Carnegie Medal Winners, Young Adult and Children's Fiction
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The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (The Book that Changed Children’s Literature for Me, Forever)

Kevin Brooks is an English author of predominately young-adult novels, many of which deal with themes rarely covered in other literature aimed towards this demographic. The Bunker Diary, published in 2013, is one of these progressive novels, it is also one of the most harrowing books I have ever read. I cannot put enough emphasis on how chilling and disturbing I found this novel. There seems to be some unwritten rule that there must be some sort of equilibrium when it comes to books for younger readers. The Bunker Diary defies this rule with one of the most terrifying endings to a story I have ever had to endure. The book was the controversial winner of 2014 Carnegie Medal. The Telegraph went on to ask “Why wish this book on a child?” and labelled the novel “a vile and dangerous story”.  I have to agree that this is a dangerous and vile story, but it is also brave and radical, and I happen to wish more older children would pick this book up!

I can’t belbunker diaryieve I fell for it.

It was still dark when I woke up this morning.

As soon as my eyes opened I knew where I was.

A low-ceilinged rectangular building made entirely of whitewashed concrete.

There are six little rooms along the main corridor.

There are no windows. No doors. The lift is the only way in or out.

What’s he going to do to me?

What am I going to do?

If I’m right, the lift will come down in five minutes.

It did. Only this time it wasn’t empty . . .

The Bunker Diary unsurprisingly is written in diary format. The author of our narrative is Linus, a kidnapped teenage boy from a wealthy background. I’m not going to say much more about the plot than that. I can’t. I can only plead with you to please go and read this book! Not only is Kevin Brooks’s fast paced style satisfying and addictive, he covers many issues seldom taken on so boldly in young-adult fiction. Physical and mental abuse, murder, sexual assault and addiction, not the subject matter we expect children to be comprehending. There are those who claim that these themes should not be covered at all within young-adult literature, to those I say, YOU’RE WRONG! How much longer will we inflict such disrespect upon young minds. If you believe the first time a teenager will come across these subjects is within the pages of this book then you’re delusional. Kevin Brooks has not only delivered an important book to challenge young readers, he has combated the injustice served when we try and control what the youth of today are allowed to be exposed to. I’m not claiming that young children should read this book, but I have proudly and defiantly recommended this to those over the age of 13 and I will continue to do so. The Bunker Diary has changed how I view the role of literature for younger audiences. Yes, I couldn’t sleep when I finished reading the final pages. Yes, I still tremble at the memory of some of the latter stages of the book. Yes, you should read it!

I’m sorry if you’re disappointed I haven’t discussed the narrative in as much detail as you would like. I believe if I was to give anything more away about the book than I already have then I would completely undermine the power and potential it holds.

BB Rating: 4.3/5

Follow me on Twitter: @ByfordsBooks



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