Joshua discovered the secret tunnel quite by chance. It seemed ominous, but how could he pass up a new adventure? Little does he know that by following the tunnel to the other side of the wall, his 13-year-old life will be forever changed. There is no unseeing what has once been seen.
On the other side of the wall, less than a mile away from where Joshua lives with his mother and despised stepfather in Amarias, Joshua finds a drastically different, impoverished world. Here he meets Leila, who saves his life. He tries to return the favor to her but ends up making things worse and bringing severe harm to her father.
"THE WALL is exciting, insightful and inspiring."
Throughout THE WALL, Joshua struggles to help Leila’s family and repay the debt he feels towards them, all the while defying his mother, stepfather and everyone else in Amarias who sees those on the other side as the enemy. One way Joshua can help is by tending Leila’s family olive grove, which is located on “his side” of the wall. And so he gives up hanging out with his friends and playing soccer to dedicate himself to caring for the 100-year-old trees. Here amidst the trees and dirt he finds peace and purpose, at least for the moment. As he nurtures these trees back to health, he feels connected to the family and to past generations who have planted and tended these same trees.
But the peace does not last. How can he live at ease with his comfortable lifestyle while those nearby suffer? He must do something more.
The reader follows Joshua who does not understand the complexities of the political situation at hand, but instead is guided by a humanist compassion for the lives at stake.
THE WALL is exciting, insightful and inspiring. It takes place in a setting highly similar to that of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. At times the reader may be frustrated by Joshua’s inability to say the right thing at the right time, wanting to jump in and speak for him to get him out of trouble or harm, which only speaks to William Sutcliffe’s highly engaging writing style.
Once Joshua crawls through the tunnel --- embarking on the adventure that will change him into a man and affect him physically and emotionally forever--- there is no putting the book down or forgetting it once it’s over.
Reviewed by Sarah Flamm on May 30, 2013
- Publication Date: June 4, 2013
- Genres: Young Adult 12+
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Walker Childrens
- ISBN-10: 0802734928
- ISBN-13: 9780802734921