Naked Paperback – 6 Oct 2011
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Kevin Brooks just gets better and better, and given that he started off brilliant, that leaves one scratching around for superlatives (Sunday Telegraph)
[Kevin Brooks'] pacey plots, masterly style and philosophical ideas in novels such as Martyn Pig, Killing God and Black Rabbit Summer have made him a cult among teens. This, though, is the big one. Its power as literature draws on a reality that few adult novelists have the stomach to address. It should be read by everyone. (Amanda Craig The Times)
From the Back Cover
London, 1976: a summer of chaos, punk, love . . . and the boy they called Billy the Kid.
It was the summer of so many things. Heat and violence, love and hate, heaven and hell. It was the time I met William Bonney - the boy from Belfast known as Billy the Kid.
I've kept William's secrets for a long time, but now things have changed and I have to tell the truth. But I can't begin until I've told you about Curtis Ray. Hip, cool, rebellious Curtis Ray. Without Curtis, there wouldn't be a story to tell.
It's the story of our band, of life and death . . . and everything in between.
'A compulsive, atmospheric mystery' - Sunday Times
'A masterly writer' - Mail on Sunday
'Hugely readable . . . confoundedly gripping' - The Independent on Sunday
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Top customer reviews
The thing that struck me most about this book is that the main characters voice is so brilliantly realistic. Reading this is actually like reading the diary of a teenage girl (granted without all the soppiness -Lili is in a punk band you know). I loved learning about the early punk scene through her eyes.
There were several elements to the story that I enjoyed.
I liked seeing the relationships Lili built up with both Curtis and with William and enjoyed seeing how completely different those relationships were. I will admit now to being a William fan and therefore this meant I spend a vast amount of the book hoping he and Lili would get it together.
Those people who are looking to get this for school libraries younger teens I would certainly advise caution with younger children as there are a lot of drug / sexual references / swearing which might not be entirely appropriate for very young teenagers although I imagine this will be the entire reason why older ones would love it.
As I said enjoyed learning about the early punk scene through Lili and loved the edginess it brought to the book.
This book also added an interesting storyline involving the IRA troubles in the 1970s which is one part of the book which I personally found fascinating especially as it gave a lot of insight both into the political situation at the time for ordinary people but also into the mind set of people fighting on either side.
All in all a book which I think is going to be highly successful and earn many fans both young and old.
The story is told in an almost autobiographical tone and it's easy to believe that the narrator, Lili, was a real part of the punk scene. It's set in 1976, right when punk was just taking off and it is very true to the time period. Lili is a brilliant character to read. Essentially, she's in a punk band but doesn't quite fit into the scene. She's there because she likes the music and she's not so keen on the party side of things. The two boys in her life are Curtis Ray (I love the proper rockstar quality to his name!), the band's front man and bad boy, and William Bonney, guitarist with a secret.
There's some amazing descriptive scenes in this book which land you right there with the characters, whether it's with Lili and William in the cemetry or up on stage with the band as a fight takes place in the crowd. The book also takes you through a rollercoster of emotions, from literally laughing out loud to crying.
Brooks quite clearly knows what he's talking about when it comes to the music and the punk scene in general and while I really liked all the added little details, I did wonder at times if it might be a little too much for readers who aren't so knowledgeable about the subject. I'm also pleased to say that the author didn't hold back on the subject matter and characterisation. The book is very much sex, drugs and rock n' roll and although I feel that it is dealt with appropriately (sex is eluded to but not graphic, the drugs aren't glamourised, there's some swearing where necessary but it's not overdone), this book is probably more suited to older teens.
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