Brian Conaghan’s latest novel, The Bombs That Brought Us Together, has recently won the 2016 Costa Book Award. This brilliant piece of work has two outstanding protagonists that bring laughter and sadness to a story of oppression, friendship, and ultimately, hope.
Charlie has always lived in Little Town where Democracy is now dead. The citizens are now under a Regime that has enforced rules and regulations they must conform to, or pay the price.
Little Town borders with Old Country whose Government is attempting a take-over to restore order from chaos by using methods similar to war, regardless of the carnage it leaves behind.
Charlie’s life shifts drastically when he meets and befriends Pav and his parents, refugees from over the border attempting to escape persecution. But there is no escape.
Will the boys’ friendship survive the intimidation, threats, and violence that come their way? Then there is the life and death choice Charlie has to make to protect the people he loves.
What a fantastic read! The ruthless intent behind masked as an offer of help sent chills down my spine. We view how double-sided offers of kindness can be when motivated by self-serving purposes. There is also a strong sense of the power adults wield over children, and how they manipulate them for their own cause and gain. Then there is what is left unsaid but is so obvious to the reader that makes it a suspenseful page-turner.
Beautifully constructed and presented, with Conaghan’s unique style of writing and use of language and voice, the story is worth the prize, plus some.
His previous book, When Mr Dog Bites, was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. He has another book coming out in March.
Title: The Bombs That Brought Us Together
Author: Brian Conaghan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s, $27.99
Publication Date: May 2016
For ages: 12 +
Type: Middle Fiction