Bomb, by Sarah Mussi

When Genesis Wainwright wakes up the morning after a blind date, she can’t remember a thing. To make matters worse she is strapped into some kind of body armour and is trapped inside a dark, damp room. She barely has time to piece her fragmented memories together before she receives an order through an earpiece stuck in her ear.

Genesis has been “chosen” for an assignment and is now an agent of mass destruction. The vest she is wearing is packed with explosives that can be detonated by one mobile call, and time is running out.

This young adult thriller about the radicalisation of teenagers in today’s society is hauntingly topical. It deals with the issues surrounding radical, extremist groups and what motivates people to join them.

Genesis, under the watchful eye of The Brightness cult, makes her way around London completing the tasks set. But just when you think the book is starting to drag, Mussi keeps the action going by introducing Dave, Genesis’s ex-boyfriend. Conveniently he is a bomb disposal expert and so begins the race to save Genesis, and perhaps rekindle an old flame. However, while Mussi could have let romance overwhelm the action, it fortunately takes a back seat.

The focus on the action doesn’t leave a lot of time for character development. While I felt sorry for Genesis I didn’t really care too much about what was going to happen to her. Given her situation she was emotionally bland and relaxed, making the book feel like it was written for a younger audience. Dave’s story is also unfinished – he ends up on his own mission – but again, it won’t keep me up at night wondering about his future.

The ending is untraditional, unexpected, and will frustrate some readers. The novel could have benefited from an epilogue to let us know if what we think happened actually did. But it was refreshing to see Mussi take a risk and depart from the cliché.

While a little oversimplified and unrealistic, Bomb is a terrifying and gripping read based in reality.

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TITLE: Bomb
AUTHOR(S): Sarah Mussi
PUBLISHER: Hachette
RRP: $19.99
ISBN: 9781444917864

Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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