Hello everyone! How are you?~
Thank you for clicking this book review, I have tried to increase the length as much as I could, so hopefully you guys enjoy it. Go ahead, read on!
From two acclaimed authors comes an emotional story told in verse about friendship, love, and overcoming unbeatable odds.
Authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan have joined forces to tell the story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places.
Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess’s home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?
For fans of Una LaMarche’s Like No Other, this illuminating story told in dual points of view through vibrant verse will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.
This novel follows two characters named Jess and Nicu, who are apart of a juvenile reform course after being convicted of shoplifting.
Nicu emigrated to England with his family, and Jess lives in a domestic abuse household with her mother and step-father.
In the first part, these characters live separate lives before being introduced in part two where they meet in part two.
If you’d like a more in-depth plot review please read the book yourself as it is a very quick read. I am deeply sorry I could not give a more in-depth review, but as there are only twenty words maximum per page, I cannot say much without providing spoilers.
Why is it written in verse form? Why, no seriously- this is a genuine question. Like out of every form, why is it written in verse form? It doesn’t add anything to plot in the slightest, it doesn’t make it more interesting and honestly, it was so difficult to read. I made a comment to my partner while reading it, that is was almost like someone had typed one starter word on an iPhone, and then hit suggested words for the rest of the ‘chapter’.
The terrible English! My gosh, I understand with Nicu’s pov because English was not his first language, but for Jess? Apparently she was good at the English language too! But she sure didn’t show it.
Was it a diary or a verse? Because the first person conscious thoughts switching to quoting what other character’s said at the start had me so confused. I thought I had bought a book that was written about two teenage diaries. I was actually looking forward to it- but no. It was written in verse form.
Where was the ending? Like, genuinely nothing was wrapped up, no questions were answered. It just left me as it started- confused?
Terry knocks on my bedroom door
Like a real gentleman,
Like someone you could trust,
with the same knuckles
He knocks Mum out.” (P. 251)
‘But I want to stay here’ I praying to them.
‘Here, what is here?’ Tata say. ‘People hate us here.’
‘Nicu, people here only see our skin, not the thing within,’ Mamica say, (P. 95)
Wow. The ending was so heartbreaking but yet so sweet. The final part of this three-part series had to be my favourite, which is why I gave this novel two stars instead of one.
It was beautiful, sweet, it featured themes of violence and domestic abuse. It had so much, bundled into a book so small and for that, the authors did so well.
However, the first part of the entire novel (part one) had me not only beyond confused, but extremely bored. It took too long for the characters to develop, and for it to be revealed that one of the characters- Jess- is from an abusive household, and the other- Nicu- is a legal immigrant living with his sexually open, but culturally conservative family.
Now, I honestly thought at the start the author was writing it from one character’s perspective in a diary-like form, but the character was a child, and didn’t take effort to write cohesive sentences. Which isn’t good if each ‘chapter’ is in a different point of view (POV).
Do Opposites Attract?
Now, these POV’s were… interesting. They were poorly conducted at the start, but as the author’s got into the flow of writing towards the second section, it started to come together. Which seemed to follow the plot if you weren’t looking closely, but if you were, it seemed almost entirely regionally different. Not only that, but it seemed like the characters were so far apart in characteristics, and everything that makes a person an individual, that it almost confused me when the novel fused them together.
This is most likely because of the way the authors wrote each character would make them so starkly different, that even in the world where opposites attract, these individuals should not have attracted.
Jess was a thief from an abusive background, hung around with bullies and associated herself with them despite them occasionally turning on her. And she also looked down on those of different cultures. Now, I don’t understand how she would be attracted to Nicu. Not only did he struggle to speak English- but the author’s even stated that with all the English slang Jess used, he couldn’t understand her either.
Perhaps they came together on attraction? No. As already stated, she was a bully herself who not only discriminated but allowed discrimination to occur despite befriending Nicu.
Maybe even a passion of mutual conviction? AKA thievery. I would highly doubt so as Jess viewed herself highly, and like the aforementioned point, she looked down of those racially or culturally different to hers.
In the end, in a perfect world perhaps these two individuals could come together on some spark of the moment meeting, but in the real, flawed world- I would say not.
But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it cannot happen- nor am I saying it cannot happen because of culturally diverse backgrounds because that would be ridiculous. I’m just saying, from a purely third party perspective, it doesn’t sound plausible.
In the end, I’m conflicted. I thought the content, and the plot worked out, however everything else besides that was terrible. I would give it a medium three stars, but I subtracted that final star because of the format. Again, why that format?
Well, I tried being as honest but as nice as I could. However, it’s quite difficult on a novel that gives me such internal confliction.
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