Reviewed by Jackie Marchant
This is a timely book, about terrorism and taking sides. It’s about prejudice and the danger of judging a whole section of society by the actions of a few. And what it’s like to be hated because of who you are.
After surviving a terrorist bombing, K Child is full of antagonism towards those who carried out the attack – the Brotherhood. When the enigmatic Oskar asks her to infiltrate the Brotherhood by attending their top boarding school to seek out extremists, she finds herself agreeing. After winning her trust, Oskar gives her a completely new identity, a new set of Brotherhood clothes – and leaves her alone at the Brotherhood school gates.
At first K is terrified. She is not only a stranger here, but a spy. But no one seems to notice and, not only that, the people she meets are friendly. They’re ordinary, like her. For the first time in her lonely life, she is surrounded by people who care about her. More than that, she’s falling in love.
At the same time, she begins to have doubts about Oskar and his true motives. Then she witnesses the sharp end of the hatred citizens have for the Brotherhood – the same hatred she felt towards them on the day of the bombing. But they are not all like that.
Can the two sides ever be reconciled? This is the aim of the government, but, as K is drawn further into a web of deceit and anger, it seems increasingly unlikely – especially as K comes to realise the true horror of what Oskar wants of her.
One thing we never learn is what the Brotherhood actually believe in. They have longer names and wear slightly different clothes, but their doctrines remain elusive – they are hated because they are Brotherhood, but no one seems to know why. As K learns, we are all the same – and there are people on both sides who advocate violence.
This is an exciting read, with romance and danger in equal measure. It’s part thriller, part love-story, but all page-turner. I can recommend it for younger teens.
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