The Bombs That Brought Us Together

304p. ebook available. Bloomsbury. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781619638389.
Gr 7 Up—Told from the perspective of 14-year-old Charlie, this book brings light to communities where teens are struggling under a repressive government or regime pressured by a larger neighboring nation (think current events in Ukraine or the Middle East). Set in a fictional modern world, this story features a teenager who befriends a refugee who moved from Old Country, the neighboring nation that bombs Little Town. Their friendship grows and is tested, most notably by school bullies and the corrupt gang leader Big Man. Charlie struggles with the lure of a gang leader who offers what he needs during a time of crisis, the social pressures of cultural prejudice, and even desire for the pretty girl at school. The slow-moving plot eventually crescendoes into an unexpected climax—readers will fly through the last portion of the book in one sitting.
VERDICT Recommended for classroom discussion and for those interested in realistic fiction about a world in turmoil.

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