The Girl With the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke – Review


5 out of 5 stars

Guys, do yourselves a favour; either go and request this book on NetGalley, or take note of when it is released (or do both, like I am) because it is seriously one of the most beautiful, magical, heartbreaking stories I’ve read. It made me cry on numerous occasions.

This review is going to be all over the place because my emotions are all over the place. The ending is so perfect, but so sad and it just…gah. I’m crying again.

“What could change if we started to measure society’s successes not in wars won but in moments in which we countered injustice? When good did win out over evil.”

If I had to describe The Girl With the Red Balloon in one word, it would be magical. Ellie Baum’s grandfather is a Jewish World War II survivor, and Ellie has grown up being told the story of how he escaped a death camp; that a girl in a purple dress handed him a red balloon, and it took him out. So when she is in Germany on a school trip, and she sees a red balloon, she grabs it, wanting her picture taken with it. She is transported back in time, in East Germany where red balloons are able to take people over the Berlin Wall, to safety.

The love and relationships in this book are incredible. Apart from Ellie, we have Kai, a Romani boy who would do anything to protect his little sister, and who helps to transport people over the Berlin Wall. We also have Mitzi, a German girl with a family who can never accept her sexuality, partner to Kai in helping those in need of escape. They both fall in love with Ellie, in very different ways.

“I was the girl with the red balloon who shouldn’t be in the black-and-white world of Walls and fear and lies. He was a kaleidoscope boy born at the wrong time in the wrong place, too bright for here, too much for everywhere else.”

I could share endless amounts of quotes from this book, but I won’t spoil things for you. I will, however, leave these two with you, and urge you to keep a lookout for this book.

“Be good and be sparkly and flirt with a stranger, darling.”

“One time, I spent six months back in time. I fell in love with a boy who had no obligation to love a world that only gave him grey skies and loneliness. I fell in love with a girl who loves so fiercely that she holds the world together. I fell in love with believing in magic.
If you give a girl a red balloon, she’ll believe in magic and memory.
If you give a girl a red balloon, she’ll never want to let go.”

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read this book*

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