Tuesday, March 28, 2017

ARC Review: Bang

About The Book:

  Title: Bang
  Author: Barry Lyga 
  Pub. Date: April 18th, 2017
  Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
  Pages: 304
  Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary 
  Rate: 4/5 stars 

Synopsis :

A chunk of old memory, adrift in a pool of blood.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. 

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.


"I never ask people about their families or their pasts. 
Because then they would ask me about mine."

It takes a true visionary to take such an important and sensitive topic and tackle it in such a polished way. That's exactly what Mr. Lyga does in his new novel. Bang follows 4-year-old Sebastian while he pointed a gun at his 4-month-old sister and shot her at point-blank range, killing her instantly. Ten years later, Sebastian is ready to end the suffering he caused by shooting himself with a handgun. When Sebastian meets a new neighbor who is around the same age as him that he is attracted to, he doesn't change his mind, but instead decides to put his suicide off for a little while longer. Until when? He doesn't know, but the voice in his head will let him know when it's time.

"- The voice says nothing, but its silence tells me everything."

My heart ached so profoundly for Sebastian. I felt pangs of guilt reading his thoughts. Carrying that burden since four years of age, Sebastian was tormented by himself, by his classmates, and maybe most importantly - the split of his parents. Sebastian is an extremely strong character. He might not be handling his pain the best way, but how does a 14-year-old handle that kind of suffering? As an almost School Psychologist, it seems like Sebastian definitely suffers from PTSD. It is clear during times when the shooting is brought up. While he is usually calm on the outside, just the mention sometimes makes him shutdown or verbally act out. He definitely does not like to talk about it. When his best friend goes to camp for the summer, Sebastian believes it is almost time to kill himself. However, when he meets Aneesa, his plans change. Whether it's just hanging out or making pizza - Sebastian suddenly has things he is looking forward to in his life. He finds himself telling Aneesa things he's never told anyone before. Being a Muslim girl in a predominantly white neighborhood, Aneesa is dealing with conflicts of her own right now, but she is emotionally there for Sebastian in all the ways that are important. Sebastian starts having feelings for Aneesa, but what kind of feelings are they? And does she feel the same way? Aneesa is a beautiful character inside and out, as is Sebastian. Mr. Lyga crafts their dynamic in such a great way, they are characters that will truly be remembered!

This is a strong book about family, grief, loss, and hope. With blunt and beautiful writing, Bang easily became one of my favorite novels of 2017. This is the first novel I have ever read by Mr. Lyga, and I can assure you that it won't be my last. If you like books about important topics, add this one to your TBR! Sebastian will be a character that stays with you long after you finish the last page, trust me.

Thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing
this book in exchange for my honest review. 

- Jocelyn

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