WHEN OUR WORLDS COLLIDED by Danielle Jawando

A powerful coming-of-age story about chance encounters, injustice and how the choices that we make can completely change our future. The second YA novel from the critically acclaimed Danielle Jawando, perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Gayle Foreman, Jennifer Niven and Nikesh Shukla.

‘Jawando’s writing is incredibly raw and real; I felt completely immersed’ – Alice Oseman

When fourteen-year-old Shaq is stabbed outside of a busy shopping centre in Manchester, three teenagers from very different walks of life are unexpectedly brought together. What follows flips their worlds upside down and makes Chantelle, Jackson, and Marc question the deep-rooted prejudice and racism that exists within the police, the media, and the rest of society.


Title : When Our Worlds Collided
Author : Danielle Jawando
Format : Physical
Page Count : 368
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date : March 31, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Hits hard in the heart and gut
Manunian grit
Real, emotional and beautiful

When Our Worlds Collided was a read that revealed it’s title meaning after the first chapter…and what a chapter that was. This trio of black teens, found themselves together after a tragedy and naviagated it both together and alone. Chantelle, Jackson and Marc all had their own difficulties to live with but Shaq brought them together.

This threesome of new friendship in Manchester all faced different inequalities whether that was walking down the street, just being in class or trying to live in the care system. Some of the things that happened in this book made me rage. The organisational prejudice, the police and the media, were hideous. Ms Edwards was a complete tool and as an educator myself, I hated her with a passion but I know people like her exist which is, I guess, why I hated her so much. But then we had Gran, Mrs Cohen and Dry Eileen who frankly was a hug in human form; I adored her.

This story gripped me from the first few pages and while there is nothing easy about the themes in this book, the writing made it easy. Danielle Jawando has a way of not just bringing these characters to life, but also of revealing their hearts and minds. The mancunian narrative, the places and the locations, brought the city and culture to life. The grief journeys these teens and adults walked were relatable even if the exact experiences were theirs only.

I cannot say how emotional (across the range) this book got me at times. The injustices, the sadness, the love, the beauty, the connections and more than anything, the potential and possibilities were everything. This book was another triumph from Danielle Jawando who has securely placed herself as superb writer of black UK contemporary YA.

Pack your tissues, folks.

There are lots of content warnings for this book, feel free to DM me for details.

Thank you to Simon YA for the early review copy.

AND THE STARS WERE BURNING BRIGHTLY by Danielle Jawando – double review!

An emotionally rich and current story of suicide, mental health, bullying, grief and growing up around social media.

When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart.
Al was special.
Al was talented.
Al was full of passion and light…so why did he do it?
Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan. Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?


Title : And The Stars Were Burning Brightly
Author : Danielle Jawando
Series : And The Stars Were Burning Brightly #1
Format : Paperback ARC / eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA Contemporary
Publisher : Simon and Schuster UK
Release Date : March 5, 2020

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

AND THE STARS WERE BURNING BRIGHTLY is the kind of book you do need a snapshot of insight into before you enter, in this case I do recommend reading the blurb. This is a story about suicide, grief, bullying and social media. It is powerful and painful, chilling and stunning. I think it’s a really important book and it’s 100% worth the emotional investment.

The book started and ended with an author note, I had the privilidge of hearing the author read the beginning note and the first chapter at a publisher event. There wasn’t a whisper in the room and I fought tears listening to her. The reading experience is pretty much like that, the story and the characters plunged me into their worlds, wrapped me up in their fraught emotions and spat me out a bit of wreck.

Nathan was the brother, grieving his older sibling and questioning everything; he needed the why to these events, some reason and he was determined. Alongside Nathan were family, other siblings, his mother, his friend, Al’s friend Megan and some nasty characters. This was a intricately woven story, where as the reader you were alongside Nathan, searching for answers.

“My chest goes all tight, knowing that I’ll never see him for real again, that he’ll only ever be this person in a photo.”

Eli’s character was tangibly written, believable in his cruel manipulations and plain bullying. Tara and Lewi were more subtle in their connections to the situation and how events finally wove together was pretty shocking. Social media was the weapon wielded in this book and some of the elements took my breath away.

The picture of grief was palpable, I could feel the anger, despair and sadness rising out of the pages, I’m not an easy crier at books but I was an easy crier at this book. Nathan’s emotions had the power to affect me deeply as did Al’s short chapter starters.

For me, as a Mancunian, this book was gift in dialogue and narrative. It was written as Mancunians speak, quite literally and I found it easy to sink into. I don’t think this element will be difficult for any other readers, but you might wonder for the first few pages as you settle into this.

Danielle Jawando captured the issues in this book with honesty, she didn’t hold back on the difficult stuff, this was an absolute strength of this book. These issues shouldn’t be diluted to make it more palatable, your heart should break as you navigate this with the characters. I am beyond impressed with this fictional debut and I will be watching avidly for more from this author.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for this early review copy.


Hollis’ 4 star review

Despite what this book made me feel, and the tears, I’m happy I read this book. Not just because it helped to haul me out of a slump but also because this story is so important to read, particularly for teens, and was done so beautifully.

I went into this read pretty unaware, as per usual, and knew only that Micky, blog buddy extraordinaire, has been raving about it for what feels like ages now. I’m so thankful she put this on my radar.

When you’re angry, it takes you away from the pain somehow. Stops it from tearing into you.

I truly don’t have much to say, and certainly nothing to add to my partner’s great review, but I couldn’t not make a point to add something, to repost this, boost it once more, because this story deserves more awareness and, most importantly, deserves your time. It’s heavy but never without hope, without light — just like stars; though they aren’t seen until it’s dark.. they shine so bright.

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