Skip to main content

Troublemakers by Catherine Barter

In three years I will be able to vote and I will still have less power than I did at the moment that I saw that email, which was such a tiny thing but look what happened.

Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who died when she was a baby. She has grown up with her older half-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick in the east end of London. Now the area is threatened by a bomber who has been leaving explosive devices in supermarkets. It is only a matter of time before a bomb goes off. 
Against this increasingly fearful backdrop, Alena seeks to discover more about her past, while Danny takes a job working for a controversial politician. As her family life implodes, and the threat to Londoners mounts, Alena starts getting into trouble. Then she does something truly rebellious.

Like nothing else I've read YA. I really enjoyed it and stayed up too late to finish it. 

I had high hopes for this book after hearing about it at Andersen's blogger event and I am so pleased to say it lived up to all expectations.

What I liked about this book is that it is really different from all the other contemporary YA I've read. It is set in London and the focus of the story is looking at politics and morality around said politics. It's such a poignant story considering our current political climate in a post brexit world where things feel like they are moving more to the extremes than ever before as people are losing hope in what seems to be an increasingly more broken system. 

I also really enjoyed the mystery elements to the story as Alena digs into the background of her mother who died when she was young and was involved in a lot of anti-government protests in the 80s but is rarely spoken about at home by her brother who raised her from when she was small. I loved finding out more about this absent character as the story unfolded.

I also loved the insight the story gave the reader into what it means to be a family especially a less traditional one like Alena's. I thought it was particularly clever when it mused over the thoughts Alena has about her mother who died when she was so young and how that made Alena feel because she feels like she ought to actively miss her mother on one hand but finds it hard on the other hand to miss something she didn't really have.

A stunning and exciting addition to the UKYA market. I'm looking forward to more from Catherine in the future.