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Naked – Kevin Brooks

“My heart was born in the long hot summer of 1976; my life was made, my love was sealed, my soul was lost and broken. It was the summer of so many things – heat and violence, love and hate, dreams and nightmares, heaven and hell – and when I look back on it now, it’s hard to tell the good from the bad.”
In the year of 1976 Lili Garcia met William Bonney – the Irish gent who she knew was special from the minute she saw. He was everything, yet nothing, he blended into the crowd but also stood out and as soon as he started playing the guitar in Naked’s rehearsal space he was integrated into the band. Curtis, Lili’s boyfriend could tell he was special and for Curtis everything was about to get more and more special, but was it going to be the same for Lili and William? Can they survive the atmosphere of the new found Punk scene?

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What a way to lose my Kevin Brooks virginity! I knew Naked was going to be amazing, as soon as I saw the cover and read the blurb and I needed to read it. I had to have it right there and then and thankfully when I managed to get my hands on it, it really did not disappoint.
If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I care about music, a lot. My punk knowledge isn’t brilliant but I know a bit thanks to my ex-boyfriend. He was into his punk and a few of the references in this book I knew because of him. But in all honesty, they aren’t that out there that someone who knows nothing about punk would be lost. I mean, I don’t think you could find a person who doesn’t know who the Sex Pistols are and it wouldn’t take long to figure out what Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren had to do with the band. I was worried that the inclusion of such well known bands would mean that the importance of the punk scene would be lost but it wasn’t at all, everything seems pretty real and from what I know about the punk scenes roots nothing came across as inherently fictional, obviously other than the fiction.
The story was amazing, I really got into it and it’s not just because of the music, though that helps. The story was fast and full of action and energy. It was punk in itself, not really stopping for air but because of the way it was told it didn’t feel rushed and didn’t overpower me. The pace mirrored the music but I loved every second of it and there really wasn’t a dull moment.
I love the way Naked is written, like a story being told from a mother or grandmother, looking back over their life. It was really well done, I mean it is Young Adult, focussing on the summer of 1976 but told from 2010, you don’t really get told that ’til later but you get the feeling there has been a lot of time between the events and the writing of these events right from the start. The punk movement really changed Lili and yet it isn’t the only thing that changed her. The relationships she gathered over the time she’s looking back on and the other historic events she as the IRA problems of the time really broadened her outlook on life and you can tell that everything that happened has really stuck with her, I mean; she is still thinking about it all 35 years later!
The characters within this book are just incredible. They really jumped out of the page and into my head. The only person I had trouble with actually seeing was Lili, everyone else I could picture perfectly! Curtis was quite possibly the most out there and crazy character within the book who I didn’t already know about and I really wanted to know if he was based on someone who was around at the time and if Naked were based on a real band. I loved Stan and Chief as well, they seemed so lovely and just chilled out. The pair of them seemed really in tune with their music and that’s all that mattered to them. But I can’t love anyone from the book more than William, wow; he was everything a girl could ask for, including being Irish. I think if he walked into my rehearsal space when I was 16 I would have blabbed saying I loved him there and then, and he gets better throughout the book!!
Naked is definitely a fast paced, mind blowing read, if you ever wanted to learn anything about the punk movement or even a bit about the IRA then it’s the book to pick up but even if those things don’t interest you I really believe it’s a coming of age tale that stands out from the others. It shows that the actions you perform when you are 16/17 do stick with you for years to come and that this age period is more important than you think. It’s full of interesting characters, music references and, more unexpectedly, snippets that’ll make you shed a tear. It’s a powerful story of love and hate, drugs and drinking, rock and roll and more punk that you can shake a stick at; and I’ll be recommending it for years to come I’m certain of it!
Naked is the latest title from award winning author Kevin Brooks, it was released in October by Penguin. My copy was kindly gifted to me by Cicely from Ciclovesbooks, thank you!!

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