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Review: Bang by Barry Lyga

Title: Bang
Author: Barry Lyga
Year Published: 2017

Genre: YA Fiction
Pages: 291
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)USA (MD)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of the past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past.

It took a gun to get him into trouble. 
Now he needs a gun to get out.

Review: Talk about intense. How does someone live with the guilt of what they've done in their past, even if that "crime" is one they didn't do on purpose or didn't understand at the time. A four-year-old doesn't know what guns can do and Sebastian certainly didn't know he was going to kill his infant sister. And how does a parent forgot and forgive?

Sebastian knows he is going to kill himself. He feels like it is the only solution to his feelings of guilt. He just doesn't know when he is going to do it. He has the whole plan and asks himself each night if it's time. Most nights his inner voice says, "not yet." But he knows it's coming soon. And he seems alright with it.

But when Sebastian meets Aneesa life changes. He has fun, he smiles, he stops thinking about "the incident." But escaping his past isn't that easy. I really liked the way Sebastian was (very slowly) working his way through his feelings for Aneesa and his past. It was erratic, painful, and beautiful all at the same time. Sebastian and Aneesa are both such likable characters and their friendship is real. 

Aneesa is biracial and Muslim. That part of the story wasn't necessary, but it definitely adds to the process, especially as Sebastian begins to learn that everyone has issues with which they are burdened; it's how we deal with them that sets us apart. And that is my main take away from this novel. I think it's a great book for teens and that they can relate to many aspects within it. So thank you to Annette at Annette's Book Spot, which is where I first heard about this book.

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