Caught in the crossfire book
Caught in the Crossfire by Alan GibbonsSet in a northern town where right-wingers are determined to stir up hatred and racial prejudice, six teenagers lives are woven together by a series of shocking and tragic events. A British Muslim brother and sister, two Irish brothers who take different sides, and two lads out looking for trouble: all of them get caught in the crossfire. Inspired by the Oldham riots and the events of September 11th, this is a chilling account of current events in Britain, but written with humor and understanding.
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The book is about a gay teen who is a devout Christian, and struggling to reconcile those two things. We first meet Jonathan at the beginning of a month long bible camp. At the beginning of the story, Jonathan is aware of his feelings for guys, but not too eager to try and understand them. Ian, we learn, is also gay and is much more outspoken about gay rights. In a previous post, I mentioned how this book reminded me of fan fiction. That is not a diss at all— if you look down on fan fiction, you probably have never read a really really good one.
Alan Gibbons has made no bones about his reason for writing this book. Caught in the Crossfire is concerned specifically with modern Britain. It encourages readers to look critically at the society in which we live and the complicated ways in which individual behaviour interacts with economic and social pressures. The book opens with a scene in which Rabia, a Muslim teenager, is harassed on her way home from the library. Simultaneously, a fascist leader from London is driving up the motorway, listening to Lohengrin as he plans his meeting with the local branch of the Patriotic League in Oakfield, the town where Rabia lives. These two incidents lead into a fast, intricate narrative that cuts skilfully from one group of people to another. Creed, the manipulative fascist leader, finds himself working with a collection of young louts headed by a middle-aged thug who dreams of Nazism.