Review-Chris Lynch’s “Angry Young Man”

The once-good relationship between two half brothers and their mother grows tense as Ma’s money grows thinner and Robert’s brother Xan’s behavior grows stranger. Xan’s tendency to care a lot (perhaps too much) about everything and his ability to be persuaded prove to be curses-especially when he makes the wrong friends. Robert tries to help him get back on the right track, to show him that there’s a place for his big heart right at home.

I very much enjoyed the two main characters, Robert and Xan, for several reasons. Both of them are out of high school, which isn’t something I see a lot in teen fiction. Also, the story focuses mostly on Xan and his struggle to be accepted; yet the narrator is his older brother, Robert. Sometimes viewing a unique character from the outside makes that character seem stronger and even more intriguing-that was definitely the case with this book.

I would consider the book general fiction, but it has an original quality that sets it apart from the rest. Lynch crafted a story that stands out, without using any clichés (no vampires here!).

For me, the book started out slow and gradually built up toward the end. I think the story could have easily been more of a thriller had less time been spent developing the relationships between the characters. (Character development is great, but sometimes revealing a key detail near the end makes a book more fun and interesting.) The writing was pretty good, although many of the characters spoke in the same way. There weren’t many distinguishable changes in tone or dialect when a new character started talking.

There isn’t anything too special about the format-it’s straightforward, but good. I would recommend this book to high school readers, since some of the story’s elements are very mature. Also, there’s a sprinkling of obscenity. Not too much, but just enough to add some drama and give the book a “PG-13” rating.

Angry Young Man tells an original story with some memorable characters. Overall, I’d say the book could have moved faster, but it’s a quick read anyway (just over 150 pages). Some characters are a bit dull and some parts are slow, but it’s worth the read to get to the ending. This story hooked me and made me care about how this angry young man finds his way in the world.


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