Thursday, 19 May 2016

'The Bombs That Brought Us Together' Review

'The Bombs That Brought us Together' by Brian Conaghan
Review by Christopher Moore


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.

The Bombs That Brought Us Together is an incredible story that chronicles the tensions between Old Country and Little Town but more closely, the relationship between Charlie and Pav. At its core, it's a story of friendship but it explores politics, prejudice, oppression, survival and war from a child's perspective. Conaghan's sophomore novel is a powerful story and one of my favourite books of 2016.

The story starts out with Charlie wanting to teach Pav to speak in Little Town lingo as his accent marks him out as different; as a deserter. He and his family move onto Charlie's street. Charlie wants to get some chairs and a table, leading him to the Big Man, a man who pulls a lot of the strings in Little Town and despises Old Country. He helps Charlie but at a price and it's this that really gets the story rolling and pin-balls it to a nail-biting conclusion.

Charlie and Pav's friendship is beautiful and we get flashes of humour mixed in with the bleak circumstances that the citizens of Little Town find themselves in. There's a few twists thrown in to heighten the suspense and really pull you into Little Town. I think it will be a story that will divide readers; those that like it will absolutely LOVE it. Whether it's for you or not, everyone must surely agree that this a story that's beautifully told with characters that feel real and a fictional world, created with such fine details, and echoes ours closely. It's a story that will make you laugh, smile, bite your nails to stubs and maybe even make you cry (and that cover!). This book will make you feel. Prepare yourself.

The Bombs That Brought Us Together is a powerful read that hits quite close to home with current issues and makes themes like survival, politics and war accessible to a younger audience. Undoubtedly, it's a novel that's destined for the Carnegie Medal shortlist 2017.

Rating: 5/5 Stars  ★ ★ ★ ★
Christopher Moore:
Christopher is a co-founder of the YAfictionados blog and is best known as the YAblooker. He is a twenty-five year old book blogger who has previously worked in marketing and consumer insight for various publishing houses and writes in his spare time. He loves to travel and will read anything YA-related and some general fiction and fantasy.

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