Sunday, April 30, 2017

Review: Bang by Barry Lyga

Title: Bang
Author: Barry Lyga
Publisher: Little, Brown
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary
Release date: April 18th, 2017
Pages: 304 (ARC)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Author

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.  

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. 

It took a gun to get him into this. 

Now he needs a gun to get out.

Boy, 4, Shoots, Kills Infant Sister

There's nothing quite as gripping at that headline.  For the past 10 years, Sebastian has been drowning in regret.  His actions weren't malicious, but everyone in the town looks at him with a mixture of pity, fear, and disgust.  There's no escaping what happened, and at just the age of 14, Sebastian is looking forward to the day it all ends.  That is, until he meets Aneesa, an intelligent and understanding individual.  She's the only one who doesn't know what happened all those years ago, and Sebastian intends to keep it that way.  Aneesa is Sebastian's only sliver of normalcy in the life he's made for himself.

I was hooked as soon as I read the synopsis of Bang.  While I was expecting a rollercoaster of emotion, I also knew that Sebastian's story would be a hopeful one.  The struggle that this main character goes through on a daily basis is hard, especially after he meets Aneesa.  Sebastian struggles most with forgiving himself, because he can see the pain in his mother's eyes when she kisses him goodnight, and he can feel it in the emptiness his father left behind.

Aneesa is a wonderful character to have interact with Sebastian.  She pulls him out of the hole he's been living in, encouraging him to turn his passion into a career.  I actually really loved that they were able to start a YouTube cooking channel and monetize the videos instead of getting your typical summer job.  This is something I've always been interested in doing myself, plus, Sebastian's pizza recipes made my mouth water!  While they work on that project together, Sebastian realized that there's much more to the world than his own problems, and it opens his eyes when he sees that Aneesa is being verbally attacked online solely because of her race and religion.

Bang is a book that I think everyone should pick up, especially now, in a world full of gun violence and prejudice.  It deals with hard-hitting topics that are perfectly portrayed through these characters, and it will make your heart ache when you connect them to real-life events and people we see in our day-to-day lives.

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