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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  489 ratings  ·  86 reviews
In three years I will be able to vote and I will still have less power than I did at the moment that I saw that email, which was such a tiny thing but look what happened.

Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who died when she was a baby. She has grown up with her older half-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick in the east end of London. No
Paperback, 371 pages
Published June 1st 2017 by Andersen
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  489 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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Rachel Hall
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I rarely read YA novels because I usually find them somewhat underwhelming, however Troublemakers is a contemporary coming of age story that well and truly lives up to its billing! In short, it is a superior example of this genre, driven by some well-fleshed out, bold characters and sparkles with humour, wit and spirit. Protagonist, fifteen-year-old Alena (Lena) Kennedy, has lived with her brother, Danny, and his boyfriend, Nick, in a flat in Hackney, East London, since she was three-years-old a ...more
Kari Rhiannon (Moon Magister Reviews)
4.5 Stars

I don't tend to read contemporaries, I'm definitely a reader of science fiction and fantasy first and foremost. However, when I read the blurb for 'Troublemakers' I was intrigued. We're in a bit of a maelstrom in British politics, filled with the Brexit nightmare, racism, terrorism and general bigotry. We have a government that, honestly, can't quell their infighting, let alone look after the complex needs of an entire country.

'Troublemakers' is a book about a young girl's political
isaiah [wlfredowen]
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaway-wins
Real rating: 2.5

I won this review in a Goodreads giveaway, in return for an honest review.

I feel bad giving this book such a low rating. Everyone else seems to have really enjoyed it, but I found it frustrating.

It was not at all what I expected from the blurb, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it was also severely frustrating. While it was a good coming of age story, but with a non-conventional family and an accurate, teenage MC (read: highly annoying, with no ability to admit she's wron
Catherine Barter
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: ya, i-wrote-this, sorry
I keep seeing other authors rating their own books so what the hell. This book is A*, well worth buying eight or nine copies.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Like nothing else I've read YA. I really enjoyed it and stayed up too late to finish it.

I had high hopes for this book after hearing about it at Andersen's blogger event and I am so pleased to say it lived up to all expectations.

What I liked about this book is that it is really different from all the other contemporary YA I've read. It is set in London and the focus of the story is looking at politics and morality around said politics. It's such a poignant story considering our current politica
Sarah Mcleod
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another of my first reads books.
I don't usually read books like this, a young adult, contemporary novel. This is really well written, with good solid characters. Troublemakers is the story of a young girl Alena, who has been brought up by her older brother and his partner Nick, as she finds out about her upbringing, her mother and the details as to how she got in the position she is currently living in. Growing up is hard anyway but add politics and a few other factors can make it quite unbearab
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
About halfway through this and it's lovely: well-rounded down-to-earth characters, lots of emotion, and themes typically untrodden by YA fiction.

Tick-tick to teenage protag Alena getting interested in politics.

Tick-tick-tick to Alena having shambolic-but-so-in-love gay dads.

Totally my jam.
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. Absolutely loved it. Totally apt for today's world.

A loving, conflicted sibling relationship. A beautiful relationship. A complicated, yet simple political message.

Character centric and I adored it.

Political awakenings, unconventional families, and the most nuanced, relatable, realistic depictions thereof I've read in a while, shining with wit and honesty; a book I wish I could have read 15 years ago.
Sarah Webb
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a brilliant book. I read this in one sitting and it grabbed me from the first page. The voice, the setting, the plot - clever, clever, clever. Highly recommended.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, english
This is a book about wanting the best for your family and not always knowing if you're doing the right thing. It's about grieve. It's about emotions and talking about them. It's a good story and I was doubting if I would give it 3 or 4 stars, but I decided to give it 4 stars.
Carmen Haselup
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Troublemakers by Catherine Barter (Andersen Press) is a political coming of age story about memory and the stories that ground us and bind us to our past and our families. It's beautifully written and had a place in my heart within the first few pages.

'In three years I will be able to vote and I will still have less power than I did at the moment that I saw that email, which was such a tiny thing but look what happened. Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who
I really enjoyed this character-driven story, it was refreshing and very different to other contemporary YA books I've read recently. The story was compelling and revealed bit by bit which makes you want to keep reading.

Alena is a compelling character and very relatable. I love the way she knew when she was being unreasonable or over-reacting but she just found herself saying things she didn't mean - that felt very real to me. The dialogue was very well-written, especially between Alena and her
CC the Great is Not Okay
Loved this. This was very much a ‘slice of life’ kind of story where nothing really exciting happens, rather, everything is realistic, but I never found myself getting bored. Alena was a convincing teenage character that Barter got just right—she wasn’t unbelievably naive but she wasn’t annoyingly precocious either. She was curious like any other 15-year-old teenage girl, wanting to understand the politics of a society she lived in, but there was still a lot she had yet to understand.

Danny and N
Mar 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
A book with more diversity than action which ultimately makes it a slow and quiet read a far cry from what the blurb seems to promise.

- The diversity and liberal thinking in Troublemakers was wonderful to read and it kept my interest up throughout as I was curious about how Barter was going to continue to present these characters in a complex way without going to stereotypes; she did it brilliantly! This makes Troublemakers easily one of my favourite books for how it displayed a variety of
Kate Henderson
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely adored this! Now I didn’t really know what to expect when I bought this but I know that I’d seen a lot of buzz about it at YALC last year. Picked it up and read it on a bit of a whim really. So pleased I did. Incredibly emotive and a real page turner. So many themes but all of them explored brilliantly. (Sometimes too many plot points and key themes ruin a book in my opinion) Really did not want to stop reading and wanted to know where it was going throughout.
It felt incredibly realis
Amy Mckee
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5, was kinda bland but i enjoyed it. A junk food book, you know its rubbish but you want to keep reading.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Oh, this book is so frustrating! I wish an editor had taken a large and exceedingly sharp knife to the first third and then I could give it a better rating because there was lots to like.

To explain this in more detail: I almost gave up on Troublemakers. The first third of the book is very, very slow, not too interesting and contains some considerable repetition - Alena's life, family and friendships could have been conveyed a lot more succinctly. Instead there are endless scenes showing Danny an
Harriet Springbett
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story is a superb example of a strong, convincing teenage voice and I was really impressed with Catherine Barter's mastery of dialogue and her characterisation. Alena, the protagonist, is going to be one of my all time female favourites: she's strong, principled and smart - and yet the author manages to convey her teenage innocence through her reflections about what she sees around her. She says what she thinks, does what she believes is right, and learns from her mistakes - but she's far f ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Here aresome reasons why I fell in love with this book!

1) I now want to have my own hipster, vegan, socially aware cafe, where I make speeches about fair trade bananas.

2) Lenas voice was unlike any other character I've read . I think this was because the age profile for Alena was really well thought out. I imagine that fifteen is a difficult age to write, as it's right bang in the middle of childhood and adulthood, so I think this was done amazingly

3) The family dynamic was spot on, in soo many
Megan  (thebookishtwins)
I received this free from the publishers via NetGalley

Alena never knew her political activist mother, who died when she was a baby. She has been looked after by her older half-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick. They've acted like parents to Alena. When someone starts leaving bombs around London, the atmosphere and area are precarious. It is in this fearful situation that Alena starts to learn about her activist mother which causes tension at home, especially when Danny starts working for a co
May 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Check out my review on my blog

“Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who died when she way a baby. She has grown-up with her older half-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick in the east end of London. Now the area is threatened by a bomber who has been leaving explosive devices in supermarkets. It’s only a matter of time before a bomb goes off.”

Why did I pick this book up?
The cover really drew me in. I do love yellow.

Ainee Porter
I feel bad for giving it a pretty low rating when majority of those who read the book seem to enjoy it. The story revolves around 15-year-old Alena Kennedy. Lena's brother, Danny, has been her guardian, alongside his partner, Nick, eversince their mother passed away when she was three-years-old.

Overall, I found the plot to be very draggy, especially in the first quarter. Later in the story, tension starts to rise between the characters but that was it. The ending was abrupt and rushed (Or maybe
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and I'm very glad I did as it is probably not something I would have read otherwise.

It was very refreshing to read a young adult contemporary that didn't focus on romance and instead explored politics and people's morality in regards to it. I also enjoyed the unconventional family dynamic as I think it is important for teenagers to read about families that don't conform with what is considered "normal".

Overall I throughly enjoyed the book and found myself
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, 2017, underrated
5 Stars

What a great book!

Although I think its best going into this barely knowing anything and just letting yourself be sucked in and carried away by this amazing story, this book follows 15 year old Alena Kennedy who’s been raised by her older brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick since her mother died when she was just 3 years old.

This is a well written, coming of age story following Alena as she begins to figure things out in her life, like her political beliefs, the numerous questions she h
Louise / Daisy May Johnson
It's taken me a while to figure out how to write this review. I loved Troublemakers but I didn't know how to write about it. It's a curious thing, sort of not quite what I expected it to be and somehow more than that. It's a big book. It's thick and edible and layered with a thousand different notes, and all of them hook into you and don't let you go. I loved it. I don't know how to write about it, so maybe I'll try and give you something different than my normal reviews.

But let's begin with the
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviews, arc-s
This wasn't at all what I was expecting. Which isn't a bad thing, but it was a surprise! Troublemakers is essentially a book about people, families, lies and fear of the unknown (and maybe a little bit of fear of what you do know). There is a bomber in Alena's hometown planting explosives in supermarkets. There's also some generally rubbish people creating hate crimes and vandalism as you go through. But most of all there is Alena's family dynamic, which is full of secrets, and Alena wants some ...more
Alix Long
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved this book. It is definitely unlike any YA I have read before - Troublemakers has such a unique storyline and a distinctive, relatable voice. I loved the character of Alena and I thought she was so well written and a very realistic teenager character. She is intelligent and thoughtful and determined; YA should have more female characters like Alena. This is not only an incredibly interesting but also a very different and diverse book. I have never read a book with a sister/brot ...more
Sue Holmes
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
*Review copy received from publisher
Troublemakers is a beautifully written character-driven story. The rich multi-layered characters come to life on the pages against a well-developed background. But the pacing is slow in places and unless you’re as invested in the characters as I was this may bother you.

Focusing on the effects of grief and secrets big enough to destroy. On family dynamics and friendships. And at the centre is fifteen-year-old Alena and her family consisting of her older brother
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Troublemakers is one of those books I have been hearing about for a long time, and looked forward to reading. I eventually managed to read it a few weeks ago, and I absolutely adored it – the writing, the characters, the plot. This book is totally FAB.

I thought that Alena was really well characterised – I was her age not too long ago, and I thought she was written in such a realistic way. She had just the right amount of angsty-teenager and annoying-younger-sister to make her seem like a real fi
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“His older brother got expelled for selling pot at school.'
'That's - good to know.'
'He wasn't selling it to me.'
'Also good to know.'
'And if he was I wouldn't have been able to afford it.”
“When I was little and Nick got hit by a car,' I said, 'Marie told me that he'd used up all our family's bad luck and we wouldn't have any more. Do you remember that?'
He is silent for a while. Then he says, 'She was lying.'
'Yeah. I'm working that out.”
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