Set on the Byker Wall estate in Newcastle, Wall is a novel for teenagers in verse. As Kylie and her family struggle to hold their lives together, they tell their stories in their own words, painful testimonies in the language of text, grafitti, rap, rhyme, a hand-written note on a table, a message left on an answerphone.
Wall is about the erosion of a working-class community. It asks important questions about class, generation, love and endurance. And it asserts the precarious survival of love, loyalty and hope. Wall is about the walls we build inside ourselves and between ourselves, the walls, which protect and the walls, which divide. Will Kylie keep her baby? And will it grow up to be just another brick in the wall?
The real Byker Grove
”I enjoyed Wall - interesting, thought-provoking, grounded in the real. ” — David Almond
”These voices draw you into their world. Authentic, moving, funny and sad. Wall is a rare thing - a page-turning novel in poems. It has pace, style and panache. We know the world of Wall. We live it. It is up and running. ” — Jackie Kay
”Inspired by stories collected during a year-long residency in the Northeast's Byker, Wall is a wonderfully Geordie book - in subject and telling. The multiple Tyneside narrators in Ellen Phethean's raw, closely observed, disquieting novel in verse capture life right now in the declining urban community around Newcastle's Byker Wall. This is a powerful tale about walls, about barriers, and how we overcome them in a community which may be Byker but could be anywhere. ” — Elizabeth Hammill, Seven Stories: the Centre for Children's Books
“Ellen Phethean's wonderful novel in verse... weaves together the languages of speech, text, bureaucracy and TV with skill and style. Every secondary school should have this book. ” — Jackie Wills, Mslexia
”A powerful and effective work. ” — Books for Keeps
“A gripping, moving human story told as a set of poems. It works brilliantly.” — Critical Survey