This week I’m reading: The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan

This week I’ve been reading The Bombs That Brought Us Together, a YA fiction book by Scottish author Brian Conaghan.

Published in 2016, it tells the story of fourteen year old Charlie, who has the misfortune of living in a war zone.

Here’s the blurb on the back:

Charlie has always lived in Little Town. It’s home: the Regime, the guns, the curfew, the poverty. He knows the rules. But then he meets Pavel. Scrawny but strong, with fierce blue eyes, Pavel is a refugee from Old Country – Little Town’s sworn enemy. Just about the worst choice of friend in the whole place. When the bombs come, the rules change. Charlie must choose a side.

Here’s the author talking about what inspired him to write the book.

Although now six years old, The Bombs That Brought Us Together feels very timely, with its themes of poverty, conflict, refugees and nationalism, which made me think of the war in Ukraine. We get a teenager’s perspective through the experiences of Charlie and his friend Pavel.

Mixed into the horror there are funny moments and teenage angst as well, which shows that life goes on despite the fear and destruction all around them. There’s plenty of jokes about bums, the “short and curlies”, swear words and teenage crushes, for example.

It’s easy to see why this won the Costa Children’s Book Award in 2016. Highly recommended!

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