Saturday, May 20, 2017

Bang by Barry Lyga

When Sebastian was four years old he picked up his father's gun and pulled the trigger - killing his infant sister Lola in the process.  It was a single moment that changed the course of his family's life, and ten years later he can still see the pity and disgust on people's faces because of what happened.  His life has found a rhythm over the years, a rhythm that flows around his friend Evan during the day at school, and the comfortable distance with his mother at home - living two separate lives in the same house.  It has gone of for years, and could go on for many more years if not for the little voice in his head whispering that it is almost time.  A gun changed the path of his life, and the little voice is whispering and preparing him for when a gun ends it.

With Evan away for yet another summer the voice is getting louder - until a chance meeting that will change the course of Sebastian's entire summer.  Aneesa is new to the neighbourhood, someone who doesn't know his past and what happened, someone he can relax around without worrying about those looks.  Her family is a breath of normality, a family life that he never quite had because of the gun and the death, and his own family falling apart.  Aneesa doesn't expect anything of him, Sebastian can be himself, and it is a liberating thing.  Best of all, being with Aneesa quiets the voice in his head, makes him think that their can be a future for him after all.

Bang is an amazing book, not just because it tackles two very emotive topics with style and grace (suicide and the Muslim community), but also because Barry Lyga has once again created a book that is perfectly balanced with a beginning that sucks you in, a middle that keeps you hooked, and an ending that leaves you saying "wow".  Right up until the end I didn't know what was going to happen with Sebastian, whether he would commit suicide or not, and by the last page I realised I didn't feel let down either way - if he lived it wasn't 'happily ever after' and if he died then it wasn't a 'predictable ending' either.  Lyga has taken a young man and allowed you to see inside his head and his heart as he goes through the motions of living a life he no longer wants to live, and you get to experience some of the pain and anguish along with him.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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