Publisher's Note:  

Everyone says Caro is bad, but Jamie can't help himself. She is totally different from the other girls. But he soon realizes there is more to Caro-much more. Consider: How she disappears for days at a time, or the scars on her wrists, or her talk of revolution and taking action. Jamie's also worried about his older brother Rob. Back from Afghanistan and struggling with PTSD, Rob is living in a world of his own. Which is why it's so strange that Rob and Caro know one another-and why their secrets feel so very dangerous.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children's Books

This Is Not Forgiveness

by Celia Rees

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Overall Review:  

At the beginning of this story the main character, Jamie, was an average Joe with a crush on a black sheep called Caro, who he knew was completely out of his league. In his pursuit of Caro, he went on an interesting journey full of fun and excitement, but also plenty of turmoil. I'm unsure if Rees intended for Jamie to be a dislikeable push-over, but if that was her objective, she accomplished it quite nicely. The family dynamics of Jamie and his brother and sister were quite believable and easy to relate to as you could tell they all cared for each other, but struggled to get along.


I had a bit of difficulty with the language of this book as the author, Celia Rees, is an English writer. She uses slang and different terms that I was not familiar with but with a little common sense and a few web searches, I was able to sort it out. It was interesting to see a different culture and political drama that was painted in this story. One slight issue I had was the abrupt ending. Everything was wrapped up nicely, I just didn't expect the climax of the story to be so short. If you're looking for a thought-provoking psychological drama, this is your book.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 6 religious exclamations; 2 mild obscenities; 9 derogatory names; 34 scatalogical words; 6 anatomical terms; 22 f-word derivatives.


Violence/Gore: Many (29) brief instances including threats; riots; killing in war; murder; explosion resulting in character losing leg; art depicting violence; suicide and suicidal thoughts; father physically abusing family; character cutting self on purpose; punching; bullying; vandalism; character driving car over bridge killing self and another adult. One extended instance of character getting shot during war.


Sex/Nudity: Many (38) brief instances including but not limited to hugging; kissing; holding hands; sexual innuendo; character offers condoms to other character; a character is homosexual; several instances of implied and reported sexual activity; mention and use of pornography; nudity including skinny dipping; sexual activity between adult teacher and minor student.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Witchcraft, homosexuality, truancy; anorexia, riots, murder, sexual activity of adult teacher with minor student.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Adults and minors with fake IDs drinking before parties and at home and bars; character smoking cigarette; a few instances of characters smoking marijuana and dope; character growing marijuana; character drinking and driving.

Reviewed By Jenny
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