I Predict a Riot by Catherine Bruton
|I Predict a Riot by Catherine Bruton|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Stunning, gritty contemporary with an outstanding central trio. Hugely recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: June 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
Aspiring film-maker Maggie lives on Coronation Road with her mum, a politician, but without her dad, who's left them. Tokes is another teen living without a father - new to the neighbourhood, he and his mother are trying not to be found by his dad. The pair meet and become friends, but fury is brewing in their town, and a young boy called Little Pea is about to unwittingly set things in motion that will lead to terrible events. Will Maggie and Tokes survive as the streets turn to violence?
It's clear from the start that this is a story without a happy ending - a prologue set a year after the main part of the book tells us that one of Maggie's friends is dead and another in witness protection. But while it's a sad story, it's not without hope, and even though I tend to prefer happier reads I was overwhelmed by the power here of Bruton's writing and the huge questions she asks - are people born bad? Can they change their circumstances or are they doomed, like Pip in Great Expectations, which is referenced here at several points, from the start?
It's also helped by very strong characterisation - while Maggie is a great narrator the two boys are, if anything, more vividly drawn. Tokes is a reluctant hero trying to do the right thing against the odds, while Pea is superb. He's in turns infuriating, sympathetic, pitiable and surprisingly likeable despite the constant poor judgments he makes throughout the book. The author also captures the mood of the country during the riots very well, and gives her minor characters - particularly a shop owner who suffers terribly - a quiet dignity.
Even better that Bruton's excellent debut We Can Be Heroes, this is a really superb book.
I think that fans of this one would love Keren David! The excellent Salvage by Keren David is about to be released in paperback, while her stunning debut When I Was Joe kicked off one of my favourite contemporary trilogies and is a must-read.
You can read more book reviews or buy I Predict a Riot by Catherine Bruton at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy I Predict a Riot by Catherine Bruton at Amazon.com.
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