My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There’s a lot to love about Bali Rai. He writes with a sort of sharp truth that’s bolstered, always, with a lot of heart. He may write about difficult situations but he does so with a great love and belief in his characters.
The Crew is full of love. The titular crew are Jas, Della, Will, Billy and Ellie who fight and love and stick up for each other without question. And they have to – because the world they live in is difficult and they’re always moments from being swallowed up in it.
One day The Crew discover a bag of money on the street. A bag full of a lot of money. That’s where it all starts to go very, very wrong.
It’s an addictive, swift read that locks you in through some very lovely writing. Rai is great at giving his characters depth, even those who appear briefly in the background. This world is rooted in reality and as such, it’s one you believe in.
There’s clearly a strong moral throughout the story, but it’s one that can be ultimately interpreted by the reader which is refreshing. What is worthwhile noting is that it’s not a moral that slips into sermonising at any point. Do note though that there’s some mature themes throughout this book that would require consideration before reccommending to a younger reader.
There’s also an interesting discussion to be had here on the nature of family – whether it’s something you’re born with or you build and what happens when that family is threatened.
I like Bali Rai. I like him a lot. He pushes, provokes and challenges without ever losing the heart of his story, and that’s a skill to be greatly envious of.