Tuesday, March 08, 2011
REVIEW: In the Bag by Jim Carrington
Joe and Ash are best friends. Ash is the leader, Joe the one who follows. Then one night after a party, Joe and Ash come across a holdall, seemingly abandoned by the side of the road. They open it up ...and find GBP20,000 in cash. Of course they're going to hand it straight to the police. Aren't they? Or is all that money just too tempting? Whoever has lost it won't notice if a bit goes missing, will they? And that is precisely when the trouble starts ...Jim Carrington has already established himself as a fine writer for teens with his debut novel, Inside My Head. With In the Bag, he shows how horribly easy it is for two teenage boys to make a car crash of their lives, through an unlucky combination of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and making a handful of wrong decisions.
I really enjoyed this one. I want to start by saying a big thank you to the people of Bloomsbury for consistently sending me wonderful books like this for review. In the Bag by Jim Carrington is the story told by each of the two boys in turn of how one bad decision quickly leads to another and the frightening repercussions of those decisions. I found both main characters, Joe and Ash, to be utterly engaging characters and their decisions and choices to be very believeable and readable. I will certainly be picking up Jim Carrington's other work for teenagers, Inside My Head, as I enjoy his writing style.
After Joe and Ash find a bag in the woods containing a bunch of money, they decide that the best course of action is to keep it. They would, wouldn't they? Which two 16 year old boys could resist the temptation of £20,000? But after the thrill of buying some new trainers and an awesome new bike frame, it starts eat away at their consciences just a bit. Are they really making the right decision here? But what if they use some of the money for good, that'd be better, right? And it goes on and on until these boys are mixed up in something so much more dangerous than they could ever have realised. And it all happens quickly and without much effort on either boy's part to make this happen. They've both chosen to keep this money and their knowledge of it a secret, despite their misgivings and despite the possible connection between this bag and the horrible events occurring in their little town. A horrible car accident, a fire in some local flats. Joe and Ash choose to believe that this bag is unconnected.
I loved the authenticity of both boys. I love the dialogue and banter between the two, and this steady progression of secrets and lies between the two boys which results in the explosive and thrilling ending. I was really on the edge of my seat while reading this one, desperate to know how it will turn out and how the boys will find a way out of the mess that they've created. It's a wonderful book about making the right choices and dealing the with consequences. I loved how different the two boys and their families and the obvious friendship that they have with each other. Really great book, and recommended by me :)