The Distant Sound of Violence
by Jason Greensides5 out of 5
Do we ever escape the decisions we make when we’re fifteen?
Nathan Dawes, the loser from school, an outsider, street philosopher and member of The Grove Runners gang, needs Ryan’s help to get Stephanie to fall for him. When Ryan’s lawnmower is stolen, Nathan sees this as his chance to enlist Ryan in his plan.
Although Ryan knows becoming friends with Nathan could lead to trouble, he reluctantly agrees to help.
Stephanie wants nothing to do with either of them. Besides, she’s more interested in the one guy in the world she really shouldn’t be.
As Nathan continues his pursuit of Stephanie, and Ryan gets mixed up with The Grove Runners, soon events overtake them all, haunting their lives for years to come.
Part coming of age, part mystery story, The Distant Sound of Violence is a heartbreaking tale of bad decisions and love gone wrong. It’s about choices that lead to violence, loss and tragedy.
Growing up in London in the 90's, Ryan has things pretty well, until oddball Nathan Dawes decides he wants him as a mate. Gang culture is around every corner and you have to fight your way out.
Yes, this book a is a little bit good. I can see why everyone is raving about it.
It covers some very heavy topics that inevitably go with gang culture, the constant circle of violence, drugs and revenge. It also looks into the backgrounds of the broken individuals, how they get a high, or even a little escape from the abuse they will have to carry for the rest of their lives.
But this book does not get weighed down in it. It does not go out of its way to glorify these topics, nor does it make villains of them all. It is simply told, mainly from the viewpoints of Ryan and Nathan - you will be hooked.
Ryan and Nathan are fantastic characters (especially oddball Nathan). I think the opening page says it all, as they chat about a stolen lawnmower - as all good friendships start!
Nathan in particular has such an endearing feel about him, you can't help but root for him to get the girl and have every success. I also loved his relationship with Aidy, being the very protective big brother for the random lad.
The first half of the book feels more like a coming of age story, with the characters in a difficult background, and first loves and best friends.
This smoothly builds to be the perfect platform for a mysterious disappearance, which is absolutely heart-wrenching. It was captivating to see how everyone went on from that point, who got on with their lives, and who didn't.
The way it concluded was perfect. It wasn't all about a happy ending, it was simply the beginning of the next part of their lives. I also loved how Greensides makes the point that sometimes, simply having an answer is enough.
Go buy it. Now.