The overall place in the first part of the book is in the East side of Berlin. This was during the after was of WW2 and the more in the middle of the Cold War. The buildings are still falling apart, and they don't have things like central heating so they are still recovering from the war. They have soldiers watching there every move and when they were at home they have people listening to what they say, they microphones in there houses and usually don't know until someone in their house gets killed or caught trying to escape and talked about it at home. This was during war so they were trying to keep the people they had on the east so they don't lose more to the west.
So far they have been in there apartment, this look like in my head a small place with like a small hallway and like one bathroom with 3 bedrooms near it but one room has a bathroom in it. They have a small kitchen and a living room area with one or two coaches and no TV. There is also a wall that is blocking them in and in my head it look like a gray concert wall with a red brick wall on the West side and a wire fence on that side too. There are also like a window area when you walk by and it has electrical barbed wire in the middle so you can look trough but can't get through it.
This novel takes place when the Berlin Wall goes up overnight and they call it Barbed wire Sunday and this is August 13, 1961 and 4 years latter when the wall keeps heeding bigger by the day, week, and month. This is during the Cold War and when Berlin was split into West and east. The East side was occupied by the Soviets or Russia, the West side was occupied by the french, the British, and the Americans.
The east and west have a big population but the east side is losing people slowly but most are getting killed trying to escape. On the east people have not a lot of emotion and act like robots.
They don't do much and have a strict schedule like school, home or after school job if they have one. They don't get to do a lot of fun things because most are scared to go outside of their apartments and houses.