Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dawn by Kevin Brooks

(American version titled DAWN; cover image not available)

Grade: B


Dawn Bundy lives in a cave. In her head. Where she's been hiding for two years.

Hiding behind headphones. From the two hottest girls at school, in their impossibly short skirts and unbearably tight tops, their razor-sharp cheekbones and taut, smooth shoulders close enough to touch.

Not talking to her mother, not about what matters.

Not thinking about her dad, the drug addict, the ex-con, born-again but far gone.

Two years is a long time. Enough for the cave to grow so small that her breath feels like stone in her throat.

Two years is no time at all. Nowhere near enough to forget. To pretend that nothing happened. Deep one perfect morning.


Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 9/10
Overall Enjoyment: 5/10
Ending: 5/10
Voice: 6/10
Plot: 7/10
Setting: 7/10
Total Score: 49/70

Obtained: Finished copy sent by publisher (Chicken House--SCHOLASTIC USA)

Age Appropriate? R

Cussing: Quite frequently, some rather offensive language.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Lots of teen drinking and drunkenness; a lot of smoking and drug use by teens and adults.
Sexual Content: Implied rape and some same-sex speculation, etc.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Murder, graphic images, rape.


There was something very feverish about this book, some kind of hazy fogginess to the writing. It wasn't difficult to read, but the distant tone made it hard to read with a clear head. It was almost like a dream at some points. This quality was directly related to Dawn's situation, to her character, and it made the book frighteningly believable, even if it was a little disconnected to reality.

Kevin Brooks' writing is curious. Although technically the book is written from Dawn's point of view, I would argue that it is written from the perspective of Dawn's brain. There is so much rambling and thought-process and random memories and sensations that aren't usually included in writing, but here made it all the more effective. By weaving in song lyrics and themes related to the 80's band The Jesus and Mary Chain, Brooks creates a poetic, emotional story of struggle, pain, forgiveness, and love.

Dawn (or Killing God in the UK) has cynical religious undertones (hence the UK title. cough cough) that really put in perspective Dawn's personal struggle. It was a touch that added interest, intrigue, and a little horror. Why does she want to kill God? Why does she ostracize herself from society? Why is there a cave in her head? There's only one way to find out...


The Jesus and Mary Chain Official Site
Darklands (JAMC, 1987) Lyrics

(this is the album that is most influential in the novel)


  1. It's caught my attention. But the title is so off the wall. Great review.

  2. O not my type of book. But thank you for the great review and warnings.

  3. i thought it was a very deep and powerful read. I felt like i was Dawn, when reading the book. The fact that there is alot of talk of religion kind of got me bored at some places. but over all it was a great book!


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