review by Maryom
This Is Not Forgiveness is the story of three intertwined lives
- there's Rob - invalided out of the army after a land mine explosion badly damaged his leg, now disillusioned and drifting, unable to pick up the pieces of his life,
- his younger brother Jamie - always picked on and even bullied by his older brother but still looking up to him,
- and Caro, the girl that attracts them both - trouble-filled, attention craving and searching for something to give meaning to her life. Jamie is falling deeper under her spell but love and a happy ending is not on her agenda. She's more interested in radical protests and political terrorism. Rob's discontent gives her an idea of the way to make the ultimate attention grabbing stunt.
This Is Not Forgiveness is a compelling, disturbing, brilliant read. I picked it up from the library one day - and had finished it by next morning!
It starts as a letter from Jamie to Rob, trying to work through his anger at his brother, then moves to personal accounts from Jamie, Rob and Caro. Telling the story from three different points of view gets the reader inside the heads of these emotionally scarred young people - all more vulnerable than they would let the world believe. I felt I could share their emotions - no matter how mixed up and confused - and sympathise with them.
It's one of those stories where I wanted to grab the characters and tell them to stop what they're doing because they're in out of their depth. From page one the reader is aware that something dreadful has happened but I wanted to step in and prevent it, the unravelling is so painful to watch.
It's a book that asks questions but doesn't preach. For those who want to investigate further, it raises interesting socio-political issues or you could just read it as a love story/race-against-time thriller.
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Genre - YA
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