Author: Jenny Downham
Publisher: David Fickling Books
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads): If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's been accused of a terrible crime and you're the main witness, then you banish all doubt and defend him. Isn't that what families do? When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her at a party, his world of work and girls begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the crime, but says he didn't do it, her world of revision, exams and fitting in at a new school begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide. Brave and unflinching, this is a novel of extraordinary skillfulness and almost unbearable tension. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love - for one's family and for another.
My Summary: Ellie and Mikey are two people who shouldn't be friends. Living on opposite ends of the socio-economic ladder, Ellie's high up family would never be caught dead with someone from Mikey's part of town. It's unlikely that the two would ever meet under normal circumstances...
But then Ellie's brother is accused of raping Mikey's sister, and Ellie and Mikey's lives are thrown into turmoil. While both sides are still awaiting a trial, Ellie's brother Tom is out on bail while he awaits his hearing - because of this, Mikey's sister Karyn refuses to leave their tiny apartment. And both sides are certain that they're the victims in the situation.
So Mikey hatches a plan: get little Ms. Perfect to fall for him and convince her to spill her guts about her brother, incriminating him instead of testifying that he's innocent - after all, Ellie is the only other witness to what happened on the night Karyn was over...
But then Mickey starts to forget the plan - starts to forget that he's supposed to make her fall in love with him, instead of the other way around...
My Thoughts: Let me just start off by saying that I absolutely adore books written by YA authors in the UK - I love the language and the glimpse into what life is like across the ocean for teens like myself.
Anyway, I chose this book because I was hearing wonderful things about it from my friends who enjoy contemporary literature, and I was in the mood for a book that really hit home. So I picked it up and starting reading.
After about 50 pages, I started to realize just how awesome the writing was: Jenny Downham's writing is probably the most realistic and age-appropriate I've ever read. She manages to pull you into the novel and allows the characters to subtely describe the setting for you, so you never feel overwhelmed by information. I found myself picturing Ellie's Gran's cottage, Mikey's apartment, and Dex's pub with such clarity that I couldn't believe they were fictional places.
My favourite part of the book was probably the characters, because they were so realistic that you begin to feel like you know them. My heart ached for Ellie and everything she was going through, and there were times when you just wanted to slap her father for mistreating her the way he does.
Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this book to older, more mature YA reader (I'd say over 16 would be alright). There are a lot of mentions of tobacco and other mature themes, but it is definitely worth it and really helps you learn to take a walk in other people's shoes.