09 September 2008

Blood Brothers

by Peter Corris

Hachette Livre (Lothian). Young Adult, Australian. Paperback rrp $17.95

Peter Corris, often referred to as ‘the godfather of Australian crime writing’ is internationally respected for his best-selling Cliff Hardy crime novels. Blood Brothers is his first book for young adults.

Blood Brothers is an entertaining and easy read. It’s a story of broken friendship and what to do next. Should Bart move on or go back and try to fix things with Jack? At 188 pages, it’s not a long book. The story moves quickly and the front cover artwork is striking. All these elements add up an excellent choice for young teenage boys (12 +) who are not avid readers and need to be prompted (or ‘arm twisted’!) to read the first few pages. By page three, they’ll want to continue on.

Bart Fletcher and Jack Chandra were best friends. Inseparable at school, around the neighbourhood and in the surf. But one day, on the football field, everything suddenly changed. Jack broke Bart’s leg on purpose. Bart is sure of it but has no idea why.

Jack’s life rapidly spirals out of control. He skips school and his behaviour turns violent and aggressive. He won’t even talk to Bart and when Bart persists, they end up throwing punches at each other. All Bart knows is Jack’s newfound anger has something to do with Bart’s father. A man Bart doesn’t even know. When he asks his mother, she eventually admits Aaron Bartholemew wasn’t interested in his unborn child and was in gaol when Bart was born.

The friendship with Jack is not the only part of Bart’s life undergoing change. He is spending more time with Kylie, his first girlfriend. She is pretty and smart, and teaches him about feelings and emotions. He’s starting to think a lot about sex. On top of all that, his mother has a new relationship too – and this time it looks serious.

Despite his other worries, Bart isn’t going to let go of Jack’s friendship easily. Kylie tells him ‘When friendships and relationships break up it creates waves. Lots of people get affected’. He decides to find his father, for himself and to sort out the problem with Jack. Then they can get back to surfing the real waves together.

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