Monday, 20 February 2012

Book Review - This is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees

This is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 2nd February 2012
Genre: Young Adult

Summary:
Everyone says that Caro is bad news, but Jamie can’t help himself. He thinks of her night and day and can’t believe that she wants to be his girlfriend. Gorgeous, impulsive and unconventional, she is totally different to all the other girls he knows. His sister, Martha, hates her. Jamie doesn’t know why, but there’s no way he’s going to take any notice of her warnings to stay away from Caro.As Jamie falls deeper and deeper under her spell, he realises there is much more to Caro than he first thought. She disappears for days on end, she has small scars on her wrists, she talks about revolutions and taking action, and then there are the rumours he hears about the other men in her life.Always in the background is Rob, Jamie’s older brother, back from Afghanistan and traumatised after having his leg smashed to bits there. Jamie wants to help him, but Rob seems to be living in a world of his own and is increasingly difficult to reach. With Caro, the summer should have been perfect . . . but that isn’t how things work out in real life and Jamie is going to find out the hard way.
 I struggled with this book a little bit due to the subject matter and so I struggled to write a review that was worthy of this book. It's not that I try to bury my head in the sand about all this or I have no interest, I just find it hard to digest some of the extreme motives of the characters, which are how people are when they're involved in these situations. With that being said, it's for these exact reasons that I think Celia Rees did a fantastic job on this novel.

We follow three characters; brothers, Jamie and Rob, and Caro. The story largely stays with Jamie with a small amount from the other two to fill in the blanks of what Jamie doesn't know. I liked Jamie, he seemed to have his head screwed on somewhat. His soft spot for Caro drove me up the wall though because I reeeeally didn't like Caro. I can never relate to that kind of character- not even a teeny tiny bit. They make me nervous just reading about them- flighty, selfish and prone to trouble. But Celia did an excellent job of rounding her out to make me dislike Caro so much. Then there's Jamie- I feel he was one of those people where genetics definitely took over from nurture. Sometimes people were just born to be cruel.

 Even though the plot wasn't something I would normally read, maybe because I don't understand it (even though my dad had been in the army), I kept reading without question because Celia has this wonderful ability to write about things- habits, events going on around them, people's reactions- with such ease that you could be stood with the characters as things are happening. The images are vivid with just a few words. It's incredibly natural and I love writing styles like that.

 I highly recommend this book to everyone, even if it's not your usual taste. It's thought-provoking and intense, and it should be on one of those lists of books to read before you die.

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