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We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan - Review

Friday, March 17, 2017

Where did I get it? Netgalley, thank you so much to Bloomsbury Publishing!

What's it about? It's told in free verse, like Sarah Crossan's other book, One. I love this, because it leaves so much out and, like all poetry, leaves space clear for the reader to read between the lines and put parts of themselves in the gaps. 

Chapters are told from alternating points of view. Jess is a white teenager living in North London who lives with her mum and her mum's violent partner Terry. Terry makes her video the times when he beats up her mum. Jess gets caught shoplifting for the third time, and sentenced to carry out community service on Saturdays. 

Meanwhile, Nicu is a Romanian gypsy immigrant who is struggling to find his place in England. His parents have left behind most of his siblings and have come to England to make some money so that they can go back to Romania and find him a wife. He is on the same community service as Jess and then ends up at the same school, too. The two become friends, in a very lovely and cautious way. 

They're both quite damaged, bruised people, and I finished the book loving them both. I liked Nicu's broken English and Jess' armour against the world. I wanted this book to be so much longer but it was perfect just the way it was. 

What age range is it for? Fourteen and onwards, probably. 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No

Are any main characters people of colour? I'm going to say yes, because Nicu is racially abused and because he says that his skin is darkish. I don't know whether Roma gypsies are counted as people of colour, but they're definitely a minority ethnic group and that's definitely reflected in the book.

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No

Is there any sex stuff? No

Are drugs mentioned or used? I don't think so?

Is there any talk of death? Yes a little, and trigger warning for violence, obviously. 


Are there swear words? Yes and also quite a few slurs. (I want to point out that to call some travellers "gypsy" is a slur, and that only Roma gypsies like Nicu should be referred to as such. Otherwise, they're travellers and sometimes Irish travellers)

Would I recommend the book? Yes, absolutely. I loved it. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I knew I had to get to it soon because I loved One so much.

What other books is it like? It's a lot like One, for sure. 

How many stars? Nine out of ten. It's practically perfect. It's really beautiful. 

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