes; why did liberals like him act as though people like her invented war and they alone wanted peace, love, and teddy bears? Quinn read his shirt again. Okay, maybe it was kind of funny. But it looked out of place on a guy who never smiled.

They had less than a minute before the bell rang, and the hallway had emptied out. He probably wouldn’t acknowledge her; he never even said hi unless she said hi first. But he passed the classroom door. He was headed straight for her. His tan cheeks glowed bright pink, and his eyebrows scrunched together.

Quinn felt her shoulders creep up as their eyes met. Was he going to call her out on something right now?

She saw Ilene slipping into the classroom and waved at her. Quinn tried to veer out of Seth’s path; if he wanted to tangle, he’d have to wait until class, when Mr. Levine could referee. But he sidestepped in front of her, forcing her to stop. What the hell? They stared at each other for several seconds. Quinn noticed that the dark brown of Seth’s eyes blended right into his pupils. He also had broad shoulders for a lean guy, but he was barely three inches taller than she was.

Seth started to say something but then kind of deflated. He pressed a limp, folded piece of notebook paper into her hand. Scowling at the floor, he mumbled something under his breath before charging into the classroom.

Quinn looked around in confusion to see if there had been witnesses. There hadn’t. She walked into room 105. She sat down next to Ilene and said hi back to a few people. Taking a huge, slow breath, she slid the letter into her folder and pulled a pen out of her backpack.

Waiting for the slackers to trickle in, Mr. Levine strolled over to his desk and pried the lid off yesterday’s McDonald’s drink. He poured the light-brown liquid into the spider plant. Then he flipped off the lights and closed the door. He rubbed his hands together with that sinister glee that teachers saved up for things like pop quizzes. Then he slapped an outline on the overhead projector, on which he’d chicken-scratched the title “South Africa.” As the class groaned, Mr. Levine shrugged out of his sports jacket. He tossed it across his desk with one of the sleeves inside out.

As soon as he starting talking about apartheid, Quinn flipped open her folder to read the note.

Dear Quinn,

Here’s what I’ve wanted to say to you for a long time: I’ve liked you since the beginning of tenth grade. We haven’t had any big conversations, but I feel like I know you.

I know that you’re genuinely nice. Even though you have a lot of friends, you make a point of saying hello to people like me (the shy, antisocial types!). You’re really pretty, especially when you wear that green dress. You’re also smart. I hear George Washington University figured that out, too. Congratulations on getting in.

I wondered if you’d like to go to a movie sometime. I know it sounds weird coming from someone you’ve barely talked to (and especially from someone who would tease you about being a Republican), but I hope you’ll say yes.


About the Author

Katie Pierson freelances for local non-profits, using her background in public policy and grassroots organizing to overthrow the patriarchy one introverted step at a time. When she’s not writing fiction, she returns library books, makes soup, and tries to be cooler than she really is by hip-hopping at the YMCA. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in American History from the University of Pennsylvania (where she dabbled briefly in being a College Republican) and a Master’s in American History from the University of Minnesota. She grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and now lives with her family in a suburb of Minneapolis. ’89 Walls is her first novel.

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A coming of age story set in Lincoln, Nebraska, ’89 Walls by Katie Pierson is a genre crossing mix filled with teenage angst, first love, sex, politics, and religion.  It’s also a mix of first and third person point of view, colorful and diverse characters and the reminder that regardless of how you may feel, time marches on to the beat of its own drum and takes you along for the journey.  While written for the Teen/Young Adult crowd, this is a book many adults would enjoy.

Ms. Pierson does a good job developing both Quinn and Seth’s characters from the very start; while they are both the same age, in the same grade and even attend one class together at the same high school, they come from different political backgrounds, different socio-economic backgrounds and of course different genders.  While they’ve attended school together for some time they don’t belong to the same “cliques” and have never really gotten to know each other on a personal basis.  All of that changes when Seth takes a chance and gives Quinn a note letting her know he thinks she’s got it going on and hints at his willingness to go out on a date sometime – if she is so inclined. While Quinn is surprised, and is dating a young man in her own social circle, she soon realizes that she’s really interested in him and that her “current relationship” is going nowhere and is simply convenient.

The secondary characters play a large role in this book, especially Quinn’s parents, Seth’s mom and their history/current events teacher Mr. Levine.  Using the political events taking place in 1989 (hence the title of the book0, Ms. Pierson covers a variety of topics that are still politically hot: War (the end of the Cold War and the future of the U.S. versus Communism), Race Relations (Apartheid), China and Human Rights (Tienemen Square), Women’s Rights via the battle over Roe vs Wade (Abortion), life threatening diseases, treatment and who gets to pay for it (Aids and M.S.).  While Ms. Pierson allows some of her own political bias to come through in some of the commentary, she did try to respect other viewpoints and pointed out in the story that everyone should have a voice and be respectful of other’s opinions.

Ms. Pierson’s voice as a writer is enjoyable, her story is well paced and it’s  hard to believe this is her debut novel; I’ve read quite a few books covering part of these topics from much more experienced authors that weren’t as well written.  While I think this is an excellent book for young adults to read, I would have to caution against anyone under 17 reading this book.  I think the subject matter is too mature for anyone younger than that.  Overall I really enjoyed reading this story and wish something like this had been available when I was a freshman in college covering a part of my youth.

Will Quinn and Seth’s mutual attraction lead to their first real love?  Will the issues they discuss and learn in school help them as they get ready to graduate from high school and begin their lives as adults?  You’ll have to read ’89 Walls to find out.  I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of Ms. Pierson’s work.

I would like to close out my review with a personal comment; while reading ’89 Walls, I was reminded of a song by Bob Dylan.  While Mr. Dylan’s song was written when the characters in this book would not even have been born, yet I do feel that this song best describes how time and politics marches on as we and our children age.  It was also the background music during a pivotal scene in the movie Watchmen that this book brought to mind – and yes, that’s a good thing:)

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 Crowns

"The Times They Are A-Changin'" Music and Lyrics by Bob Dylan

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of  book tour for a fair and honest review.  The review is my own personal opinion based on the reading material provided.


  1. Thank you for your nice review, Maria! I'm so glad you liked the book!

  2. This is my first look at this book. Thank you for your review and excerpt. There are so few books written today that are set in the 80's, and that especially appeals to me.