It’s Teenfunked Thursday again and this week Mair Kelly tackles Orangeboy, Patrice Lawrence’s debut for young adults.
Marlon was having the best day of his life. He was on a date with, in his opinion the most beautiful girl in the world, the gorgeous and mysterious Sonya Wilson with her shiny lips and bouncing blonde hair it seems almost too good to be true. Which it soon turns out to be. Things go pear shaped very quickly and Marlon is thrown head first into exactly what he has been trying so very hard not to become involved in.
Marlon is a good kid, he studies hard and doesn’t get into trouble. He’s nothing like his gang leader brother Andre, but after his disastrous date, he becomes more and more involved with exactly the kind of stuff he promised he would never would be.
I don’t think I have ever read a book quite like this, other than Malorie Blackman’s books. It addresses the gang life, drugs and the racial divide in London, something I knew nothing about. It shows how one family member’s mistake can go on to affect other generations of that family even if they have nothing to do with it. There is a definite brutality to that life and it made me much more aware of what people who live those lives have to deal with.
I love Lawrence’s character development of Marlon. At the start he’s a very likeable character, but as time goes on and he becomes more deeply involved in his older brother’s world and makes some decisions which make me internally scream with frustration.
It turns out he’s not quite as likeable as he was at the start, and his relationships with his friends and family take some battering. I like the way his character developed and grew and by the end, Marlon has changed drastically, but at the same time is the same person as he was at the start.
The book has the perfect amount of adventure, mystery and humour but deals with so many important issues which affect many families and young people today. It’s no walk in the park reading this, it’s brutal but real. Incidents like the ones in this book do happen but it made me more aware of the racial prejudice that does occur and how sometimes there’s a lot more to the story than drugs, guns and gangs.
I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys books with mystery and a thrill. It’s a very educational book that makes you think, but be warned, it does contain a good amount of violence and can be quite brutal at times so I would recommend it more to the older side of YA readers.