review: the bombs that brought us together



Author: Brian Conaghan

Synopsys from Goodreads:

Fourteen-year-old Hamish 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, Hamish is sucked into a dangerous game. There's a gun, and a bad man, and his closest friend, and his dearest enemy.
Hamish Law wants to keep everyone happy, even if it kills him. And maybe it will ... But he's got to kill someone else first.



I received an advanced readers copy for this book and finally got around to reading it. I'm not exactly sure how to classify the genre, but it's definitely young adult with a hint of dystopia. This was an interesting book, i'm rating it 3.5 stars. (In my copy the character's name is Charlie but i think in recent copies they changed it to Hamish)

Plot
This book was mostly very slow-paced, and i had some trouble getting into the story for the first half of the book. It gets a lot better in the second half and the last third was actually pretty good with the plot twist. The whole conflict between Old Country and Little Town disturbingly reminded me of the wars happening in the Middle East and the way the people there are forced to live.

Writing
I had a huge problem with the writing. I found Charlie's narrative to be inconsistent. During the first half i got this vibe that he was an innocent kid and that the book was more middlegrade-ish. However when getting through the second half a lot of profanity and mild sexual references started to appear and it shocked me a little because I wasn't expecting it. It would have been better if we had a glimpse of this from earlier on in the book. It might have made the first half of the book more interesting as well, because it further paints the picture of the environment and people of Little Town. Other than that, i found the dialogue to be a little cringe-worthy at times. I also wish the scene when the bombs came and the impact of it would have been highlighted more, because it would have made the last paragraph of the book stand out more strongly.

Characters
I couldn't form any form of attachment with any of the characters. I found the main character to be kind of annoying most of the time, but when considering that he was a young male teenager I didn't let it bother me.   The only thing i appreciated about Charlie's character was his loyalty to Pav and their friendship, especially after something bad had happened to Pav. I liked Charlie's concern and panic and how pissed off he was. I wish a lot more could have been told about the girls in the story, because in the end Charlie was trying to make the event of the bombing sound like it had brought him and his friends together, but it didn't feel touching or special enough because i couldn't feel a genuine connection between him and his female friends(excluding Pav).

Even though I didn't enjoy this book that much, it was still a refreshing YA read.

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if a house is made from a thousand bricks, then let me be one of those bricks, to help keep the house together, to make a significant difference.

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