Reader reviews for Wallflower

This review is hard for me to write, because this books was just okay for me, so I don't really have much to say. There was nothing I really liked, nothing I really hated. I feel like it has a small target audience, and people in that audience will like this book, but it just so happens that I am not in the target audience. I felt sort of out of the loop. Let me explain... The book takes place over a couple of hours in Berlin, right after the fall of the Berlin wall. In the story, the main character is traveling by subway/train for most of the book. The author keeps naming streets, subway stations, etc. all in german, which kind of got overwhelming. After a lot of words such as Schonhauser Allee, Schoneweide, Greifenhagener Strasse and Zuruckbleiben, I started to get frustrated and just skipped over the words. Also, I felt like not much happened... I did like how the story took place over such a short amount of time (four hours), that was different, but it felt sort of uneventful. I was never begging for the book to end, or anything like that, I just wanted there to be more. So, that's what I thought, but then again, I don't feel like me and the book were a good match. If you can speak german, or have any personal connects to Berlin, maybe you'd like this story better than I did. I have read reviews of people who really liked it, I'm just sorry to say that I am not one of them.
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Wallflower was sent to me by Dr. Eva Schweitzer of Berlinica Publishing for review. My copy says it is an uncorrected proof though this book is already released for purchase. I don't know if you can tell what's on the cover but it is what I presume is the Berlin Wall before it was taken down from the Western view. It's spray painted and graffitied and actually looks like a work of art. I'm sure it never felt like that. It's not pretty when you remember it's purpose.Wallflower is a YA novel set in 1989 Berlin, two weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The main character, Molly is the narrator and describes herself as a giantess at six feet tall with size 12 shoes, a Jewish girl who is hopelessly lost. Her mother died of cancer five years earlier, quite suddenly and she is still struggling with this loss. Her boyfriend walked out on her during the middle of a class field trip to make out with another girl. And her father took her from New York City to Berlin for a year where she doesn't fit in any better than she did at home. She is a "wallflower in a crack."Molly is odd and doesn't really do a lot to overcome that image. She can't help her height or shoe size, but the fact that she sleeps through the historical taking down of the Berlin wall is strange. She prefers to spend her time cooking, she doesn't like change such as moving from New York City to Berlin and she'd prefer to count the number of pharmacies on the street corners and ponder the mental health of the Germans. And oh yeah, she gets lost a lot! She's in a perpetual state of being lost. That's why, on Thanksgiving Day, we are traveling with her through the labryinthian maze of trains and subways to her destination in East Germany where she plans to visit, must visit before going home two days hence. She won't even stay for Christmas. (They are a mixed family.)But during her journey, and it is one as the destination is her mother's birthplace, she meets a boy. And suddenly in many ways she is no longer lost, though it takes her time to sort that out, to trust that feeling. She's not good with feelings either. And the boy, Mick, "as in Jagger", from East Germany, also finds his way not understanding how lost he really was.The entire story takes place over four hours. There are a whole cast of supporting characters adding a lot to the story so that it is a full and complex story. From one of Molly's frenemies showing up on the train to ill mannered waiters and confessions and misunderstandings, there is a lot that goes on in those four hours. The question is, is Molly hopelessly lost or does meeting Mick change everything?Though the novel is set in 1989, I think YA readers will appreciate the historical significance of the time. The train transfers and names of the plazas and stations and the rules in East Germany would be incredibly daunting to me without a guide. As it was, I got hopelessly lost in the in the strasses and platzs and finally just let go of trying to pronounce everything and remember where they were and I concentrared on the story. But I found that the same platzs and strasses were repeated enough that I began to get my bearings. So I wasn't so lost after all, but I'm glad I didn't have to manuever through the stations anyway.This is a short story but because of the German words and wanting to understand what was going on it took two nights to read- still just a few hours. I recommend it to anyone that enjoys realistic fiction. You also get a look into history and what East Germany was like those first weeks after The Wall fell. And there is a light, sweet romance. Heather in Sandwich
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It’s Thursday 23rd November 1989 - Thanksgiving Day – and the Berlin Wall has been down for two weeks. The protagonist of the story is sixteen year old Molly Lenzfeld, a New Yorker who has gone back to Berlin with her German born father, a theoretical chemist, who has been awarded a 12 month research grant at the Free University in Dahlem.Molly is just days away from returning to the US and has decided to visit the house where here mother, Leonora; who died five years previously, had lived with her parents before they escaped the Nazis in 1938. This is the story of that journey and what happens when she meets nineteen year old East Berliner, Mick Maier, on her subway trip from West to East Germany.Molly has always regarded herself as something of a wallflower because she is unusually tall for her age and finds it difficult to understand and express her feelings. She considers herself to be out on the fringe, even though she’s seems very close to her family. For her, this is a journey that begins as a pilgrimage to her mother’s childhood home, and turns into something of a voyage of discovery, during which, she finds herself falling in love with Mick and learning to understand her emotions.This book is also an interesting look at Berlin in the late 1980s, as it shows the sharp contrasts between the East and West Germany. The comparative freedom of the West, compared to the restrictions experienced by those living on the other side of the Wall. It’s an eye-opening experience, not just for Molly, but also for the reader. Although Molly and Mick seem to personify those differences between East and West, it’s the fact that they both view themselves as ousiders that draws them to each other. There’s an innocence about their relationship, which I found refreshing as they are attracted by their differences. This is not your average hormone induced teen romance.As a reader, I found myself being quickly absorbed into the story and it was such an easy book to read that once you start, it’s difficult to put down. Rahlen’s writes in a style that shows she has a deep understanding, not just of the city she calls home, but also of the politics at this point in German history. Before you know where you are, you’ve reached the end, but it’s such a heartwarming story that it leaves you with a smile on your face. Definitely worth a read.Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided to Spriteby by Berlinca, in exchange for an honest review.
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A sweet tale of discovered teenage love along the cold oppressive Wall of Berlin. Wallflower is a short delightful novel, 138 pages of pure fun. This book is a witty and charming Berlin love story you will want to read in one sitting. It is so engaging and Rahlens writing style is so easy to read and quite comical. The main character is 16 year old Molly a rather tall girl who is very self conscious about all the things that make her special. Molly struggles with these insecurities like most teenage girl at her age, comparing herself to other teenage girl. Other characters include a fr-enemy named Colletta and then Mick who is every girls foreign dream guy. Molly has her father who has brought her to Berlin on a work assignment and they socialize with some friends in the apartment building where they are staying. However Mick is the hot attraction guy with tall dark curly hair, a total stranger who is about to change her life forever. Mick is a sweet, tender guy who cares about everything a girl might have to say and is easy to fall in love with, yet also the kind of guy who gives you those jealousy pangs, dare he speak to another girl. Molly has just these feelings surface because just when she happens upon a reason to stay in Berlin she comes across competition. Wallflower was just a joy to read and I learned about Berlin, The Wall, the surrounding city and most important of all the people who live there. If you have never traveled any where near Berlin or even if you have, Wallflower is a great way to step into Berlin, like a little time warp into the past, but not to far back. Just quick enough that maybe while you are there you may bring up some memories of your own past, maybe even memories of travel or even a crush of your own when you were a teen.
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I absolutely loved this book! It reads less like a novel and more like reading someone's journal. The writing is clever and the storytelling makes you not want to put the book down!
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Molly Lenzfeld always considered herself a wallflower. She said no one ever asked her to dance or paid attention to her since she was so tall. Coming from New York City and being in Berlin while her father was working as a theoretical chemist was an adventure for her in more than one way.On Thanksgiving Day, she was on her way to see where her mother had lived as a child. She was not to be gone the entire day, but as she rode the subway system, a handsome young man caught her fancy and she caught his.The book tells of their day and how Molly turned a trip to visit the town where her mother lived into a love story.The book is a quick, sweet read. You get to experience the emotions Molly experiences as she is with this stranger whom she feels is her real first love. The author did a great job with conversation which made up the most of the book. I really enjoyed the chapter titles....they were clever and stretched your imagination concerning what was going to happen in the next few pages.You will love Molly...a sweet, innocent character who wears her emotions on her sleeve. Mike her friend from the subway is an interesting character as well. He is unique in his dress, his humor, and his manner. I would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in love...and that would probably be just about all of us. Excellent book...well written and interesting content. It is a true love story with added suspense and hope. 5/5
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