Hate by Alan Gibbons
|Hate by Alan Gibbons|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Powerful and thought-provoking novel about the consequences of a young girl's murder.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: April 2014|
|External links: [www.alangibbons.com Author's website]|
Six months ago, Rosie, Eve's beloved older sister, died after an unprovoked hate crime. One of the witnesses, who didn't intervene, was Anthony. Now he's moved school and ended up meeting Eve. Can she ever forgive him for his cowardice? Can he even forgive himself?
Told in dual narrative between Eve and Anthony, mainly in the period following them first meeting but with a few flashbacks to Rosie's death and the time just prior to it, this is a hard-hitting story. It only becomes more so when you know it's based on the real-life tragic murder of Sophie Lancaster, and Gibbons doesn't pull any punches. In particular, the scene of Rosie's murder itself is hugely distressing to read, but incredibly powerful. Both narrators feel very real - Anthony's guilt and frustration at his own lack of action shines through strongly, as does Eve's grief and fury. There's also a strong supporting cast with both of their mothers especially well-drawn, as are Eve's friend Jess and her brother Oli, who is himself dealing with prejudice.
As ever with Alan Gibbons it's a compelling read with a fast-moving plot and a pair of strong voices for the two leads. As for that ending - wow! On first reading it, I admit, I thought it was predictable, but I think it's probably fairer to describe it as inevitable. There's only one climax that this story could come to while remaining true to its characters and their journeys over the course of the novel. Gibbons handles it perfectly. In addition, there are reader's notes which summarise the novel in a few pages - an interesting idea which means that parents and teachers who don't have the time to read the book can see exactly what happens and therefore be in a good position to discuss it with their children. (I'd definitely suggest that they made the time to read themselves, if possible, but I know that's not always easy!) There are also some questions to be used either in a book group, to discuss with friends or parents, or for readers to simply think about themselves.
Very, very good. Highly recommended.
I think anyone who finds this powerful and moving will have a similar reaction to the stunning Far From You by Tess Sharpe.
You can read more book reviews or buy Hate by Alan Gibbons at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Hate by Alan Gibbons at Amazon.com.
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