My book review of 'Split second' by Sophie McKenzie

Split second

by Sophie McKenzie
Recommended age: Teen
Split second
by Sophie McKenzie

Set in a London of the near-future, amid political unrest and with money tight, a bomb goes off in a city market and the lives of two teenagers are changed forever. Through their individual personal tragedies, they find themselves propelled as players in this fragile and volatile society.

Nat and Charlotte (Charlie) meet at school and resolve that they will avenge the deaths and injuries caused by the bomb. They find themselves drawn to a rival organisation to the terrorists, a group which claims to seek peace. They feel some disquiet at the instructions they are given but trust in the leaders and the cause, with a devastating outcome.

The subject matter is unsettling confronting as it does the issues of terrorism, the morality of using violence as retaliation and in asserting a cause, and of engaging vulnerable individuals. It is a powerful account, although the initiation and training which Nat and Charlie are put through was not as convincing as other elements of the book.

For me, there was one disappointment with the book: the ending. After a gripping, compelling and well-paced narrative, I felt cheated, manipulated and dissatisfied with the ending. So this book is the first of a series.... I am, though, of a different generation from the target audience!

Review date: July 2013