SOURCE: Goodreads Giveaway
TITLE: Good Kings, Bad Kings
AUTHOR: Susan Nussbaum
PUBLISHER: Oneworld Publications
GENRE: Young Adult, Literary Fiction, Contemporary
RATING: 4.5/5 Stars
Told in alternating perspectives by a varied cast of characters, Good Kings, Bad Kings is a powerful and inspiring debut that invites us into the lives of a group of teenagers and staff who live at the ILLC. From Yessenia, who dreams of her next boyfriend, to Teddy, a resident who dresses up daily in a full suit and tie, and Mia, who guards a terrifying secret, Nussbaum has crafted a multifaceted portrait of a way of life that challenges our definitions of what it means to be disabled. In a story told with remarkable authenticity, their voices resound with resilience, courage and humour.
What I Liked:
- The characterisation was what made this book. The story is written from a number of viewpoints in the juvenile disabled centre 'ILLC', staff and residents alike. Each of them had a distinct voice, an interesting backstory and most importantly felt like they were human. None of them were perfect, but none of them were awful people either. They were opinionated and totally believable and I fell in love with them all.
- Nussbaum's writing really wowed me. It was so honest and handled some really sensitive topics extremely well. I loved how much research and own experience had clearly gone into the novel too, because I'm a sucker for decent world-building and I definitely got it in this book. It simultaneously made me laugh and broke my heart and for that, I am forever i Nussbaum's debt.
What I Disliked:
- At times, I felt like there wasn't enough of an overriding plot-line. The book mostly consisted of a series of incidents that kept the characters interesting and busy. It did work in it's own way, but it meant I was left hungry for more at the end. Still, the little plot that I read was brilliant.
I really did adore this book for so many reasons. The characterisation and world-building were absolutely phenomenal and the writing was so beautiful that I would have happily read on about all of these characters. It was honest, brutal at times, and hear-wrenchingly gorgeous at others. The plot could have done with a tiny bit more adjusting perhaps, but I honestly didn't mind a chronology of events rather than a proper plot-line because character-driven novels like this are too interesting to miss.