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on 4 August 2009
Danny and his mother Cathy have been living in fear from Chris and one day they make a break for freedom, only the Promised Land has its own problems.

Alan Gibbons has established himself in the writer's industry with some powerfully constructed novels that never fail to show the true shocking emotional core of real life.

The Dark beneath was a powerful drama following the dramatic life of Anthony, a cast away looking for a friend whilst the love of his life found comfort in the arms of an asylum seeker. Blood Pressure was a powerful revitalisation of parentage whilst Hold On was perhaps the most shocking of all with the diary of a teenager who committed suicide.

The author certainly knows his issues and this 2002 release is still perfectly sound in reverberating the power and emotion of current society with its issues regarding violence and significantly racism.

The action starts straight away with central character Danny being woken up by Cathy, his frightened mother and the pair are soon on the run from Cathy's violent boyfriend Chris who is furious by their options and soon we have not just a drama but a fast paced novel that epitomizes real life in significant ways.

The pair find time to hold up at Cathy's parent's house and soon Danny is troubled by the locals because of the colour of his skin. It is heartbreaking to think that racism is still a dominant judgement in English society but Gibbons is by no means beating around the point, he dives right in their with cruel dialogue for Steve Parker, the local troublemaker whilst Danny's own grandfather has reservations regarding his presence in his home.

Not only does this look at the controversy regarding racial appearances but this book has encoded numerous other implications. Teenage pregnancy, marriage and bullying also get a strong involvement with the proceedings and as the story progresses, it gets even sharper and even more controversial.

Whilst intended undoubtedly to be a drama there is the odd spurt of comedy from Danny with his cheeky attitude when with Nikki. There are numerous action sequences with the bullying and dramatic finale stand outs.

Perhaps what makes this book so powerful emotionally is the use of different perspective. We are constantly changing narrator into the character's point of view and so we as readers are able to grasp the gist of proceedings whilst coming to our own conclusions about the protagonists. These are certainly very strong with a script so issue driven that you may need to take a breather.

There are a few faults. For one Gibbons, whilst brilliant, does often go over the point constantly whilst we could easily understand straight away. Chris' involvement in the middle is very repetitive. Occasionally there is also a lack of urgency.

Nevertheless there is little doubt that this is easily Gibbons' strongest meaningful drama to date and for a powerful drama, it packs a hefty punch.

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on 18 September 2017
It is not easy for victims of domestic violence to explain the sheer terror they experience. There are even people who say things like: "if it was me I would have left." Or some other seemingly simple solution. What Alan Gibbons does, is allow the reader to grasp the terror, and to understand that it can and does feel like there is no escape; that you will be found where ever you flee to. He shows that partly this is a truth, and partly we are prisoners of our own fears. What I liked is that the author managed to allow us to empathise with the characters, even the main, violent perpetrator and as you read, you can feel you have entered the his madness, but also his pain.

The book is pacy, edgy right from the get go. It will have you on the edge of your seat. Gibbons writes in a succinct way, not too flowery and yet he is a master of description. I felt as though I knew these people, I had an image of them in my mind. I could not put it down. Excellent Read.
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on 28 March 2011
`The Edge' is an enticing novel covering some of the main modern day issues and concerns such as domestic violence, single parenting, drugs, psychotic disorders and racism. The author uses short, sharp sentences to give a sense of a hurried and rushed opening to the book. The story is written by Alan Gibbons and is in a multi-narrative form which means that different characters can convey their different emotions about the same parts of the story. This is an unusual technique and it is very difficult to write in this way because you have to understand the characters yourself and also understand their emotions in order to express their feelings through yourself as the author. Alan Gibbons has done this very successfully because his technique gives you an insight into their previous lives, however, meeting Chris Kane, Cathy is not `allowed' a past because Chris thinks he is her past, present and future but she still refers back to her youth when he's not around. Cathy is not the main character in this story but she does give us some information about the way Chris behaved before the beginning of the book. You might be thinking that Chris Kane is the main character in the book, he does have a large part in the book but Cathy's son, Danny, is the main character. He is living with his mother and her ex-boyfriend who still loves her and will not let her go. In this novel Cathy is escaping from her deluded, `abusive' and extremely `possessive' ex-partner with Danny and they are venturing out of London to stay with Cathy's parents.

The characters in this novel have very different personalities because Danny is a traumatised, `insecure' and an `abused' teenager; Cathy is low in self-esteem, damaged but independent and Chris is a `psychotic', antisocial `animal'.

The tension builds and builds until it is finally released as a massive shock to all the readers so you will just have to find out what happens for yourselves!

For ages 12+

Rating 8.5/10
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on 29 May 2013
From the first page you are gripped, straight away you are hooked into this fast moving story - couldn't put it down.
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on 28 March 2011
The Edge by Alan Gibbons.

A gripping and exciting read this book will have you glued to your seat and wanting more at the end. After having to cope with a violent boyfriend for three years young mum Cathy and her son Danny come up with a risky but possible plan to get away from `The Animal'. A blood-pumping race through the streets of modern day London leads Cathy and Danny to the train where they get away to start their new life living on The Edge in the North. Their new home is with Cathy's parents where her racist father refuses to accept her black son Danny. Cathy spent weeks meticulously planning their escape and removing any chance of The Animal finding them but will a slip of newspaper under the carpet in London be their downfall.

Gibbons has created a moral but fast-paced book which looks at many modern day issues such as domestic violence and racism. The plot is thick with hidden truths and the amazing storyline will make you wonder how such a good book is not better known in this ever increasing market.

I would recommend this book for anybody aged about 10+ as there are some scenes of harsh violence and it can be a bit confusing at times. Overall however a brilliant plot with many moral points of interest but it can be a touch confusing at times - 9/10.
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on 22 March 2014
Only bought this book because my 13 year old daughter was reading it at school and the author was coming in for a talk and book signing. So glad I did, so far she's read it twice, it's also been read by her Dad and myself soon to be passed on to her Nan. This book can be read by all ages from (12 +)
So easy to read, story kept you wondering what was going to happen next. Was the first book that my daughter really felt for the characters and questioned the racist language - Alan Gibbons is a good writer. We are looking into his other books.
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on 1 January 2018
Well written by a good author. However, sometimes the story gets a bit dull and the book is quite sinister at the start. Teaches you about relevant issues like racism. For ages 12 and up and only buy if under £5.
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on 16 March 2014
I bought this for my children's literature module at uni. Although some of the themes in the book are difficult the author handles them very well. I like the way that the book is laid out from each characters perspective and the way that their ideas are formed and changed throughout. Really good book with a real insight into some harder issues.
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on 18 September 2016
Early teens and up could get a lot from this. Standing up for others and not putting up with prejudice is a theme.
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on 5 October 2017
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