This book is on the short list for the Hounslow Teen Read Award 2015. I have never read a book by Alan Gibbons before, they all look a bit gloomy. I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and all that but a book with a picture of a bag of blood called Piggies just doesn’t appeal…. This one however, is different. In the blurb it tells us that the book is based on the tragic murder of a girl called Sophie Lancaster and that the main character, Eve has lost her sister Rosie to a violent attack.
The book deals with the aftermath of the attack and how each person affected copes with their grief. This isn’t just the family but a boy called Anthony Broad, who was a witness to the attack. By a cruel twist of fate, Anthony is transferred into Eve’s school to finish off year 11. Eve recognises the name and it goes on from there. Anthony is not only dealing with the guilt of not trying to stop the attack, but his mother’s abusive ex boyfriend who they have just escaped from. I’m not sure how much sympathy the author wants us to feel for Anthony, but I guess he is trying to ask ‘what would you do if it was you?’
The subplot to the book is about Eve’s best friend Jess and her brother Oli. Oli has just told his parents that he is gay, and then comes out to the whole school in a debating competition about political correctness. This debate is kind of the premise for the whole book; should we be protecting the bigots or do they have the right to express what they think, whatever hurt and upset it causes to the others? His outspoken behaviour towards another boy in Eve’s class could also put him in danger and history may be about to repeat itself…..
We have all these pockets of society today who want to be different, to escape the norm and these leads to people thinking they can bully them. So what if Rosie wants to dress in black clothes and have red and black dreads, she’s still a human being under all that make up. What gives them the right to kill her just because they don’t like her dress? Does Eve have it in her to forgive Anthony for not taking more action, you’ll have to read the book. But, don’t let other people dictate how you live your life, dare to be different, after all wouldn’t life be boring if we all looked the same?