Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Malorie Blackman's Nought's and Crosses series is one of my favourite series of all time, so anytime she writes anything new for older teens, I have to have it! Her writing is just so readable, you end up sucked into the story and before you know it a lot of time has passed, and you haven't even noticed. The characters are so believable as well- they feel like you really know them. This is why I love this author. Boys Don't Cry is definitely the same way. Without being aware of masses of description, you seamlessly find yourself aware of a huge backstory, and a really gripping vision of where the scene is set, and who is who in the story.
The narrative is divided up between two brothers- Dante and Adam. This lets us see directly what each character is thinking/feeling as events unfold. Dante is desperate to get into university, leave home and really try to make something of his life. On A-Level exam results day he wishes for something to distract him until the postman gets there with the envelope. Thats when ex-girlfriend Melanie rings the doorbell, and surprises him with a baby- his baby. When Melanie leaves claiming that she can't cope, Dante is left to deal with the shockwaves that will impact his dreams, his family, his social life, and his future. I loved seeing the growth and maturity of Dante, and his gradual bond with baby Emma, and seeing how his struggles with fatherhood made him much closer and more appreciative of his own father. The family described in this book is very real- both loving and complicated, and leaves you caring what will happen to them next. It was also interesting to see the viewpoint of a young single father, rather than a single mother, and the stigma that is attached. The attitude is that it is usually the fathers that walk out, and it was intriguing to see the situation flipped.
There are a few loose ends still unanswered by the end of the book that make me wonder if there may be a sequel in the works. But it does still finish on a perfect high, and you realise that you have just been given a brief window into another family's life, another story- just enough to draw you in and make you wonder, and then you the reader can make your own assumptions about what may happen to them next. Despite being a large hardback book this was quite a fast read and didn't take me too long to read it.
Overall, I loved this book, and think it's a must-read for all teenagers. Some heavyweight social issues are brought up that really make you think, and you constantly find yourself wondering how you would react in that same situation. This is a tender and heart-warming story, that stays in your mind long after you finish reading it.
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