Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Review - And The Stars Were Burning Brightly (And The Stars Were Burning Brightly, #1) by Danielle Jawando

Title: And The Stars Were Burning Brightly (And The Stars Were Burning Brightly, #1)
Author: Danielle Jawando
Pages: 368
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's UK
Release Date: 5th March 2020

Blurb from Goodreads:

An emotionally rich and current story of suicide, mental health, bullying, grief and growing up around social media.

When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart.
Al was special.
Al was talented.
Al was full of passion and light…so why did he do it?
Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan. Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?

My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK Children's and NetGalley*

Fifteen-year-old Nathan's life changes forever when his older brother, Al, commits suicide.
Nathan has no idea why Al took his own life and is certain that something must have pushed Al to do it.

Determined to find out what that something was, Nathan starts searching for answers.

He meets Megan, a friend of Al's who is as shocked and devastated by Al's death as Nathan is.
Nathan's search for answers reveals a terrible truth.

Why did Al take his own life?

Part of the reason I wanted to read this book so much was that I knew the author had tried to commit suicide because of bullying when at school. I was intrigued to see how her experiences would shape the book, and felt that they would add more gravity to it.

The book is told from two perspectives (Nathan and Megan's) and each chapter begins with a snippet from Al, which I thought was a nice touch.

Nathan and Megan were both likeable and relatable. I felt sorry for them both, and it was interesting to read how they both dealt with Al's death.

This is a very important read in the way it shows and deals with bullying and social media. It shows how easily social media can be used to hurt people, and it made me quite angry.

The plot was interesting, but the pacing was a little slow for me and I felt like the book didn't need to be quite as long as it was. I guessed one of the reveals early on, which was a shame.

I feel like I could have connected to the storyline and characters a lot more than I did, and I'm not quite sure what that was down to.

I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy this more, but still found it to be a heart-felt, important book.

Overall, this was an enjoyable, important read.

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