This Is Not Forgiveness
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Reviews of This Is Not Forgiveness
"This is not Forgiveness is a powerful thriller which will readily engage its readers, but also it explores with painful honesty the overwhelming compulsion of teenage love and lust, the attraction of identifying with a cause to give some purpose to life, and the ways in which relationships can be manipulated and loyalties misplaced. It will surely be one of the most impressive young adult novels published this year."
Linda Newbery, Awfully Big Reviews – read more
"I was hooked, fascinated by the voice of the story's central character and already feeling a mounting sense of anticipatory dread on his behalf – a sure sign you're in the hands of a fine storyteller."
Tony Bradman, The Guardian – read more
"Although Rees is dealing with powerful contemporary subjects, the drama is all the more believable for being told through 'ordinary' people. The three main characters are Caro – a sexy and manipulative vortex of trouble – and the two brothers (Jamie and Rob) who fall for and love her in different ways. This triangle is like a modern Jules and Jim with the added powder keg of family dynamics thrown into an already volatile mix."
Martin Chilton, The Telegraph – read more
"[S]omething of a departure for Celia Rees, whose last book, The Fool's Girl, retold the story of Viola from Twelfth Night. This one is firmly rooted in modern England, as a young soldier returns from Afghanistan to the girl whose virginity he took when she was fourteen. Told from varying perspectives, it's an unflinching portrayal of teenage life, describing a melée of drinking, vomiting and rutting. It's also a tale of love requited (but in the wrong way), and a plot loaded with contemporary, incendiary prescience. Slick and compelling, This is Not Forgiveness leaves a fiery afterburn in the mind."
Philip Womack, The Literary Review
"… a brilliant, intelligent thriller with genuine tension and a frightening climax. Rees is a novelist all too happy to take herself, her characters and her readers out of their comfort zones."
Keith Gray, The Scotsman
"The three narrative voices are entirely credible and emotions are meticulously explored and exposed.The plot coils tightly, shocking with its emotional revelations and authentic in its concerns about the impact of war and of fractured families on an increasingly large and disparate group. This is Celia Rees at her best – weaving, probing and unpredictable."
Books for Keeps (5 stars)
"Saying this book is different to anything I’ve read by this author before is an understatement. Firstly it’s set very much in modern times and Celia Rees proves she has as much a handle on the youth of today as she does on those in her historical novels. Her tiny observations and detailing are rich and evoke clear images making her characters both main and minor very real."
Heaven Hell & Purgatory
"It's fair to say that none of the characters in this book are likeable, in fact Caro is at points detestable, yet they are believable and engaging. The plot is gripping and Rees has captured the tension and anarchy of the student protests from the Summer of 2011 expertly. In addition she raises questions not only about the war in Afghanistan but how soldiers can struggle to adapt to civilian life. These ingredients combine to make this book a real page turner which is sure to resonate with teenagers and proves that Rees made the right choice in embarking on a different angle for this novel."
Literature for Lads
"Beautifully-written, unsettling and absorbing, This Is Not Forgiveness is highly recommended by Bookbag. More like this please, Celia!"
The Bookbag – read more
"It’s dark but what marks this book out as different is its political undertones and the edge of danger that belies everything. It’s a story skilfully told and the switching between the narratives, often super quickly is so well executed that I never had to check who was speaking. The book raises questions about love and what you’ll do for it, about war, about beliefs, about the consequences of your actions and it’s thick with involvement between all three characters."
What Sarah Reads
"A spectacular read that sends shivers down your shine and warms your heart all at once. With a master stroke eye for details and a dedication to conveying the powerful truth in the story Celia Rees shows us the power that people hold and what happens when they you this power for both good and bad reasonings with varying results."
"This is the first book I’ve read by Celia Rees, and it covers not only gritty topics such as war, honourable discharge, re-integration into civilian life… it also covers activism and everyday themes; friendship, sibling rivalry, family secrets, betrayal and fitting in."
Clover Hill Book Reviews – read more
"This isn’t the kind of book where you fall in love with the characters and follow their story because you care about what happens to them. This is more of a psychological glimpse into some very real, very flawed characters. This Is Not Forgiveness focuses around war, terrorism, extremism, loyalty and love. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it certainly is compelling."
Turn the Page
"The story was very powerful, kept me turning the pages without realising how much I had actually read."
Read 2 Review
"Celia Rees’ writing created brilliant character voices and flowed beautifully. It was the writing which got me to understand what Rob and Jamie were feeling. It was the amazing writing that made me get inside the head of Caro and understand why she did what she did."
Readaraptor – read more
"I thoroughly enjoyed reading This Is Not Forgiveness. It was really well written and had me hooked from the start."
Rai29 – read more
"This is a very big thriller and has quite a lot of adult themes inside it. Also at some points in the book the story gets very deep and dark. But I do believe it was written in the right way, and that Rees handled the these subjects in the book very well, which is a great skill to have."
Writer on Wheels – read more
"There is so much power and raw energy in Celia Rees’ writing. Her latest novel is no exception… This is a truly stunning book, in every sense of the word, beautifully written, unflinchingly dangerous and dangerously truthful. Highly recommended."