Book Review: Orangeboy (Patrice Lawrence)

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

Pages: 448

Release Date: June 2nd 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Sixteen-year-old Marlon has promised his widowed mum that he’ll be good, and nothing like his gang-leader brother Andre. It’s easy when you keep yourself to yourself, listening to your dead dad’s Earth, Wind and Fire albums and watching sci-fi. But everything changes when Marlon’s first date with the beautiful Sonya ends in tragedy; he becomes a hunted man and he has no idea why. With his dad dead and his brother helpless, Marlon has little choice but to enter Andre’s old world of guns, knives and drug runs in order to uncover the truth and protect those close to him. It’s time to fight to be the last man standing.


I was lucky enough to have this granted as a wish on NetGalley, so big thanks to the publishers for the e-copy.

This was a great book to read as it’s contemporary but not something I have any experience in: gangs in London, drugs and guns, death and danger. It was fascinating and uncomfortable and I really enjoyed it.

Marlon is the good boy of the family, doing well at school and staying out of trouble, unlike his older brother Andre, until the accident… But when a first date with a beautiful girl ends in tragedy, Marlon is forced into Andre’s world of gangs and danger and things start spiraling out of control.

I loved how Marlon changed throughout the book. He gradually made more and more dubious decisions, each one making his situation worse and worse. Although I didn’t always agree with moves he made, I also could see what led him to those decisions. From the beginning it’s clear that the police aren’t on his side so I can see why he felt he had to do things outside of the law, even if I was yelling at him in my head not to be so stupid.

I really felt for his mum, who was caught up in the middle of everything that he and Andre did. She’d already had a hard time of things and each time something bad came to her door I just wanted to hug her. I really cared about what happened to her and Marlon, which I think showed what life like characters they are. I had a soft spot for his best friend Tish too, and loved how she and his mum did everything they could to help Marlon, even when he wouldn’t tell them the whole truth.

This book is fast paced and tense, with a really gripping climax, and one that I’ll definitely be recommending.