“It’s been a year since everything happened, but I still have bad dreams. Dreams of last summer – of me and Tokes and Little Pea – in the park, under the arches, racing through burning streets on the night the city was in flames. Its like a movie running through my head- the same on night after night. Then I wake up to the sound of waves and I remember how the story ends.”
Amateur film-maker Maggie thinks she is invisible behind her camera, she thinks no one notices when she walks down Coronation Road recording the clashing of culture it presents. When one day she records the start of something between new boy Tokes and Shiv, leader of the Starfish Gang, she thinks it’ll just make great footage for her film. What she doesn’t know is that the exchange is the start of something big; of a friendship she will never forget and a movement she will want to.
What a book! Catherine Bruton blew me away with her first novel, We Can Be Heroes, but nothing would prepare me for I Predict a Riot, with its tough subject matter, its setting in a time and place which is so fresh in my mind and the most moving friendship I have ever read. I couldn’t put I Predict a Riot down and I want more now its over.
The story was scary, sad and beautiful all in one. It had death, poverty, fear and romance, and it read like a movie. I wanted to witness these characters and their experiences so much that I hope it does get picked up by a TV or Film studio!
Maggie is a lonely character who obviously keeps herself to herself a lot before the events of the book. She doesn’t want any of the things that happen to happen but in a crazy sequence of events they do and she is found right in the middle of it all. Tokes is quite an interesting character and I liked how he defied his stereotype in quite a big way, I liked how intelligent he came across and the way he tried to reason with people. Little Pea was the odd character for me as I actually really, really didn’t like him. I hated how far into his stereotype he was, so much so that he couldn’t see a way out of it. I hated his lies and his trickery and I hated how happy he seemed all the time when everything was going to pot. There was just something about him I couldn’t get one with and thats the only thing I didn’t like about the book.
We are told very early on that one of Maggie’s friends dies and another is in witness protection so its obvious that something bad would happen at some point. I figured I knew which way it would go right from the start, but then various things happened that made me question what I expected from I Predict a Riot. Nothing prepared me for what happened and I found it all fascinating.
I mentioned above that the time period that this book is based on is fresh in my mind, and it really is. I vividly remember the summer of 2012, getting in from work and getting a message to turn the tele on. I, thankfully, was miles away from any of the rioting, even that in Manchester, my closest city, was far too far away to effect me, I spent most of the time watching the news worried about my friends, mostly bloggers I know from this blog, who lived in London and thinking about how insane it must be to get caught up in that, in your local area. I think I Predict a Riot captures that fear, that craziness, in more ways than I could ever imagine. Reading it you get the atmosphere, you get the anger and the escalation of what went on. I really did enjoy reading it but it terrified me even more in some places.
I couldn’t honestly recommend this book more for its great storyline, its means of making you really feel for whats going on and the questioning of society it poses. Whilst reading I thought it was very possible that Catherine Bruton had experience of the type of area that Coronation Road was based on, whether working or living, as she put the community aspect of it across really well. I Predict a Riot will definitely be on my read-again pile for the future and I hope its on a lot of peoples to be read pile this year.
I Predict a Riot was published on June 5th by Electric Monkey. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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