Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Another Life, by Keren David (fiction) - London gangs, family ties, choices that can't be unmade

book cover of Another Life by Keren David published by Frances Lincoln Childrens Books
So that's it then,
Ty will spend some weeks in young offenders' institution for having the knife.
What if other gang members are there, too?
The ones that he testified against?

World Wednesday takes us back to London - not the spic-and-span home of the 2012 Summer Olympics, but the hardscrabble, workingclass corners where rival crime gangs control more than we really want to know about.

And typically-teenage guy middle-class Archie thinks he can figure out how to help Ty, by going undercover into his cousin's multicultural, rough neighborhood...

You'll want to read all of Ty's story, so pick up When I Was Joe  (book 1) and Almost True (book 2) at your local library or independent bookstore then jump into Another Life  to see what becomes of these unlike cousins.

Book info: Another Life / Keren David. Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2012.  [author's website] [publisher site] [book trailer]  

My Recommendation: Archie didn’t even know he had another cousin until recently, let alone one who’s had run-ins with London gangs and the police. Too busy trying to get tossed out of yet-another boarding school, trying to get girls interested in him. But passing messages between Ty and his girlfriend shouldn’t be a big deal, right? Just because his cousin is in witness-protection programme and all that…

Still strange to Archie that his mum and dad could cut off contact with a whole branch of their family for years. Ty is just a year older than he is, but certainly isn’t coping well with being confined. Yeah, some of the guys that Ty testified against are locked up now, but not in the same facility as him, right? Right? Hmmm…will Claire wait for Ty once she discovers the real reason he’s gone?

Maybe if Archie ventures out of his posh neighborhood and into the gritty quarter where Ty lived before the knife incident, he can figure out what makes his cousin tick. Maybe joining the boxing club there will let him see why his own dad worked so hard to get out of there. Maybe cute Shannon there in the park will take a shine to him.

Dad always said that Archie acted first and thought occasionally – and he’s dead-right this time. How long until someone in Ty’s neighborhood figures out their connection? How long until the gang bosses take action against the snooping teen? How long until Ty’s post-traumatic stress reactions get the better of him?

Told mostly in the rambling voice of Archie with sudden bursts of Ty’s frantic, worried thoughts, Another Life closes the stories started in When I Was Joe (book 1) and Almost True (book 2) – a gripping look at modern London gangs, choices gone wrong, and the quest for family connections at any cost. (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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