Author: Brian Conaghan

Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

Posted March 13, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 1 Comment

I received this book for free from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian ConaghanWe Come Apart by Sarah Crossan, Brian Conaghan
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on February 9th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Family, General, Social Themes, Fiction, Romance, Poetry, Family & Relationships
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Bloomsbury

YA rising stars Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan join forces to break readers' hearts in this contemporary story of star-cross'd lovers.
Jess would never have looked twice at Nicu if her friends hadn't left her in the lurch. Nicu is all big eyes and ill-fitting clothes, eager as a puppy, even when they're picking up litter in the park for community service. He's so not her type. Appearances matter to Jess. She's got a lot to hide.
Nicu thinks Jess is beautiful. His dad brought Nicu and his mum here for a better life, but now all they talk about is going back home to find Nicu a wife. The last thing Nicu wants is to get married. He wants to get educated, do better, stay here in England. But his dad's fists are the most powerful force in Nicu's life, and in the end, he'll have to do what his dad wants.
As Nicu and Jess get closer, their secrets come to the surface like bruises. The only safe place they have is with each other. But they can't be together, forever, and stay safe Â? can they?
An extraordinary, high-impact, high-emotion collaboration between two Carnegie honoured rising stars of YA. Perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Malorie Blackman, Rainbow Rowell and John Green.
Sarah Crossan received the 2016 CILIP Carnegie Medal for her astonishing novel One, which also won the YA Book Prize,CBI Book of the Year Award and the CliPPA Poetry Award. Brian Conaghan's powerful debut, When Mr Dog Bites, was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, Peters Book of the Year and CBI Book of the Year Award.

Review: I really enjoyed Sarah Crossan’s verse novel One and I’ve been reading her YA since Breathe. I love the fact Crossan writes in verse; it’s something we don’t see a lot of in YA and for me verse reminds more than any other form of writing of being a teenager. It was how I expressed myself so YA verse novels make perfect sense to me.

We Come Apart is co-written with Brian Conaghan, Conaghan won the Costa Children’s Award in 2016 and is an author I am slightly less familiar with, but have been meaning to read for some time and have had Mr Dog Bites on my reading pile for a little while.

We Come Apart is a dual-narrative novel telling the stories of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens who are bought together in a community service project. Both characters experience quite frankly tragic things; for Nicu the racism he encounters is awful and Jess’ home life is violent and emotionally manipulated by her mother’s partner. The two teenagers come together though and somewhat reluctantly form a bond.

This is a beautifully written novel that looks at the reality and ugliness in the world as well as the hope in friendships and trust. Nicu seems younger than Jess somehow and slightly more naive at the beginning of the novel. As the novel progresses and the racist bullying at his school grows, it is truly sad to see how his light seems to diminish and you can see how the system is against him and people are waiting for him to fail.  Jess is more self-destructive than Nicu, she seems to be hurtling down a damaging path and I was desperate for her to not go there, however her friendship with Nicu begins to pull her away from this.

While the novel is a fairly fast read, I read it in one sitting, the final third really ramps up. The plot goes in a direction I completely did not see coming which is quite unusual as I’m usually very good at guessing plots. It is tragic and sad, and yet it works. The book’s ending is poignant and thought provoking and stayed with me afterwards.

Now, more than ever, books like We Come Apart feel important and timely and yet We Come Apart doesn’t come across as an issue book. The verse style works beautifully and I would love to see more novels in this style; it’s something I would have loved to read as a teenager – as I mentioned earlier poetry and being a teenager linked together a lot for me personally. I am sure I am not the only one.

YA Contemporary fans, those who want to read something a little different and relevant to today’s current affairs will not go wrong with We Come Apart!