These two authors have combined to produce an amazingly powerful work of young adult fiction. The dual perspectives, given by two narrators, give authenticity to each of the characters. Jess is a young woman who has an extremely unhappy home life, and reacts in a belligerent and angry way. Nicu is a young man from Romania, who has come to England with his family. The authors have written separate chapters for each character, and each has very different voices.
Nicu is learning the English language, and his broken English can be very insightful and beautiful. ….
“She seem total tragic sad. And I want to rush to her……….. feelings show her my smile”
Nicu is attracted to Jess and wants to form a friendship.
The story is written in free verse which makes for fast and gripping reading. Words are used carefully and succinctly, drawing the reader instantly into the plot. There are themes which are troubling, but common. How people deal with such things as domestic violence, racism and bullying is shown on a personal level, and there is no easy solution. One does what one must at the time.
The characters are portrayed so completely and simply that you cannot help but form opinions of them and their behaviour. Jess and Nicu meet because they are both in a Reparation scheme. Although the most unlikely people to get together, they have much in common. His family wants to earn and save money so they can find a bride for him, while he wants freedom to choose whom he marries and when. Being accepted in the English town they have arrived in seems impossible, despite his smiles and friendliness. School is also a nightmare.
It would be sad to think that there is so little hope and help for people in this situation. The solution for Jess, whose mother is a silent victim of domestic violence, and for Nicu, is to make radical changes to their lives. A plan is devised, not in a cool, practical way, but in the heat of a dramatic situation.
There is no instant fix here, and one feels that both the characters have a long way to go to find happiness, and contentment in their lives.
|Author||Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan|