A Brighter Fear by Kerry Drewery
Published by HarperCollins Childrens
7th June 2012
"What do I want for my future? Is it survival? No. I don't want to survive. I want to live..."
A Brighter Fear is the story of Lina, a teenage girl from Baghdad. It starts in 2003, as bombs begin to fall on the city.
It is many things: It is a love story, for a country and for a person. It is the coming-of-age story of an amazing girl, growing up in the worst circumstances imaginable. It contains a necklace that was lost but might still be found. And it will break your heart, only to put it back together again...
We can all remember the regime of Saddam Hussein and of when the US troops entered Baghdad intent on ending this and bringing him down. What we don't necessarily know or remember, is what it was like for those who lived there at the time, in 2003. Kerry Drewery's novel A Brighter Fear is about those people. It is about 17 year old Lina, who is dreaming of going to university, of her best friend, of her father and her aunt and uncle. It is about a community who wake up to find their houses and cars being bombed. Of feeling unsafe. Of no longer knowing who the enemy is.
I really enjoyed this book. It's billed as YA with a 13+ rating, but it didn't read as YA. I was drawn in to Lina's life, of her struggle as a Christian among Muslim families, of her father's continual search for his missing wife, still holding out hope that she will return after 4 years, of their fear as the bombs start to fall upon their town, and friends and neighbours who will never return.
Lina has to give up her dreams of going to university upon her aunt's insistance. Instead she has to get money for the family by serving tea to the American soliders who guard the area. There she meets Steve, but is it even safe to be seen talking to a foreign man?
A Brighter Fear is an emotional roller-coaster of a book that draws you in to a war-torn city that is still full of hope for the future.