We are young by Cat Clarke
Quercus Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781786540058
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. An engaging and enthralling novel exploring family, friendships, loss, change and above all, the importance of seeking help when you need it. The same night that seventeen-year-old Evan's mother marries local radio DJ 'Breakfast Tim', Tim's son Lewis is found unconscious and badly injured; the sole survivor of a car crash that took three other lives. While Lewis is fighting for his life, the media points the blame towards Lewis, claiming he is a drug dealer, despite no evidence, while simultaneously presenting the three victims as angels. Determined to find out the truth, while also clearing her new stepbrother's name, Evan seeks out the help of her recovering alcoholic father, Harry, an investigative journalist and together they dig deep, but soon find that 'the deeper you dig, the darker it gets.'
Cat Clarke provides authentic and relatable characters facing great challenges in an unapologetic manner; the entire novel feels real and unabashedly so. The story keeps the reader engaged from cover to cover and has an impact that isn't easily forgotten. Clarke's ultimate message is a vital one, and as important now as ever: if you are struggling with mental health issues, seek help. And if you're not, check on your friends. This is complete with resources provided at the back of the book: 'if you are affected by any of the issues in this book'. Note: Includes topics such as suicide, drug use, domestic violence, allusions to sexual assault/violence, sex, death, alcoholism and general violence. Not suitable for younger readers.