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The Things We Leave Behind

"A furious book about an-all-too-possible future Britain, that demands to be read."

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

April 2024 Book of the Month

London teenager Clem enjoys her 15th birthday surrounded by friends, family, and glorious sunshine – a perfect day. The world is changing though, and soon everyone and everything she knows, and loves, will be in danger.

Set in a not-so-distant future, England is ruled by a racist far-right authoritarian government, as civil unrest grows Clem must flee London with her younger sister, Billie. Safety lies in newly independent Scotland, but to get there the sisters must face unknown danger, suspicious bigots, and a terrifying small boat.

This was a gut-wrenching read; the concept was so believable and the writing so powerful that I felt sick on more than one occasion whilst reading it, but I couldn’t put it down. Whilst it might technically be described as a dystopia, really it is a modern horror story that could occur tomorrow. Putting a white, British teenager firmly at the centre of a modern refugee crisis, Furniss skilfully blends in events and ideologies of contemporary Britain. Making the reader question themselves and the world we live in.

The story is told through a mix of flashbacks, therapy sessions and fairy tales. Our main character Clem is a gloriously unreliable narrator and keeps the reader guessing until the end. A gentle romance creates further tension, but never detracts from the main story. The cast of secondary characters all leap from the page, they are all perfectly drawn and contain a sense that they too have a story to tell.

Bleak and scary The Things We Leave Behind reveals the worst that humanity does to each other, but is also full of love, hope and the best of humanity. A moving and thought-provoking must read.

Amy McKay

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