Authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan have joined forces to tell the story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places.
Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess’s home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?
For fans of Una LaMarche’s Like No Other, this illuminating story told in dual points of view through vibrant verse will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.
Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of We Come Apart in exchange for an honest review.
The first thing I noticed when I opened this book is that it’s written in free verse, which is something that I’ve never experienced before. I thought that I would find it extremely annoying and that it would confuse me, but surprisingly it didn’t and I actually loved the little touch that it added to the story. It read more as a poem than a prose and I would love to read more books that are written like this.
Jess is a troubled teen who lives in an abusive house hold that she nor her mother can leave. This was really hard for me at times, and I could always feel my heart rate increase whenever Jess’ stepdad’s name appeared on the page. But there is so much more to Jess than this; she is witty, mean and doesn’t care about a lot of things, but she has a big heart and she does care about two people; her mum and Nicu. Jess’ character development throughout the book was incredible and definitely a massive aspect to the story line especially as we neared the end. She’s broken but she isn’t unfixable.
Nicu on the other hand is a few weeks away from a marriage that his parents arranged for him, and although physical abuse isn’t involved, Nicu doesn’t feel safe in his own home, or anywhere as a matter of fact. His English skills aren’t strong (and this is obvious in the narrative of his chapters) and he is bullied at school, in the streets and everywhere he goes. But when he meets Jess, he finally finds someone that he can confide in, and she can confide in him too.
Jess needs to escape her abusive stepdad, and Nicu needs to escape his arranged marriage.
As I mentioned before, the story is told in free verse and each chapter switches between the perspective of Jess and Nicu. This is confusing at first since we aren’t told who is talking and who the characters actually are, but it becomes very clear after we learn more about the characters. Nicu’s chapters are interesting because English isn’t his first language and he tells his POV as he would speak. I actually found this a really good touch to the story (as confusing as it was at times) because we get that extra depth of Nicu’s character.
I don’t want to go too much into the story line because I think it’s best to go into it blindsided like I did, but I really loved it. It was simple and quick but it made me think about a lot of issues and topics that aren’t often discussed in YA books. It was incredibly raw with the domestic abuse, bullying, racism, and how school, home and social lives all intertwine, and this only added to the emotion that is already there in We Come Apart.
And that ending! I don’t want to talk about it because I just finished the book about an hour ago and it’s still making me feel all kinds of emotions. If I was a big cryer, I probably would’ve bawled my eyes out!
Although this isn’t the best book that I’ve ever read (I gate it 4 stars) I highly recommend that everyone picks this book up. It opened my mind up and made me see how so many teenagers in the world have to live their day to day lives.
It's an emotionally raw and gut-wrenching story about two teenagers who need to escape their lives.