Sep 22, 07
Read in April, 2007
It's a 'teen fiction' but I think that kind of label sometimes does a disservice to some amazing literature that's out there. I'm in a book group and it's this months book. I picked it up today planning to skim read it ready for Wednesday but was so engrossed that I read the whole thing in about two hours.
It's written in a first person narrative and the narrator is a 15 year old annorexic from New York who's sent to live with her English cousins. That would probably be enough to put anyone off but it ends up being a devastatingly well written story about the horrific impact of a global conflict in the near future that begins with terrorist attacks in London.
It's power lies in the fact that for the narrator the war begins as an aside on the news on a tv in the background of her woes about her divorced father, her wicked stepmother and her blossoming romance and ends up ripping the rug out from under her life.
There's some brilliant comment on family, emotional maturity and global politics and some truly moving human moments that are so kind of intense and closely observed without any kind of moralising or big blunt WAR IS BAD AND SOME PEOPLE ARE GOOD AND SOME ARE BAD statements.
To saying anything else about the plot would completely ruin the book but I highly recommend it and it's a really quick but brilliant read.
It suffers from a few weakness, being a first novel, but it leave JK Rowling and her rambling nonsense about wizard sweets in the dust in terms of plot, characterisation and subtext. This is definitely the kind of literature I'd like to see kids reading!