Bloomsbury

February 2017

$17.99 AUD

330p pb

ISBN: 978-1408878866

We Come Apart

Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

from the Bloomsbury...

Jess would never have looked twice at Nicu if her friends hadn't left her in the lurch. Nicu is all big eyes and ill-fitting clothes, eager as a puppy, even when they're picking up litter in the park for community service. He's so not her type. Appearances matter to Jess. She's got a lot to hide.

Nicu thinks Jess is beautiful. His dad brought Nicu and his mum here for a better life, but now all they talk about is going back home to find Nicu a wife. The last thing Nicu wants is to get married. He wants to get educated, do better, stay here in England. But his dad's fists are the most powerful force in Nicu's life, and in the end, he'll have to do what his dad wants.

As Nicu and Jess get closer, their secrets come to the surface like bruises. The only safe place they have is with each other. But they can't be together, forever, and stay safe – can they?

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We Come Apart tells the story of two protagonists: Jess a girl from an abusive home and Nicu a Romanian immigrant. Told alternatively in verse this story is raw and packs an emotional punch. Jess is living with her mum and her very abusive boyfriend who makes Jess film the abuse inflicted on her mum. Her brother has left to start a new life so Jess is by herself. Nicu has just moved to London with his parents as they seek to earn enough money to get him married to a girl in Romania. He is learning English and his parts are written in broken English. After each are caught for theft they meet in a community service program. Overtime they become friends and a mild romance blossoms…but all this is during a painfully difficult time for them both.

This is not your typical romance story with a happy ending, indeed it is quite the opposite. The harsh realities of some people’s lives is exposed and the raw fact that life is not always easy is at the heart of this book. The characters are well developed and despite their harsh environment they find some small glimpses of happiness with each other. I found this book very easy to read and follow and had me emotionally invested in the two of them. A most satisfying read although heartbreaking.

Stephen, Canberra

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