Bang - Barry Lyga

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past.

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

This book is hard to read. Seriously! But it's worth it! Barry Lyga is the master of uncomfortable subjects, from Boy Toy (about relations between a teacher and student) to I Hunt Killers (a sort of Dexter for the young adult crowd), and now Bang! Sebastian accidentally killed his sister when he was just a toddler, and it's been following him around for years. His father is gone, he's met a new friend who he doesn't want to tell about the whole situation, and his mom is keeping quiet about the whole affair. But when his English teacher asks for an assignment on a life-altering event, Sebastian starts to think a bit more deeply about his past.

There's some humour in here, too. When Sebastian and Aneesa start working on Sebastian's pizza channel on YouTube, there's a lot of enjoyable moments amidst the trauma and complex emotions throughout the rest of the book. Lyga's work has emotional depth and his writing is raw and heartbreaking. Though I do wish there had been a bit more development between Sebastian and Aneesa, they do have a wonderful rapport. There were some twists I wasn't expecting, and some harsh truths that Lyga brought forward and developed thoroughly throughout the text.

I think fans of Lyga and fans of hard-hitting drama will find a lot to love here. Bang is certainly a book that will crack open the toughest shell.

Highly Recommended

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out April 18, 2017)


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