We Come Apart

Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-68119-275-8
In a verse novel told through alternating points of view, Crossan (One) and Conaghan (The Bombs That Brought Us Together) introduce teenagers Jess and Nicu, who meet during mandated community service after shoplifting. Jess is standoffish, secretly struggling with her mother’s abuse at the hands of Jess’s stepfather. Nicu, a recent emigrant from Romania, has traveled to London with his parents to collect and sell scrap metal, saving to pay for his impending arranged marriage. Seeking connection in an unfamiliar and unfriendly landscape, Nicu is drawn to Jess, and as their tentative friendship deepens, they develop a bond built on a common heartache and hope for escape. Jess’s perspective is shared through uncomplicated declarative poems that don’t mince words or shy from her violent home life. In contrast, Nicu’s poems, while thoughtful, are stilted, intended to reflect his unfamiliarity with English, “the tough watermelon to crack,/ a strange language with many weird wordings.” Unfortunately, it’s a gamble that doesn’t pay off, effectively reducing his character to caricature and undermining the novel’s empathetic intentions. Ages 14–up. Author’s agent: (for Crossan) Julia Churchill, A.M. Heath; (for Conaghan) Ben Illis, Ben Illis Agency. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/24/2017
Release date: 06/13/2017
Genre: Children's
MP3 CD - 978-1-5436-2525-7
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-68119-816-3
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