Sarah Crossan appears to be on a mission to highlight for teen readers the joy that verse can bring – and when it’s as good as this collaboration I am not going to complain.
Scheduled for publication on 9th February 2017, I’m really grateful to NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this early.
The story is told through two distinctive voices. On one hand we have fifteen year old Jess, spiky and caught up in a lot of trouble, but hiding the sad reality that her step-father beats up her mother and makes Jess record it. Then we have Nicu, a fifteen year old Romanian whose family have come to make enough money to enable them to return home and marry Nicu off. Neither character has it easy, and telling the story through their alternating voices allows us to reflect on the information they give us.
When the two teens meet it takes a while for them to engage with each other. Although the book felt like a quick read, it took them a while to break down their initial wariness of each other and take time to establish a bond. I liked the fact that – not through want of wishing on Nicu’s part initially – this was more about friendship and mutual support than a romance.
The voices created were distinct, and I felt represented the characters and their personalities well. I was more than a little stunned by the speed at which we reached the rather shocking climax, and though it felt unresolved in some ways I have to say the ending left me rather dewy-eyed and hoping, desperately, that some good would come out of what happened. Then I reminded myself that it was only a story!