Review of This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees

Everyone says that Caro is bad . . . but Jamie can't help himself. He thinks of her night and day and can't believe that she wants to be his girlfriend. Gorgeous, impulsive and unconventional, she is totally different to all the other girls he knows. His sister, Martha, hates her. Jamie doesn't know why, but there's no way he's going to take any notice of her warnings to stay away from Caro.
But as Jamie falls deeper and deeper under her spell, he realises there is more to Caro - much more. There are the times when she disappears and doesn't get in touch, the small scars on her wrists, her talk about revolutions and taking action, not to mention the rumours he hears about the other men in her life.

And then always in the background there is Rob, Jamie's older brother, back from Afghanistan and traumatised after having his leg smashed to bits there. Jamie wants to help him, but Rob seems to be living in a world of his own and is increasingly difficult to reach.

With Caro, the summer should have been perfect . . . but that isn't how things work out in real life, and Jamie is going to find out the hard way.

As I heard it, this is not Celia Rees as I have ever seen her before. I've been reading her books for years and this book could have almost have been written by a different Author - no Vampires, no Historical, no Witches? I had to have a copy of this and I admit, I practically dived on Bloomsbury when I heard there was a limited amount of copies. The book didn't quite live up to it's hype, but that's okay, I was expecting that.

The story follows three characters, all who get a say at some point. There's Jamie, who seems to be the main character but Caro, an easily influenced political activist, really steals the show. Rob, Jamie's brother has recently come home from Afghanistan and his mind is probably more injured than his body.
This Is Not Forgiveness is like a grown up Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli). Caro is obviously Stargirl, only much less likeable and not to put too fine a point on it, a huge slut. Leo and Jamie seem alike to me too, in the sense that both characters become obsessed with Stargirl/Caro. Rob? Nah, no-one in Stargirl I can compare him to!

There was another character that caught my attention and that was Jamie and Rob's sister, Martha. She added a lot to the story and I think she could have replaced Rob easily. During the aftermath of the big event that happens at the end of the book, I would have loved to have known her thoughts and what she was doing.

The plot didn't really thrill. To be honest I was almost bored, waiting for something to happen, after reading the beginning I could slowly piece together what was going to happen. Actually, at the beginning it took me a few chapters to work out which character was which. The story just sort of plods along, mostly centered around Jamie's obsession with Caro. He quite annoyed me with how she would tell him to drop everything and he would, no question, which seemed quite naive. I never got a feel for Rob's character and I'm not sure what drew him to Caro. The story picks up a little in places, telling you of Caro's past or Rob's thoughts in Afghanistan (which were chillingly brilliant). But when I got to the end, it felt quite rushed and cheesy, almost. I wanted fireworks, but I got a sparkler instead.

3/5

Received free from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review

6 comments:

  1. I haven't read any of her other books so I didn't have any expectations and I quite enjoyed it. I do agree that without the need to know what the beginning was about, it wouldn't have been that gripping a plot but that start did it for me. I think it also covered some important topics.

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  2. I started this, but quickly lost interest. I'll probably finish it at some point, but like you said; it's not as good as I expected it to be.

    The Cait Files

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  3. @Ellie: It covered some important topics, but I think the ending went a little overboard!

    @Cait: Can't say that I can see myself recommending this book to anyone in the near future.

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  4. Oh this sounds interesting. It's my first time seeing this one. Too bad it was a disappointment. Bleh.

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  5. Oooh this indeed sounds interesting!!

    I'm HERE!! :)

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  6. I'm about half way though this and I admit to being a bit confused to start with, though I'm into it now (I think) I'm a big fan of Celia's historicals and can see this isn't going to be a favourite

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