The winners of the 2016 award were announced last night with English teacher Brian Conaghan winning the children’s category with his YA dystopian refugee story, The Bombs That Brought Us Together. The book is aimed at ages 13+ and focuses on the friendship between Charlie Law and Pavel Duda; two boys whose neighbouring homelands are at war.
Charlie’s life should be pretty miserable: he lives in Little Town, where everyone spies on everyone else, and the population is caught between their oppressive rulers and violent criminals who run the black market. A bombing campaign and invasion by their neighbours in the Old Country makes things even worse. Somehow though Charlie remains positive. He makes friends with Pav, a refugee from the Old Country, and together they turn an old shed into a homely refuge until circumstances leave Charlie owing favours to the terrifying Big Man, and facing an awful choice. Decent, determined and brighter than he makes out, Charlie finds a solution. Charlie’s voice and outlook keep the tone light despite the darkness of setting and subject matter. (taken from lovereading.co.uk)
Conaghan’s previous book about a boy with Tourette’s syndrome, When Mr Dog Bites, was also shortlisted for the prestigious Carnegie award in 2015, making him a definite one to watch out for. And look out for his new book in February, We Come Apart, which is written with prize-winning author, Sarah Crossan.
Read an interview with the author about The Bombs That Brought Us Together here.