> The Beesley Buzz: Book review: Before The Fire, by Sarah Butler

Book review: Before The Fire, by Sarah Butler

Review by Richard Beesley.

It's the summer of 2011 and Stick and Mac have plans. Both almost eighteen, they are leaving Manchester for a new life in Spain. They've planned their extended trip, bought the barely-working car, planned the route through England, France and Spain, and everything is ready. But they haven't planned for what will happen the night before their trip - Mac is stabbed and killed.

Immediately, Stick's life is changed. His best friend is gone, his plans are over and he is stuck in Manchester. We follow Stick over the coming months as the case against Mac's murderer develops against a backdrop of growing civil unrest and the building of riots in cities across the country. Stick meets J, and she seems to be the something missing in his life. But she hates the Police and the riots that are almost certainly coming to their city promises excitement, rather than anxiety, for both of them.

This is a well-developed book, written in a beautifully clear way. I didn't want to put the book down, and wanted to see how the story unfolded and what became of Stick. Stick's life had not been easy and his past offers explanations for his current world view, although his own choices were his own worst enemy. The adults in his world seem to have little understanding of Stick's life or needs, which only aid in isolating him further. His life is full of anger, and I really wanted him to let go of that and live his life to the full.

This is a great book, simple to read and easy to follow, but with powerful underlying story.

Before The Fire, by Sarah Butler is published by Pan Macmillan and is available from their website.

Disclosure: Pan Macmillan sent me this book to keep for the purposes of review. All opinions are our own.

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