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This is Not Forgiveness [Paperback]

Celia Rees
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

2 Feb 2012

Everyone says that Caro is bad . . . but Jamie can't help himself. He thinks of her night and day and can't believe that she wants to be his girlfriend. Gorgeous, impulsive and unconventional, she is totally different to all the other girls he knows. His sister, Martha, hates her. Jamie doesn't know why, but there's no way he's going to take any notice of her warnings to stay away from Caro.

But as Jamie falls deeper and deeper under her spell, he realises there is more to Caro - much more. There are the times when she disappears and doesn't get in touch, the small scars on her wrists, her talk about revolutions and taking action, not to mention the rumours he hears about the other men in her life.

And then always in the background there is Rob, Jamie's older brother, back from Afghanistan and traumatised after having his leg smashed to bits there. Jamie wants to help him, but Rob seems to be living in a world of his own and is increasingly difficult to reach.

With Caro, the summer should have been perfect . . . but that isn't how things work out in real life, and Jamie is going to find out the hard way.

This taut psychological drama is the brilliant new novel from acclaimed Celia Rees.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (2 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408817691
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408817698
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 440,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Celia Rees was born in Solihull, West Midlands, UK. She studied History and Politics at Warwick University and then went on to teach English in city comprehensive schools for seventeen years. She now divides her time between writing, talking to readers in schools and libraries, and teaching creative writing.

She has written over twenty books for older children and teenagers, and has become a leading writer for Young Adults with an international reputation. Her books have been translated into 28 languages and she has been short listed for the Guardian, Whitbread and W.H. Smith Children's Book Awards, as well as numerous regional awards in the UK and America. Witch Child won the prestigious Prix Sorcières in France in 2003, and the Di Cento Prize in Italy, 2001. Her latest book, The Fool's Girl, is published, April 2010.

Celia lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, with her husband, Terry. Her daughter, Catrin, now lives and works in London.

Celia has a Fan Page on Facebook and her own website: www.celiarees.com

Product Description

Review

Sleek, dark and dangerous. Celia Rees has ventured into new territory and returned with explosives (Patrick Ness)

In a remarkable book that manages to be both lyrical and gritty in the same breath, Celia Rees takes us into an apparently ordinary world where love, betrayal, faith and violence appear hand in hand on virtually every page. I love it for its deceptively gentle prose, its totally believable characters and its vortex of a plot (Melvin Burgess)

Its momentum is impressive (Daily Mail)

This is a fantastic novel - dark and ominous but at the same time intimate and quite beautiful (The Bookbag)

Book Description

Compelling contemporary drama is an exciting new direction for the acclaimed Celia Rees

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different! 2 April 2012
By Jan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have read other books by Celia Rees you are in for a surprise, because this book is quite different from her historical fiction. This is a powerful, modern day story full of suspense and passion, with characters that are damaged and unpredictable, and with a totally unexpected ending.

Jamie can't believe his luck when the stunning Caro takes an interest in him. His friends had told him he didn't have a chance with her and his sister, Martha, keeps telling him that Caro is "seriously bad". Even though Caro does seem to have a bad reputation and even though she behaves strangely towards him - not giving him her phone number, disappearing for weeks at a time, etc - he is besotted with her. He finds it hard to understand when he discovers that Caro is also seeing his older brother, Rob, but even then, Jamie is not going to give up on her. We know that Caro is manipulating both Jamie and Rob, as she has plans to change the world and she needs the help of others to achieve her goal - a trained sniper and his gullible younger brother, for example.

The story has three narrators (Jamie, Rob and Caro) and this device works well as it enables us to really get under the skin and inside the minds of these young people. We know right from the start that Rob, a former soldier who came back from Afghanistan with a smashed leg and psychological scars, does not survive , but who else dies and how does his death occur? I am not usually a great fan of putting age guidance on books, but as Celia Rees' earlier books are very popular with readers in years 7 & 8, in this case, I would probably say this one is for years 9/10 and above. There are scenes of violence, plenty of swearing, use of alcohol and drugs and also quite a lot of sex. This really is an exciting and brilliant read for young adults. I think Ms Rees will collect a whole army of new fans with this latest book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is Not Forgiveness 4 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback
This is Celia Rees as you've never seen her before. Throw out any pre-conceived notions you may have about this book based on her previous writing because this is a very different change of direction. More commonly known for her historical fiction, this is a contemporary story of an altogether different nature.

`This is Not Forgiveness' deals with a subject matter Rees has never touched upon before but one which is very topical at the moment. She addresses the theme of war and how people returning from combat have to learn to adapt to civilian life, while dealing with the long lasting effects of having experienced death firsthand. I like the way Rees also shows the effect that their return can have on their friends and family.

The powerful opening had me curious and intrigued about the story from the very first few pages. We know that Rob is dead and his younger brother Jamie has his ashes in an urn. The actual story unfolds a year prior to this, showing how Rob's death occurred, while keeping the reader on their toes and guessing about what may have occurred. Things are never quite as they first seem.

The three narrative strands ensure that the feelings of all three of the main characters are laid bare. There's Jamie who I immediately liked, his older brother Rob who has been injured and traumatised by the war in Afghanistan and the beautiful and elusive Caro who it took me a little while to warm to. They each have very distinctive voices and personalities and I enjoyed getting to see events from each of their perspectives.

The story is hard hitting and the subject matter is often difficult to read about but I found it a thought provoking and interesting book. There's no neat happy ending and things are often messy and complicated for the characters, but I think this honestly and accurately reflects real life, showing that not everything can be easily fixed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Is Not Forgiveness 7 Feb 2012
By Sarah (Feeling Fictional) TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
3.5 Stars

This Is Not Forgiveness is the first book I've read by Celia Rees so although I've been told it is very different to her usual books I can't make any comparison. The story is mainly told by Jamie with occasional chapters from his brother Rob or his girlfriend Caro's perspective. I've seen some people say that they found the switches in narrators confusing but I have to say I felt the author gave each character such a clear voice that I didn't have a problem keeping track of who was narrating at any one time. I think you actually needed all three characters to tell a portion of the story, if you hadn't got to know each of them quite so well then it would have been very hard to empathise with any of them - Rob and Caro in particular. That isn't to say I agree with what they were up to but seeing inside their heads at least gives you more of an idea how they ended up where they did.

It's been a long time since I disliked a character as much as I did Caro. You do get to see that she hasn't had the best upbringing but really there are a lot of people out there who have had things a lot worse than she has and don't turn out so selfish and uncaring. To a certain extent she has also been manipulated by the crowd that she falls in with who prey on her as a young, idealistic girl but I still found it hard to forgive her actions and wasn't happy with the secrets Jamie kept at the end (I can't say more about that without giving spoilers). Although I didn't like her even a tiny bit she did manage to surprise me at the end of the book - I never would have expected her to act in the way she did and that did go a little way towards redeeming her character for me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautifully paced story
This is a great story for teenagers exploring anger, loss and love. Highly recommended. Should be in every school library.
Published 4 months ago by Jon Roche
3.0 out of 5 stars This is not forgiveness
I think this book was just too "young" for me. I'm 26, and whilst it was perfectly enjoyable, I found it very easy to leave lying around for months and come back to. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Kirsty at Book - Love - Bug
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense, well-constructed YA psychological thriller
16-year-old Jamie Maguire doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. The youngest of three children, his eldest brother Rob has been invalidated out of the army with a bad... Read more
Published 14 months ago by I Read, Therefore I Blog
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid tale of love and loss, oddly comic, but moving
Overall, an enjoyable read. It is unlikely to move the world, but it encouraged emotions that were as real as the emotions Jamie feels in the novel. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Hayley
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
This book is one of my all time favourite books now. It's thrilling and I would recommend this to all my friends-strong readers or not. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Evelyn Margret North
4.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous, a bit like life
You can't fault Celia's plotting and the voices of her characters. This is a misadventure to enjoy. Caro and Rob cynically manipulate Jamie to take a step too far. Read more
Published 21 months ago by newnatbooks
4.0 out of 5 stars Tense YA thriller
This novel opens dramatically; we learn that Jamie (the main narrator) is holding the ashes of his older brother, Rob. Read more
Published on 8 Jun 2012 by S J Keeler
4.0 out of 5 stars An important book to read
I knew that this book was going to be different to anything that Celia Rees had written before but I was surprised just how different it was. Read more
Published on 5 Mar 2012 by Serendipity Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars young adult grows up
Celia Rees isn't taking any prisoners with this one.She certainly doesn't pull any punches and this is what young adult fiction should be like. Read more
Published on 18 Feb 2012 by Fair Play
4.0 out of 5 stars A harrowing, can't-look-away thriller
The bulk of this novel centres on Jamie and is told in his voice. We know from the start that Rob is dead (Jamie is focusing on his ashes and thinking about his poorly-attended... Read more
Published on 18 Feb 2012 by Mrs. B. S. Kemp
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