The first book I am going to be reviewing for you guys is Troublemakers by Catherine Barter. I hadn't heard about this book before, however when I spoke to the wonderful people at Andersen Press, who suggested that Troublemakers would be the perfect book to be included in a brand new feature I am curating at the moment.
Troublemakers is a wonderful new YA debut following Alena, who has never met her mother, yet she has a hold on her that Alena just does not understand. She lives with her half brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick, as she always has done, yet recently, things have been more tense than usual. The 'East-End Bomber' is loose around London, and it's something Nick and Danny can't shelter Alena from any longer. Coupled with this is Alena's urge to find out more about herself, and where she comes from. Starting with Alena's mother. But there are secrets locked in the past, and how to discover them is anything but simple.
Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...
Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who died when she was a baby. She has grown up with her older half-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick in the east end of London. Now the area is threatened by a bomber who has been leaving explosive devices in supermarkets. It is only a matter of time before a bomb goes off.
Against this increasingly fearful backdrop, Alena seeks to discover more about her past, while Danny takes a job working for a controversial politician. As her family life implodes, and the threat to Londoners mounts, Alena starts getting into trouble. Then she does something truly rebellious.
A searing, heartbreaking coming-of-age tale for fans of Lisa Williamson, Jenny Downham and Sarah Crossan.
I absolutely loved this book. It is definitely unlike any YA I have read before - Troublemakers has such a unique storyline and a distinctive, relatable voice. I loved the character of Alena and I thought she was so well written and a very realistic teenager character. She is intelligent and thoughtful and determined; YA should have more female characters like Alena. This is not only an incredibly interesting but also a very different and diverse book. I have never read a book with a sister/brother sort of parent relationship, and although this is shocking, I don't think I've read a book featuring a gay couple as some of the principle characters. All of the characters were so well-rounded, interesting, but also intensely realistic. They're the kind of characters who you could imagine living just down your road.
The writing style and the dialogue were probably my favourite parts of the book. Barter writes in such a fresh, contemporary, uncomplicated way. The dialogue really helped me imagine the characters and feel more connected to them.
Troublemakers is a distinctly modern book that tackles many of the social and political issues that concern us today. I love it how a YA book isn't afraid to tackle and explore these issues from a teenager's perspective. Also the feminist history was something I really enjoyed reading about, and it will definitely inspire readers who have not come across the Greenham Common women to go off and research and find out more about them.
Overall I loved this book, I enjoyed the mysterious element of Alena trying to find out about her family, I loved the characters and the fact that the book was so interesting and diverse, and the writing was effortless and invigorating. For a debut novel this is an absolute star, and I can't wait to read more from Catherine Barter.
This is definitely a book to get your hands on this summer!
Buy Troublemakers here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Troublemakers-Catherine-Barter/dp/1783445246/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496932018&sr=8-1&keywords=troublemakers+catherine+barter
Check out Catherine Barter here: https://twitter.com/okayjane?lang=en
Until next time :)