As I heard it, this is not Celia Rees as I have ever seen her before. I've been reading her books for years and this book could have almost have been written by a different Author - no Vampires, no Historical, no Witches? I had to have a copy of this and I admit, I practically dived on Bloomsbury when I heard there was a limited amount of copies. The book didn't quite live up to it's hype, but that's okay, I was expecting that.
The story follows three characters, all who get a say at some point. There's Jamie, who seems to be the main character but Caro, an easily influenced political activist, really steals the show. Rob, Jamie's brother has recently come home from Afghanistan and his mind is probably more injured than his body.
This Is Not Forgiveness is like a grown up Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli). Caro is obviously Stargirl, only much less likeable and not to put too fine a point on it, a huge slut. Leo and Jamie seem alike to me too, in the sense that both characters become obsessed with Stargirl/Caro. Rob? Nah, no-one in Stargirl I can compare him to!
There was another character that caught my attention and that was Jamie and Rob's sister, Martha. She added a lot to the story and I think she could have replaced Rob easily. During the aftermath of the big event that happens at the end of the book, I would have loved to have known her thoughts and what she was doing.
The plot didn't really thrill. To be honest I was almost bored, waiting for something to happen, after reading the beginning I could slowly piece together what was going to happen. Actually, at the beginning it took me a few chapters to work out which character was which. The story just sort of plods along, mostly centered around Jamie's obsession with Caro. He quite annoyed me with how she would tell him to drop everything and he would, no question, which seemed quite naiive. I never got a feel for Rob's character and I'm not sure what drew him to Caro. The story picks up a little in places, telling you of Caro's past or Rob's thoughts in Afghanistan (which were chillingly brilliant). But when I got to the end, it felt quite rushed and cheesy, almost. I wanted fireworks, but I got a sparkler instead.