TITLE: The Trap
AUTHOR: Alan Gibbons
PUBLISHER: Orion Children's Books
GENRE: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
RATING: 3/5 Stars
MI5 agent, Kate, receives a tip-off about an asset, who seems too good to be true. Amir and Nasima are trying to make friends at their new school but struggling to keep a terrible secret. A group of jihadists are planning something. And behind it all stands Majid. Brother. Son. Hero. Terrorist.
Spanning Iraq, Syria and England, The Trap grapples with one of the greatest challenges of our time.
What I Liked:
- The message of this book was a good one, and I was so relieved about that! Yes, it covers the sensitive topics of terrorism and racism but it does it really well. Gibbons clearly did a lot of research when it came to the chapters focusing on on Amir and Nasima's Muslim family life, and the atrocities that are happening in Syria. The juxtaposition of the two was really nicely done.
- I liked Majid, Amir & Nasima's chapters the best. The twins POV was sweet and talked well about family values and the real Muslim community. Peaceful, happy and just like any other family. Majid's chapters were very tense and showed a much harsher reality, and it really dug deep into what ISIS is all about.
What I Disliked:
- Kate's MI5 chapters were so boring. Seriously, I loved the multiple POVs but they were the most forgettable parts of the book and I really wanted to skip them for the most part. Kate was not a particularly likeable or inspiring character and she had little to no personality. I didn't really feel like her perspective added anything to the story.
- Gibbon's writing skills were nothing really to go crazy about unfortunately. If it weren't for the heavy subject matter I'd think I was reading a children's book thanks to the maturity of it. I felt like it was all a bit basic for me, certain sentences and phrasings were over-used and it was lucky that it had the plot going for it at least.
I thought this book was okay despite my original reservations. In fact, I think it's because I went in with low expectations that I liked it as much as I did. It had a great portrayal of Muslim life and I liked that it's message was one of peace and positivity. There was clearly a lot of research put into it. However, there were still problem areas of the book and too many parts of it were uninteresting for it to ever go beyond 'mediocre'.