Every once in a while, I finish a book and don’t want to do anything for a while except sit and think about it. This is one of those. It’s a beautifully told story that starts in the rough setting of a 1990s, gang-influenced, London high school. About halfway through I thought I knew where this was going, but it took a different turn that made the story much more rich, sad, and contemplative than I was expecting. Then it moves forward to when the characters are adults, and all the consequences built up over the years spill together to create an ending that was entirely satisfying.
Now, from an American perspective, when we read a story with “violence” in the title and the main character foreshadows that the philosophical, unpopular teen does something bad, we sadly are going to assume this ends in a school shooting. I don’t know if that was on the author’s mind or not, but that’s why the OTHER way things go in this story completely surprised me. Nathan becomes someone quite different, someone much more sympathetic and, really, noble…even if he is troubled from start to finish.
I will say that I first read the often-detrimental use of dialect and thought, “Oh, no,” but there’s so little of it that it adds to the tone and flavor of the setting rather than being distracting. Also, I know that flipping from one character’s viewpoint to another can bother some readers, but I found myself just going with it rather than questioning the omnisciency issue. Overall, the writing is pretty mistake-free and well done, and the flow is seamless. Several descriptions are downright creative and lovely.
I really don’t want to spoil too much, so just do yourself a favor and dive right into this one. It’s rough and violent, but it’s also compassionate towards every character. This is one I’m definitely going to thrust upon my friends and family.
See it on Amazon!