A Bold Yet Bittersweet Verse: A Review of Crossan & Conaghan’s ‘We Come Apart’

 

When We Come Apart was released in March, there was a lot of buzz about it online. It was constantly coming up on my twitter feed and was dominating discussions of Young Adult fiction online. Needless to say I was curious.

So when I received a copy of the book in a surprise bundle of books from Bloomsbury Australia, I couldn’t resist reading it as soon as possible. And believe me when I say, I was not disappointed.

We Come Apart makes something new out of Young Adult fiction. Authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan made the bold move of writing the whole book in verse, a form usually reserved for poetry or plays. In choosing to write a book for teenagers and young adults in this form, Conaghan and Crossan have opened up an opportunity for these young audiences to read something in verse without being hindered by the presumption that it is going to be beyond their reach or even ‘boring’ as many young people view Shakespeare or most poetry to be. Instead, We Come Apart brings a relatable story for young people to new life, by challenging the ways we tell our stories.

The book itself is a relatively easy and fast read, not only because of the sparse and carefully chosen language, but also because of the story itself. Jess and Nicu are the kind of people we all know – the girl who pretends she doesn’t care to hide how much she does care, and the immigrant boy who wants more than what his old life could offer him. Personally, I found Nicu to be the most interesting character to read through. His chapters were often the ones with the most beautiful language choices, even hidden in the markings of his struggles with English as his second language. It is Nicu who gives us the book’s title, and the meaning behind it. It is Nicu who breaks our hearts. And it is Nicu who will probably stay with me long after Jess.

In saying that though, Jess’ storyline is not without incredible writing. There is a lot hidden in her narrative, and I wish I could know what she does after the last page. We leave her with a whole uncertain future ahead of her and when I finished the last page, I wanted to know what happens to her just as much as I wanted to know what happened to Nicu. For me, it reminded me a lot of the last pages of John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars – it conjured the same feeling of wanting to know, yet feeling like knowing what happens next would ruin what just happened on the page. I was incredibly emotionally invested in this story, and for me, that is the mark of a great book.

This is a book I would recommend to all teens, especially those who have previously struggled with poetry, plays or any other verse. We Come Apart is striking and beautifully composed, and I wish more authors were willing to be bold in their choices while writing YA Fiction. I applaud Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan for being bold and making something incredible out of it.

 

9781408878866

 

We Come Apart (Bloomsbury, $17.99) is now available in all good book stores. As always, INWORDSANDINK encourages its readers to buy from, and support their local independent book stores.

Thank you once again to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a copy of Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan’s We Come Apart for review. Whilst I was sent the book for reviewing purposes, I was not in any way paid or financially obligated to write this review.

 

 

© Hayley New 2017

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