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Us Kids Know by JJ Strong (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Monday, Nov 20, 2017 at 5:55pm

Siblings Bri and Ray O'Dell are lost. Ray—bullied at his Catholic school —wants to be someone people respect. Meanwhile, Bri knows that something is off about her friendship with the shiny, happy, sophisticated blond girls on her field hockey team. When Cullen Hickson enters the orbit of the O'Dell siblings, everything changes. Bri and Ray find an alluring, addictive outlet in Cullen, who opens their eyes to a world they didn't know existed. For Ray, that means experiencing the singular thrill of crime, while Bri quickly dives into an all-consuming romance with the enigmatic upperclassman. As Bri and Ray become more and more entwined with Cullen's antics, and their once-thrilling experiences grow increasingly dangerous.

I didn't find this book very impressive, particularly because of the motives that drove each of the characters. They're unrealistic, making almost all of them hard to connect with. It also starts out really slow, which does make it even harder to read. Also it's Cullen stalking Bri for like the first forty pages, which is portrayed as romantic when really it's just creepy. Maybe the only thing I like about this book was the struggles involving mental health. They were honest, and often authors try to sugar coat it instead of talking about it.

- Chloé, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

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Us Kids Know

- Young adult hardcover

by J.j. Strong - $24.99 - Add to Cart

We all knew about Cullen Hickson. Siblings Bri and Ray O'Dell are lost. Anxious. Restless. Ray—bullied at his Catholic school for being small and timid—wants to be someone people respect or, even better, someone people fear. Meanwhile, Bri knows that something is off about her friendship with the shiny, happy, sophisticated blond girls on her field hockey team. They don't really understand Bri, and if Bri is being totally honest, she doesn't really understand them either. When storied delinquent Cullen Hickson enters the orbit of the O'Dell siblings, though, everything changes. Bri and Ray find an alluring, addictive outlet in Cullen, who opens their eyes to a world they didn't know existed. For Ray, that means experiencing the singular thrill of crime—from breaking and entering to grand theft auto—while Bri quickly dives into an all-consuming romance with the enigmatic upperclassman. As Bri and Ray become more and more entwined with Cullen's antics, and their once-thrilling experiences grow increasingly dangerous, a series of life-changing events threatens to lead the teens down a dark path—one that could forever alter the course of their lives.