All tagged Chronicle Books

Going Over by Beth Kephart: Is Beautiful Writing Enough?

‘Be careful, Ada.’ Of course I’m careful. I’m in love. 

What can I tell you, what should you know? There is a line between us, a wall. It is wide as a river; it has teeth. It is barbed and trenched and tripped and lit and piped and meshed and bricked—155 kilometers of wrong.

Despite Beth Kephart being a highly-regarded YA author (and finalist for the National Book Award), I had not picked up one of her books prior to her most recent, Going Over. 

The writing in Going Over is excellent, and I can see why Kephart's novels are so highly regarded. With that said, the beautiful writing at times out-shined the storytelling and in some respects got in the way of Going Over's narrative. 

Because the wall does not belong to West Berlin, and neither does the ground where I stand when I’m painting. I am a public enemy, a property defacer. I am an artist in love with a boy.

As is popular at the moment, Going Over adopts the dual narrator style, with half of the story being told from the first-person perspective of Ada, who lives in 1980s West Berlin. She paints graffiti by night and dreams of her Stefan, son of her grandmother's friend who lives in East Berlin, "going over" the wall so the young couple can be together once and for all. 

The second point-of-view is that of Stefan.

You have to wait. You have to be absolutely sure. Love is the biggest thing, of course. But there are other considerations.

But, rather than first person, it's in a second person style, creating a distance from Stefan's perspective.