How can you save a friend, if you can’t even save yourself? That’s the question facing two teens in We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan, a YA novel-in-verse about an unlikely friendship between two troubled teens.
Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess’s home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?
For fans of Una LaMarche’s Like No Other, this illuminating story told in dual points of view through vibrant verse will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.
I have really come to love verse novels, and two of the biggest reasons are: (1) it makes for a very fast reading experience and (2) it dials into the raw emotions of the characters.
In We Come Apart, the verse quickly and clearly shows us the emotional turmoil both Jess and Nicu are facing, and how that begins to change as they become part of each other’s lives. Crossan and Conaghan bring into sharp relief the issues facing these teens: troubled home lives, abuse, racism, etc.
Through these issues the story is both intimate and timely, addressing broader topics facing the world — as well as smaller individual challenges that many teens are likely familiar with in some form. The result is a wholly relatable book, that is both heartbreaking and beautifully written.
Though the ending is left quite open-ended, I think a neatly resolved conclusion would have been a disservice to the story and its characters. Because isn’t life full of messy, open endings? Nothing is ever quite tied up like it is in some fiction, and that is where We Come Apart really shines: in accurately reflecting the real world.
Look for it in stores June 13th.