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The Wall,
Lisa, 14.

This book is about:
A boy who crosses a dividing line between two commmunities

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, as although being emotionally charged and poignant at times, it has also many cryptic and hidden meanings and symbolism, which add depth to the characters and story. Through Sutcliffe's intense description, I have come to understand what life is like for children, adults and parents on both halves of a social divide, and I feel lucky that I was able to learn so much from this story, as it has helped me to empathise with the hundreds of thousands of people who live in this way across the world.

I would consider this book to be a political thriller, as it describes life in a segregated community through the eyes of a teenage boy.
This story is set in the town of Amarias, (a fictional town) that is encased by a large stone wall that the people are forbidden to cross, unless through the checkpoint that is manned by the military. This wall acts as a barrier: its primary function is to separate two towns that may only be miles apart, but are in fact worlds away from each other in culture, values and morals.

The town that we spend the most time in, is Amarias - the home of the protagonist, Joshua. Joshua is a fourteen year old boy, who unlike most others in his community, is unaccustomed to the rules and history of the wall. Although just a teenager, he is mature in his ways of thinking, and frequently comes to question the idea of segregation, and the twisted ideology that a simple stone wall can ensure a life of safety and comfort to the privileged of Amarias, who despite this are still unforgiving and paranoid.

Though many of these Amarian civilians have never crossed the wall, they have grown up with a natural hatred for the other side and its inhabitants, spawn from generations of lies and myths.

This is why I think that Joshua's story is so important, as it highlights the importance of the conscience, and how it is hugely influential in deciding and changing the opinion of an individual, which can go on to decide and influence the fate of others.

The very fact that the character is sensitive to his conscience, is what Sutcliffe uses as a driving force to power the rising action and climax of the story, which is that after a moment of hunger of intrigue and adventure, Joshua ends up on the other side of the wall (unknowedly posed as a great threat to himself and others) and is saved by a young girl named Leila.

Despite nearly not making back to the other side alive, Joshua feels in debt to her for her kindness, and swears to return with the one thing that he knows her and her family desperately need.

However, little does he know that by returning, he will damage his already unstable relationship with his mother and step-father, but will more importantly learn the true meaning of self-sacrifice, fear, pain, love, hatred and sadness.

Similar books to try:


Chelsea, 14
The Wall is a seat-gripping book full of anticipation and adventure, but it also captures many moral issues.

It is based on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the political aspect may make this book sound incredibly boring, but only makes the book more interesting, as not only is Joshua on a thrilling adventure, but one that will teach him about what is right and wrong.

Here is a little extract:
"Now I have a choice. I can go back up, collect my football, and head home; or I can go through. I know what I ought to do. I know what every other boy in Amarias would do. But as I see it, those are the two best reasons there could possibly be for doing the opposite."

My favourite character is Joshua, which may seem like an obvious choice due to his character being the main protagonist, but he is my favourite character because of his attitude to the world around him.

He wants to see what goes on behind the supposed normality the Amarias inhabitants are meant to live by. He strives to be different and ask questions, as indicated in the quote above. Most importantly, he yearns for the truth in a secretive society. This is why I admire his character.

As this book is in the Young Adult and Adult section, I would recommend it for 12+ ages as strong moral issues are brought up throughout. I really enjoyed this book and thought it was an exciting, pulse-raising book with a strong message that is important for many to know.

It has been compared to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Book Thief, both brilliant books I would also recommend.

I would give this book five stars as it was very enjoyable and and taught me a very valuable lesson.
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