09 Sep / The Bombs that Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan [in Shelf Awareness]
Some time, somewhere, Little Town and Old Country are separated by borders and bombs. If Little Town is said to be filthy, broke, and run by ragtag criminals, Old Country is conformist, rich, and militaristic. Almost 15, cautious Little Towner Charlie Law stays relatively safe by making his own laws, above and beyond adhering to those imposed by the warring Regimes and Governments. His appealingly spirited personality and occasional snarky outbursts, however, hint at the rebel within.
Despite closed borders, an Old Country refugee family arrives in Little Town. Their son Pavel Duda – frightened yet foolhardy – quickly becomes Charlie’s best friend. The boys ambitiously plan to turn a small backyard shed into a clubhouse, risking contact with the lawless “Big Man” who promises the needed furniture – and more. But at what cost?
As school resumes, Pavel’s awkwardness with the local “lingo” makes him an easy target among his less-than-welcoming classmates. Being Pavel’s guide and protector is tough enough, but Charlie also needs to avoid both the threatening Little Town Rascals and Old Country troops. While navigating the dangers of school halls and deserted streets, he’s desperately falling in first-love and trying to save his mother’s life.
The Bombs That Brought Us Together – Scottish-born, Dublin-domiciled Brian Conaghan’s timely follow-up to his Carnegie Medal-nominated When Mr. Dog Bites – is a nuanced examination of right and wrong, the unreliability of labels and the choices people are forced to make in uncertain times. He effectively showcases the indomitable power of humanity: even as bombs destroy, they can also bring out the best in those who survive and eventually thrive.
Discover: Two teens who should have been wartime enemies find that true friendship is the best path to survival.
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult