Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman

This is the new novel from Malorie Blackman, author of the Noughts and Crosses series. N & C is my favourite YA series ever. It's beautiful, heartbreaking, and the most powerful book/series I've read. If you've not read them, I seriously recommend you do. I'm not sure how available they are outside the UK, but if you're struggling to find them, you'll get them easily via Book Depository, just as you will this one.

With as much as I loved N & C, I was very excited to read this new book from Malorie. Totally different, but it promised to be another powerful book. It delivered. Boy's Don't Cry is the story of a 17 year old boy, Dante, waiting for his A-level results to come in the post. He's planning on University and a career in journalism after that. But instead of the post, he's confronted with his ex. Who has a baby with her, his baby as it turns out. She asks him to watch her for a few minutes while she pops to the shops around the corner for some basics. Except, she doesn't come back, and Dante is left with this baby who is almost a year old to take care of.

It took all of a couple pages to hook me. Dante's voice, his panic, disbelief and the rest of the vast mixture of emotions, come across sharply as he's faced with this huge life changing fact. He is a dad. Dante lives at home with his dad and younger brother, Adam. His mum died several years before so it's just been the three of them for a long time, struggling to get by. The different relationships between Dante, Adam and their dad are complex and vividly realistic. Just as Dante's struggle to accept his daughter, and his relationship with her, is. The whole family dynamic is changed by the baby and although we don't get to see much of them before the baby as she's introduced in chapter one, it's still obvious that's the case.

Although the focus of the book is on Dante and what being a teen dad is like, the choices and decisions he faces, there is a serious subplot revolving around Adam as well. I won't go in to detail because I don't want to spoil anything, but lets just say that while he may get much less page time (there are some short chapters from his POV as well as Dante's), his story is just as powerful. More so at times actually I felt.

The whole book is just fantastic, extremely hard to put down. It's honest, stark, brutal, beautiful and yes, very powerful as well. I think it should be a must read for teens and adults of both genders. I don't know how many times I cried reading this book but it was several. Sad tears from me while reading is fairly common, happy tears are not. This book had both from me. I went from happy tears straight to sad ones at one point as well. Amazing, heartfelt book. As expected, one of my favourites of the year as well.

Rating: 10/10


Clover said...

See. And then I read reviews like this and the need to read it grows stronger. I already know Adam's story though, do think that's a spoiler then?

Cem said...

Well, sort of. Parts of it. It's more all the emotion involved in it. His own and the relationships between him and his dad and brother. It's just one of those books where I think lack of expectation (aside from greatness) is better. *shrugs*

Katie Edwards said...

This was a fantastic book, I thought, and it really made me think about my own attitudes. Very powerful.