My book review of 'Wild East' by Ashley Hickson-Lovence

by Ashley Hickson-Lovence
Recommended age: 12+
Wild East
by Ashley Hickson-Lovence

This author studied at the UEA in Norwich and has used his experience of the town as a backdrop for this book, a verse novel for teenage readers (young adults) about racism and alienation, and finding your way, your purpose in life. 

And it's very good. The form means that it's quick and easy to read and has a sense of immediacy, a raw openness which very much suits the subject. 

Traumatic, tragic events lead Ronny's mum to make the move to leave London. She wants her fourteen-year-old to get a chance in life and settles for Norwich as the place where that might be possible.

But in this city, being a black teenager in a mostly white school, comes with its own challenges and Ronny struggles to find his place. He has to fight the usual expectations and stereotypes and works hard at holding on to his ambitions.

Then a local poet comes into class and offers new ways of thinking and doing. Poetry is similar to the rap that Ronny enjoys and he discovers he has a talent which can provide opportunities and possibly a future, a way of achieving his dreams. 

This is a great read. It brings to the fore some of the difficulties facing young people today while also celebrating the power of creativity and literature, and ultimately presents a message of hope. 

Date of this review: April 2024
Book publication date: 23rd May 2024