Monday, 31 October 2011
Monday Musings: Review of We Can Be Heroes by Catherine Bruton
12 year old Ben lost his father in 9/11 and has now been sent to stay with his grandparents due to his mother being in hospital suffering from mental problems. His cousin Jed - 14, the only child of an obnoxious racist and a mother who's banned from seeing him - is also staying there. And the pair meet the enchanting Priti, an 11 year old Muslim girl who's convinced her brother is a future suicide bomber and that her sister is likely to be the victim of an honour killing if she carries on seeing her white boyfriend...
This was one I've been looking forward to ever since I first read the premise and, if anything, it actually surpassed my expectations! Priti is a truly beguiling character, while narrator Ben is wonderfully sympathetic, and other characters like Jed and his hateful father Ian are just as memorably drawn. Bruton manages to deal with the serious issues of prejudice towards Muslims, bereavement and family using a light touch, but the humour of the first part of the book eventually gives way to some incredible action as the trio become ever more certain that their suspicions are right, and the racial tension in the city of Birmingham escalates further and further.
Despite the length - not a lightweight book by any means at 400 pages - I absolutely devoured this and it's probably one of my three favourite YA books of the year so far. Apologies for the brevity of the review, by the way, but this is definitely one where you should discover most of it for yourself!