Well, I've finally gotten round to reading this. I've heard a lot of good things about it, but having finished this it just confirms to me that Malorie Blackman is a superb writer who is good at everything except plots.
The concept of a world with racism REVERSED - as in, black people being superior, white people being inferior - is really good. I really loved that and how this author handled that. Everything there was spot-on.
However, every single chapter was very, very painful and difficult to read. To the point that it actually wasn't enjoyable for me at all. To make matters worse, the characters actually tried to take actions which would make it even WORSE! I almost threw the book down severla times, I was just thinking why on earth would they act that way? Why??
Why did Selphy think it would be a good idea to invite Callum to her birthday party? Why did she think it would be a good idea, holy shit, to show her mum that Callum was under her bed and that they'd been sleeping together? Seriously?! She's a smart girl, how could she possibly be so stupid? I'm just glad she didn't do either of those two things!
To be honest, the entire relationship between Callum and Selphy was like something out of Romeo and Juliet. There's even a recurring scene where he climbs into her back garden! Frequently! They weren't exactly original characters, either.
Anyway, fortunately the book picked up after halfway with the bombings and the murder trial. However, the outcome was EXACTLY like out of To Kill A Mockingbird and even the character death is in exactly the same fashion. Seriously. I just started rolling my eyes at it.
There's another character death earlier on. The character says, "I'm just going outside for a walk", and at that point I said out loud "So she's going to kill herself or something?" Five minutes later I'm thinking....wow, I was only joking about that. Like it officially crossed the line into parody.
It was just so predictable in all these different plotlines. I expected both characters to kill themselves in a Romeo and Juliet setting, just like it ends. It isn't quite like that though, so I guess it isn't completely copied.
Throughout the book I was constantly hoping that these two characters would split up and stop making the reading experience worse. Everytime they kept trying to get closer to each other...even though it was such a bad idea. And the ending felt a bit abrupt and then the book just ends there, which is really misleading. Like it doesn't change anything?
I really liked Selphy in the beginning, but she does so many stupid decisions throughout the book that by the end I'm just wondering what on earth she was thinking. It's like "Oh, I know I'm forbidden to even see Callum or associate with him, but he climbed over the wall and got into my bedroom and we had sex and now we fell asleep and it's midday now and my mum is right outside but IT WOULD BE TOTALLY A GOOD IDEA TO SHOW CALLUM TO HER" like oh my god what the hell
I cannot see myself reading this book again. I can vaguely recommend it because of the setting and the writing itself is great, with a lot of parallels between racism in the real world. I can commend it for that, but everything else?
I didn't think there could be a next book. Whatever it is, I'm not going to read it. I think after getting through this (I skimmed the last few bits because the author decided to flesh out as much pain and angst as possible, even though there was absolutely no relief from this at any time), I might read Malorie Blackman's Boys Don't Cry. But any of her other novels, I don't expect too much from.