We Are Young : Book Review

Hey everyone and welcome back to the blog! Today starts my reviewing journey – something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. After some advice from Lucy of The Book Belle, I’m plunging in.

So without further ado, let’s begin, and fair warning, there may be spoilers.

we are young

We Are Young by Cat Clarke was published May 2018, by Quercus Children’s Books. This is a stand-alone YA contemporary novel, that tackles the themes of love between family and friends, a journey of sexuality, and understanding mental health.

The night that Evan’s mother marries local radio DJ Breakfast Tim should have been a happy occasion. Instead, it is marred by a horrifying car accident, in which Evan’s new step-brother Lewis is the sole survivor. As news of the accident circulates the seaside town, many assume that it was drug fuelled, and unconscious Lewis takes the brunt of the anger and speculation. Evan isn’t convinced though, and teams up with her father, a journalist and recovering alcoholic. Evan isn’t prepared for her life to be turned upside down though, as she searches for the truth.

broken record

This was a novel that I read in one sitting, because I simply could not put my Kindle down. It was a stellar read, and I was so pleased that I had preordered this from Amazon. I was completely sucked into Evan’s world – I grew up in a similar town, so I could see similarities. Cat Clarke has such a relaxed writing style, even when the suspense starts to build, and I felt like I had known Evan for years. Evan as a character is feisty – although she initially harbours resentment for her birth father, she grows to love and respect him, and be thankful for the love of music he installed within her – a reoccurring theme throughout the novel. She is a protective older sister, and has a good relationship with her mother, although it does become strained through stress and how Breakfast Tim behaves – he definitely gives off a vibe that he’s trying too hard and has secrets he wants to remain hidden… Evan loves music and plays in a band with her ex-boyfriend and her ex-girlfriend. The bisexual representation was well written, and there were echoes of my teenage self there. Lewis himself is a huge driving point in the story – how he came to be in the car, how he knew the other teenagers who tragically passed away, and how he copes with mental health. The realisation is something that more and more people are starting to talk about – that teenagers aren’t just sad, that depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders – everything that constitutes as mental health – exists in a teenagers world, and that support should be more readily available. The final chapter closes the novel nicely – it rounds up the pain and anguish the characters have inflicted on your heart, and leaves you with hope that things can change, and be the person you have always wanted to be. It was beautifully written, hard-hitting, and something that everyone should read, especially if you are interested in mental health or supporting those who suffer. Cat Clarke also has a range of helplines and charities at the end of the novel that readers can contact if they are affected by any of the themes, which is a wonderful addition. It shows as well how music has the power to save and change the world – something a lot of people can agree with. I loved this book (in case you couldn’t tell)!

mental health

Cat Clarke is the author of several popular novels, including Entangled (January 2011), Torn (December 2011), Undone (December 2012) , A Kiss in the Dark (March 2014), The Lost and Found (July 2015), and Girlhood (May 2017). I cant wait to see what she writes next!

You can purchase We Are Young from most bookstores, including online, in both Kindle or paperback editions.

Cat Clarke collage.jpg

In the spirit of Evan’s love of music, here are three of my current favourite tracks, in no particular order:

Now or Never by Blair St. Clair

The Heart From Your Hate by Trivium

Neva Lavd Yah! by Dusty Ray Bottoms

So that completes my review of We Are Young. I hope that you enjoyed this review, and I’m sure I’ll be back with a new one soon!

– ReadWriteZoe.

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