Girl with the Red Balloon, The

Girl with the Red Balloon, The

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This can’t be real, I thought. But I had the same feeling I had whenever Saba told me his stories: that somewhere, somehow, the impossible had happened.

Ever since she arrived in Germany on a school trip, Ellie Baum has felt the weight of history on her. After all, she’s the first one in her family to return since her grandfather’s miraculous escape from a death camp, and in Berlin, pieces of the past—World War II, the Cold War—are still visible decades later.

One day, visiting the Berlin Wall Memorial, she sees a stray balloon floating across the park, and she wanders away from the crowd to follow it. One moment she’s reaching out to grab it—the next, she’s yanked back through time to when the wall is still standing. It is 1988, and Ellie is in East Berlin.

Nobody knows how she got there, not even the members of the underground guild—the Runners and the Schöpfers—who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the wall. Now as a stranger in an oppressive regime, Ellie must hide from the police with the help of Kai, a Runner struggling with his own uneasy relationship with the powerful Balloonmakers and his growing feelings for Ellie. Together they search for the truth behind Ellie’s mysterious time travel, and when they uncover a plot to alter history with dark magic, she must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the deadly plans.