4 March 2012


Author: Celia Rees
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Bloomsbury
UK Release date: 2nd February 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review

Brothers Rob and Jamie are nothing alike; Jamie is young and niaive, whilst Rob is still suffering from the traumas of being injured in the war against Afghanistan. But they do have one thing in common. The charismatic, elusive Caro. Jamie falls head over heels for her, despite warnings from his sister. And for good reason - Caro goes days without calling him, has a secret past and a dangerous taste for radical politics. Both boys will find themselves under Caro's spell and making decisions that will change things forever.

Review: The story started at the end, making it very intriguing as I wanted to know what happened to get to the end point. Told from each of the three characters perspective, each voice was presented in a different font and style, which was such a simple way to distinguish each of the characters. Having said this, Rees has written the characters so that each has their own distinct style and format, such as Rob's web pages and Caro's diary. Although Jamie primarily tells the story, I liked knowing what Rob and Caro were thinking and how they felt they could justify their behaviour.

I instantly liked Jamie. He was sweet and innocent, and far too nice for Caro. Despite being a manipulative, scheming and selfish girl, it's hard to deny that Caro was alluring and magnetic. She's the kind of girl that other girls would envy and boys would all idolise.

I did feel sorry for Rob. Yes, he seemed predisposed to enjoy violence and that's probably why he went into the Army in the first place, but after being injured he was mentally unstable with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and didn't seem to have enough support to cope with normal, civilian life. I didn't think he would have taken the path he did without manipulation and steering, and it seems such a shame that he was used for someone else's agenda.

This story touches on some serious issues such as mental trauma and post traumatic stress disorder, as well as political ideologies and radicalism. It's also very relevant to today's current political climate, with students and teenagers protesting and rioting. It will make you think though, about people that join the army, what it's like to live constantly under such duress, and the morals behind bold political statements and radical actions.

Having seen a few average reviews for this book, I figure you either have to be in the right mood for this book or its a bit like Marmite - you either get it or you don't. I really enjoyed it and read it really quickly. I thought the characters were interesting and the plot was like a rolling stone, gathering momentum.

This is not forgiveness is a compelling and compulsive read, with a thought provoking ending.

Rating: 5*


♥Iffath said...

I haven't read much of Celia Rees, but I have enjoyed what I have read even though I don't think it's what I'd usually go for, and This Is Not Forgiveness sounds right up my street--really looking forward to reading it! Thanks for the great review, Hannah!

Raimy-rawr said...

Gat review. I agree that you have to be in the mood for this book but if you a, it's amazing!

Jamie Gibbs said...

Sweet, instantly likeable ... yup, sounds like a Jamie all right.

Thanks for the review; I can imagine with some of themes that it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it sounds like a well written story.