The Bombs That Brought Us Together: Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2016

The Bombs That Brought Us Together: Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2016

The Bombs That Brought Us Together: Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2016
Brian Conaghan

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408855744

Fourteen-year-old Charlie Law has lived in Little Town, on the border with Old Country, all his life. He knows the rules: no going out after dark; no drinking; no litter; no fighting. You don't want to get on the wrong side of the people who run Little Town. When he meets Pavel Duda, a refugee from Old Country, the rules start to get broken. Then the bombs come, and the soldiers from Old Country, and Little Town changes for ever. Sometimes, to keep the people you love safe, you have to do bad things. As Little Town's rules crumble, Charlie is sucked into a dangerous game. There's a gun, and a bad man, and his closest friend, and his dearest enemy. Charlie Law wants to keep everyone happy, even if it kills him. And maybe it will ... Perfect for readers of Patrick Ness, John Boyne and Malorie Blackman.

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Reviews

The Bombs That Brought Us Together: Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 20165/5

The Bombs That Brought Us Together: Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2016

Brian Conaghan

Review

Charlie Law lives with his Mum and Dad in Little Town, a place run by the Regime, through gangs of Rascals who patrol the town making the residents' lives a misery. There's no freedom of speech and pretty much no 'normal' life, the result being it's a boring but scary existence. Charlie lives by ten rules he's made up, to ensure he doesn't get into trouble. And until now he's done okay, spending most of his time dreaming of being Erin F's boyfriend. The arrival of a new family in the block begins the unravelling of life as Charlie knows it, bringing with it friendship, danger and heartache. Charlie must decide whether his rules still apply... Sometimes you start reading something and you just know it's going to be good. I just loved Charlie, the hero of the story. You can instantly 'hear' his voice; a young teenager caught up in events way out of his control. There are many parallels that can be drawn with events in today's world involving conflict, refugees, bullying and choices of morality. The world the author creates is very real and is at times incredibly uncomfortable, quite fearsome but also downright funny. Living in a regime-oppressed society is so well implied that you can feel the claustrophobia. The characters surrounding Charlie, his parents, the terrifying 'rascals', The Big Man, all echo the fear that is embedded in the plot. The treatment of the new family reflects the impact prejudice can have on society. Thankfully what is most inspiring is Charlie, and the lengths he goes to protect his friends and family. Charlie has to face his fears, and find his feet, in a world that is increasingly unstable. And despite the choices he has to make, ultimately his bravery is rewarded. 368 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Victoria Dilly, consultant librarian.

Reviewed by: Victoria Dilly