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We Come Apart Hardcover – 9 Feb 2017
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This is a strikingly brave, sensitive and unusual book that pack such a powerful emotional punch, I defy anyone not to weep at the end (Praise for ONE: Daily Mail)
Beautifully observed and hilariously uncomfortable (Praise for WHEN MR DOG BITES: Guardian)
One of the most powerful as well as the most unusual novels of the year (Praise for ONE: Independent on Sunday)
Read, think, enjoy and weep, because the novel is quite simply an achingly sad and beautiful story about what makes any of us human (Praise for ONE: Telegraph)
This is a portrayal of young male bonding, complete with all the lively banter of true camaraderies, at its most tender and affectionate (Praise for WHEN MR DOG BITES: Irish Times)
An outstanding debut, packed with energy and a brilliant distinctive voice (Praise for WHEN MR DOG BITES: Bookseller)
Surprising and charming (Praise for WHEN MR DOG BITES: Observer)
Two of the most important voices in YA come together to break your heart - We Come Apart is a contemporary Romeo and Juliet, a story of two teenagers brought together by circumstance, ripped apart by fate ...See all Product description
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Sarah Crossan writes beautifully in verse - it can feel like poetry but when read aloud (I audio-read this), it simply sounds like a story in short chapters. Brian Conaghan, I assume, took Nicu's story, while Crossan took Jess's, though I may be wrong.
This short novel reminded me of Crossan's debut - The Weight of Water - both short novels with rather dark hearts, and topics of racism and intolerance at the forefront.
Jess has a troubled family life. Nicu, no less so, but as an immigrant, has other problems as well. Both end up, as young offenders, on a community scheme where they gradually become friends and very close, sharing their secrets and forming a strong attachment. It all must come to a head though - can they make their own happy ending?
There are some quite upsetting scenes both in the teenagers' family lives and at school, of abuse, violence and bullying. Jess grows more as a person than Nicu, as she sees how he is treated and must decide on which side she will stand, while Nicu must brave the storm as he valiantly tries to get on with his life in a strange country.
Both feel very real - Jess talks like a real teenager, the narrator bringing her to life manages to make her sound vulnerable, world-weary at times, but still a young streetwise girl who is trying to find her way.
Nicu is also voiced well, his imperfect grasp of English still conveys his intelligence and moral nature, his adolescent feelings for Jess: all teenagers at heart at very similar, whatever language they speak.
The story doesn't let the teens off easily, nobody gets an easy get-out-of-jail card, the problems of both families don't go away, bullies don't miraculously see the light. It's a short book but packs a mighty punch and until the last pages you really don't know how it is going to end.
A dual narrative splits the story equally between the two, back and forth we sometimes see the same scene from both perspectives, which only deepens the sympathy for Nicu 'the outsider' as he contends with ignorance and prejudice.
The verse style means the book speeds by. I wanted more at the end, I wanted to find out what happens next - maybe its a story the authors can return to, pick up again later in the lives of Jess and Nicu. It's certainly a relevant theme that needs to be read.
Two excellent narrators on the audiobook make both leads come to life, great voices and accents, pitched right at the ages of the characters.
I love both these authors and found this a powerful and moving collaboration, which works very well as an audiobook, as it would on paper.
With thanks to Nudge-books.com for the sample reading copy.
After reading One by Sarah I thought I would read this, as Brian recently won some awards for his book The Bombs We Brought Together I was interested to try a joint foray by the pair. And I was impressed.
We Come Apart is about Nicu, who is a Romani Romanian who has immigrated to the UK so that his parents can earn money for his arranged marriage, and Jess who is struggling a lot at home as her mum's boyfriend is abusive. Nicu starts at Jess' school and Jess finds herself defending Nicu against her racist friends who she begins to realise are horrible people.
One thing I really loved about this book was that it was about a Romani boy, I've never read about someone who is Romani and I've never even heard of one. Romani people are basically the UK's punching bag, I couldn't even explain to you the disgusting tv shows I've see about them or the characters they are made out to be in dramas, it's gross. So because of this I thought it was really good to read from the point of view of someone who is Romani, again I will say though that neither of the writers are Romani and I don't know how much research they did so it might not be accurate. But based on my knowledge of the UK and the people who live here and how cruel British school kids are I would say that the the bulling the Nicu experiences is pretty accurate, in fact I felt like it was pulled back a bit.
What I would have to say about the Nicu story is that I felt like the whole "parents forcing him to get married" thing was quite a harmful stereotype. Of course with stereotypes there will be some people who are true to that stereotype but there's so many that aren't and I wish this book had given him a different storyline because I'm 100% sure there is more to Romani people than what we see in the media.
I'm still not really sure how I feel about books written in verse. They're great for a quick read and the often pack a real punch but I don't think I get the effect of them that other people get.
At times this book was super hard to read but it felt honest. Jess' home life was horrible but it wasn't glossed over. Neither was the life of teens living in an area which is considered to be impoverished. A lot of adults writing YA books seem to be under the impression that kids don't get violently drunk or have meaningless sex or get involved in drugs, but this book showed these things in a brutal light. I've lived in Glasgow I've seen the ways some people live when they don't have much money coming in, I've seen how their children grow up and this book felt very true to that.
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This book was one of my most anticipated books of 2017 and couldn’t...Read more