Book Review: We Come Apart by Crossan & Conaghan

by Emma Sewell
by Emma Sewell

You can’t see a title with Sarah Crossan’s name against it and walk away. Likewise, Brian Conaghan is now a name that makes you stop and pick up a book.

Their new book, We Come Apart, definitely won’t change that feeling for you.

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian ConaghanWe Come Apart is the story of Jess and Nicu. Two very different teenagers, with one very sad connection.

Jess and Nicu would seemingly have nothing in common under normal circumstances. But these aren’t normal circumstances. Both have their secrets, and neither can really see a way out until they meet each other.

Nicu is an outcast at school, the Romanian immigrant branded as a gypsy by the school bullies… Jess’ friends. But outside of school, Jess and Nicu start a friendship that changes both of their lives.

With Nicu’s parents arranging a marriage for him back home, and Jess’ home life becoming more dangerous, they must work out a way to save themselves before it’s too late.

Before reading We Come Apart I had not picked up a Sarah Crossan or Brian Conaghan book… yes, I know, I feel the shame of it! The books themselves sound amazing but there’s only so much time, and one very VERY large TBR pile. From what I can remember I’ve never read a book written in free verse before. I’m not convinced I’d want to again… but that is nothing to do with the story.

This book and I had a difficult reading session. At an hours reading time it is certainly worth it though. Nicu’s broken English poses one of the challenges, but his little quirks soon become endearing. The free verse in general was the problem for me, but I’m convinced this is because I’ve become institutionalised to read “normal” novels and rhyming verse.

The story in We Come Apart is a powerful Romeo and Juliet-esque tale. Without the tragedy? I’m not so sure. Crime. Domestic Abuse. Bullying. Lots of hot topics are touched on throughout the book, don’t let this put you off adding it to your shelves though.

It’s amazing that with so few words, so much can be created. You get the atmosphere, the friendship, and the urgency as you make your way through the pages.

I love reading other people’s reviews once I’ve read a book. It’s a great way to spot things you’ve missed and find out if your opinion is sitting with the majority of other readers. One thing that I was surprised more people didn’t comment on was the ending. Possibly through spoilers, but don’t worry, none here. Well, apart from the fact I shed a tear or two. The ending is sudden but I liked it like that, it left me with questions, but it left me more with wonder.

Earlier I wrote that I wasn’t convinced I’d want to read a free verse book again… but if I’m honest, an hour out of my day to read such a great story doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice to me. So in all likelihood another one will make it into the TBR.

Books by Sarah Crossan:


Books by Brian Conaghan:


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