Conaghan, Brian. The Bombs That Brought Us Together.
3Q * 4P * J * S
Conaghan, Brian. The Bombs That Brought Us Together. Bloomsbury, 2016. 368p. $17.99. 978-1-61963-838-9.
Fourteen-year-old Charlie Law lives in Little Town, which is governed by a vague totalitarian regime. In Charlie's area, the corrupt man "in charge" is the Big Man, who has a group of thugs and minions to enforce his wishes. Favors must always be repaid, even Charlie's inhaler request for his asthmatic mother and some chairs for his shed. Charlie's new neighbors, the Duda family, are refugees from the hated Old Country and its politics. Old Country invades Little Town by bombing and occupying it with their military. Little Town has lots of rules: no being out after dark, no stealing, no shouting, especially at the lawmakers, and more. Life under Old Country seems to be just as bad ... or is it? The lines between the two begin to blur for Charlie. What should he do when Big Man's price for Charlie's favors is assassination?
The reader is left with lots of questions. There is no explanation of where this dystopian novel takes place. Conaghan plunks the reader down and does not reveal why the world has come to this. We do get clues with names like Pavel Duda, whose house smelled like cabbage, who has almond-shaped eyes, and speaks a different language/lingo. This book deals with differences between people and how they react, the effects of bullying, right and wrong, and how we choose a path we may not be sure is right. --Jane Van Wiemokly.