This Is Not Forgiveness

This Is Not Forgiveness

3.0 1
by Celia Rees

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Everyone says Caro is bad, but Jamie can't help himself. She is totally different from the other girls. But he soon realizes there is more to Caro-much more. Consider: How she disappears for days at a time, or the scars on her wrists, or her talk of revolution and taking action. Jamie's also worried about his older brother Rob. Back from Afghanistan and


Everyone says Caro is bad, but Jamie can't help himself. She is totally different from the other girls. But he soon realizes there is more to Caro-much more. Consider: How she disappears for days at a time, or the scars on her wrists, or her talk of revolution and taking action. Jamie's also worried about his older brother Rob. Back from Afghanistan and struggling with PTSD, Rob is living in a world of his own. Which is why it's so strange that Rob and Caro know one another-and why their secrets feel so very dangerous.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Laura J. Brown
Best-selling author Celia Rees offers a fast-paced contemporary novel about love, betrayal, violence, and death. Summer has begun, and Jamie has been dumped by his girlfriend. His best friend Cal is often missing in action because unlike Jamie, he does have a girlfriend. She is very bossy, but does the things Cal likes, so he is enjoying the goods and trying to keep her happy. One day, Jamie sees Caro, a former friend of his sister, Martha. Caro was not a girl he was expecting to run into, especially with her mother and her mother's friends along. Caro seemed bored past death, but she smiled at Jamie when she caught him checking her out. He does not know what to do after Caro departs, so he decides to discreetly ask Martha about her. She informs him that Caro is bad news, and advises him to stay away from her, because she is a heartbreaker. She recommends he consider another friend, who Martha knows likes him. Jamie hears his sister, but he does not listen and instead gets involved with Caro. He learns too late that Martha is right, in a tragedy that not only leads to a broken heart, but the deaths of two people he loves. This novel deals with complex issues contemporary teenagers face daily in a way that embraces their joys and fears, providing insight and guidance without being overbearing. Reviewer: Laura J. Brown
VOYA - Charla Hollingsworth
In This Is Not Forgiveness, Rees tells the story of three English young adults who are all searching for meaning in their lives. Rob, on disability leave from the war in Afghanistan, is trying to numb the pain with drugs, alcohol, and easy women. Jamie, Rob's younger brother, tries to be the good son with a job, good grades, and staying out of trouble. Caro, a rebellious teen, rounds out the trio. Caro is rebelling against the lavish lifestyle of her mom by breaking social norms, dabbling in witchcraft, fomenting anarchy, and sleeping with both Rob and Jamie. Caro enjoys Jamie's naivete and the promise of a life with less angst, but she goes after Rob to twist and channel his anger into her plans of political destruction. Basking in the glow of young love and unaware of the depths of Caro's deceptions, Jamie is unaware of oncoming trouble until it is almost too late. Told as a flashback through three distinct narrators, This Is Not Forgiveness is a little slow to get started. Once the reader identifies each narrator, their point of view, and agenda, then the novel moves at a good pace. Readers unfamiliar with British slang will want to keep a translation guide handy so they do not misinterpret dialog. While readers may anticipate the ending, they will stay engaged in the story to see how the conclusion changes the lives of Rob, Jamie and Caro. Reviewer: Charla Hollingsworth
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—A dark, haunting story of love, betrayal, and loss. When Jamie meets Caro, he instantly falls for the mysterious, intoxicating girl. Her physical beauty, her unconventional ways (rumors of her past involvement with older men, the scars on her wrists, her passion for political activism), and her wild, independent streak are a heady mixture that the inexperienced teenager can't resist. She becomes involved with his older brother, Rob, a former soldier back from Afghanistan with physical and emotional wounds, but Caro's refusal to be tied down only increases Jamie's infatuation. Though the graphic dialogue and colloquial style of the protagonists' voices add an authentic flavor, the language still retains a lyrical feel. By employing several narrators and slowly dropping hints about Caro and Rob's actual intentions, Rees imbues the novel with an intentionally disjointed tone that mirrors Jamie's own mindset as he eventually discovers that the two are hiding a far more dangerous secret. The use of multiple perspectives infuses the characters with depth and nuance; Caro in particular is portrayed as both the alluring object of Jamie's affections and as a troubled adolescent coping with feelings of alienation and pain. Rees conveys the sensuality of young lust and the aching, all-consuming feeling of first love with candor and tenderness. A powerful novel that should resonate with both teens and adults.Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
A dark and dangerous thrill ride pushes teen readers to the brink of their comfort zones when it comes to issues of love, lust, politics, family and war. Despite repeated warnings, Jamie can't resist the sexy and mysterious Caro. He would do anything for her, and she knows it. What he doesn't know is that Caro and his older brother Rob have a secret past. Rees revels in an unapologetic exploration of extremes in this smart and well-crafted novel. The brothers are perfect foils for each other, with Jamie an eager-to-please, typical teen, and Rob a menacing and tragic war veteran prone to terrifyingly violent outbursts. Though Caro's manipulations of the brothers for her own political gain drive the action of the story, the relationship between the two siblings provides its molten emotional core. As Rob becomes increasingly unhinged, Jamie's desperation to claim Caro as his own and to assert himself in his relationship with his brother becomes a matter of life and death. Though the portrayal of Rob's deteriorating mental state is raw and often uncomfortable, in the end, the honest, uncensored storytelling makes this a tale that will stay with readers long after the final page is turned. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

CELIA REES is the author of many acclaimed and bestselling books for young readers including the Witch Child, Sorceress, Pirates!, Sovay, and The Fool's Girl, and her books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Celia lives in England.

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This Is Not Forgiveness 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The plot is intriguing and important in our day and age. However, I couldn’t get over the fact that I did not like the characters. In my opinion, it’s hard to like a book and a story if you don’t like the characters.  Jamie doesn’t know whats good for him. Caro is manipulative. Rob is downright lost. Celia Rees created three very unique and dynamic characters, but I hated them.  The narrating format was confusing as well. I didn’t understand the first few chapters. T he beginning didn’t make sense until the end.  The setting was also not very clear. It took me a while to realize that these were English teens. I found out by their dialogue but their actual location wasn’t very clear and I couldn’t picture the scenery Jamie would describe.  I didn’t particularly like the ending. The closure between the characters could have been better, but than there wouldn’t be a point to This Is Not Forgiveness.