This book was interesting, but not in a particularly good way. I initially bought it because I had been given the second book in the series to review. I looked up the blurb on Goodreads and was intrigued. It seemed like quite a lot of interesting angles that the book could take when discussing terrorism and its effect on the UK. However, I wasn’t expecting a profound novel that was full of interesting philosophical questions as it is aimed at young teenagers.
Bound together by the devastating consequences of a terrorist attack on a London market, teenagers Charlotte (Charlie) and Nat appear at first to have much in common. But, as Charlie gets closer to Nat and his family, she begins to wonder if perhaps he knows more about the attack than he has let on.
The plot line was a little bit of a disappointment. I managed to call the ending almost as soon as the story had begun. Maybe it is because I am slightly older than the target audience. It reminded me a lot of Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman, although it was less enjoyable and haunting.
The story line was similar, as was the layout of the book. It’s written in a duel narrative, between a girl and a guy. Of course there is a love connection between the two of them. I thought the love story was kind of unnecessary. The story is meant to be about racism, although this whole idea is marginalized by the annoying love story of two white teenagers.
Whilst the teenagers are helping to destroy the racist terror organisations, they seem to be also quite focused on each other. One cringey moment consisted of them staring deep into each others eyes, almost as if time had frozen. If I was busy trying to destroy terrorists that had pulled my family apart, I’m pretty sure the hot guy wouldn’t be my main focus.
The most disappointing thing about this book is that the main characters have no real explanation for why they are doing what they are doing. Terrorists are destroying anyone who isn’t white, yet the two main characters are doing it for personal gain.
As the book is aimed at younger children, I would’ve thought that a quick paragraph explaining why the terrorists were wrong for killing people in general would’ve been educational. The main message I got from this book was that white people only fight racism if it directly effects us. This is most likely true on a lot of accounts, however I don’t think this is a good lesson to teach children. I think the fact that this wasn’t explained, kind of gave the terrorists more of a valid reason for doing what they are doing and that made me really sad.
I’m only giving this book 2.5 stars. I enjoyed the writing style and the split narrative was interesting. However, If i didn’t already have the second book in the series I would not have gone out to buy it. Did you enjoy this book? Are there any books that you think lacked something that would’ve been important?