I am vociferously passionate about good books. And I hate adverbs.
What a ride!
This was an absolutely fantastic exposé on bullies and the ugly company they keep. This is a book that needs to be read by a lot of people. Bullying is one of the plagues of youth, and unfortunately it makes the transition even into adulthood in some people.
This book is about standing up for your friends. Protecting what is right. Cheering for the underdog. (Yeah, that rang ALL my bells!)
As usual, Mr Bell writes some compelling protags, and I was sucked into the storytelling at once. David, our sweet, nerdy young boy, gets a protector from bullies in the form of one huge, scary and scarred Connor, a couple of years his senior.
How this all builds and just works, you will have to read yourself, but let me tell you it had my heart in a twist from the get-go, and it never let me rest until the very end.
Some excerpts? Okay, here:
"David bounced in his seat like a basketball strapped to a kangaroo." How is that for showing, not telling? *gigglesnort* Oh, the language is used in such a delicious way here.
"Someone should establish spas for teenagers where they could get away from their controlling parents or dysfunctional school life for a while." I could not agree more. And I'm so happy Mr Bell defined the 'school' as dysfunctional and the families as 'controlling'. It's such a trope with dysfunctional families, when controlling is what they really are. Top marks.
"...turning the other cheek was likely to get David hit on that side as well." David's thoughts about his father's advice to walk away from fights, and be the bigger person. That is SO much easier from an armchair, daddy dearest.
Too much angst for my poor, fluff-heart, but boy! was this ever a good story. Not much sex, but don't let that scare you away. This is seriously good writing, on the older side of YA, with some sweet sex happening, but not of the erotic kind. It happens because the protags have sex, not because you, the reader, need to read about it. (Did that make any sense?)
Now, to the text itself. I must start with saying that Mr Bell had me already with the dedication
"For Kati, who once saved me from three very nasty bullies, and who has had my back ever since."
There is something so honest about a man remembering a girl who saved him from bullies way back when.
I felt I really got to know these boys, after just a few chapters, and I find I'm still walking around thinking of them now. And I suspect I will keep thinking of them for quite some time.
Well done, Mr Bell. Again. Because what this book has, in spades, is heart.
I was NOT asked to read this book by anyone, I paid for it with my own money.