What’s the book about?

The end of the school year is approaching, and siblings Paddy and Liz McLaughlin, Christy Meehan, Kevin Thompson and their friends will soon have to decide what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives. But it’s hard to focus when there’s the allure of their favourite hangout place, the dingy ‘Cave’, where they go to drink and flirt and smoke. Most days, Christy, Paddy and Kevin lie around listening to Dexys and Joy Division. Through a fog of marijuana, beer and budding romance, the future is distant and unreal.

But this is Derry in 1981, and they can’t ignore the turmoil of the outside world. A friend is killed, and Christy and Paddy, stunned out of their stupor, take matters into their own hands. Some choices are irreversible and choosing to fight will take hold of their lives in ways they never imagined.

Why did I like the book?

I really like Geraldine style of writing where she engages you in the story, the characters yet tragedy is happening all round. On one hand the music, the “cave”, the friendships all seem like normal day to day events and places, yet you know there is an unsettling element to the story and one in which tragedy strikes. The patrols by the army and the work of the IRA add a sinister feel to the storyline and the genius of Geraldine’s writing is that she achieves this seamlessly.

This is a book about teenage love against a backdrop of the Troubles, events that happen and the choices you make after them. When one of the gang is killed by a rubber bullet it effect the whole gang in different way and the decisions made by each have far reaching consequences.

Geraldine is a debut novelist, coming through the PRH Write Now scheme and has written a novel that deserves critical acclaim. I am sure this novel will be the first of many books from her and the start of a wonderful career.

Penguin/9780241354131/£12.99/Published 10th January 2019