This review contains mild spoilers.
A paperback of Bro by Helen Chebatte has been lingering in my TBR shelves since last May, when I received a free copy at Sydney Writers’ Festival. I wasn’t really sure if it was my thing, but I decided to give it a go when I saw that the audiobook was available on my library app.
It was a little less than five hours long, so I managed to finish it in an afternoon while taking photos and running errands.
There were quite a few repetitive scenes, and the characters (who are in year 10) were a bit young for me, but overall the narration style kept me interested. Young as they might be, the portrayal of the characters was still realistic—I definitely remember guys like this from high school.
The climax of the novel packed emotional impact, even if it was a bit predictable. But the end of Bro just didn’t do it for me. The solution to all the racial tension was to start a Facebook memorial page? To me, it felt tenuous at best instead of cautiously optimistic, and I wanted to know what happened down the line (both the triumphs and failures), even if it was just a few lines to check in.
I think this book could definitely benefit Aussie kids who are still in high school, especially if they’re dealing with racial tension. It’s easy to relate to and focuses on an incredibly important subject; I just wish the ending had been a bit stronger to follow up on the message.