Four Three Two One
Author: Courtney Stevens
Publication date: Nov 13, 2018
Genre: YA contemporary
In this contemporary YA novel, a girl reunites with the three other survivors of a bus bombing that killed nineteen people, and together they face the secrets, struggles, and emotional warfare that each has been enduring.
Golden “Go” Jennings wasn’t supposed to be on Bus 21 the day it blew up in New York City. Neither was her boyfriend, Chandler. But they were. And so was Rudy, a cute stranger whom Go shared a connection with the night before. And Caroline, a girl whose silence ended up costing nineteen people their lives.
Though it’s been a year since the bombing, Go isn’t any closer to getting over what happened. Since Chan shuts down every time Go brings that day up, she decides to reach out to Rudy. Just like that, the two fall right back into their easy, deep connection. Facing the past head-on with Rudy has opened up a small window of healing Go never thought was possible. So she makes an impulsive decision: Round up the rest of the survivors and head to New York City. There they will board an art installation made of the charred remnants of Bus 21.
But things are never easy when it comes to rehashing the past. Uniting the four stirs up conflicting feelings of anger and forgiveness and shows them that, although they all survived, they may still need saving.
Right, well this is going to be a hard review to write and its not because I disliked it or really enjoy it, its because I can’t say anything about it without completely ruining the story for you.
Four Three Two One is an emotional roller coast following four teens dealing with the aftermath of trauma, a bus bombing. The story is is full of trauma, guilt, grief, friendships, family, trust, adventure and taking those giant leaps to overcome your fears.
The story follows Golden “Go” Jennings as she tries to deal with her life a year after the incident. Go was involved in a bombing that killed 19 people leaving her and three other people as the only survivors. The story is told from Go’s POV for the majority of the book, there are a few chapters told from Caroline’s (another survivors) POV that give us insight into what happened leading up to the bombing.
Go finds herself on a road trip heading to an art instillation, a recreation of the bus, in NYC. She manages to convince the three other survivors and new friend Becky to come along on this journey with her. Go believes talking about what happened and seeing this instillation with the other survivors will help her and the others move on with their lives.
I real enjoyed this book while it deals with some pretty heaving, heart wrenching topics such as: bombings, abusive relationships, selfharm and suicide Courtney Stevens manages to add some levity and humour to the story making it lighthearted at times.
Four Three Two One shows the different ways survivors deal with trauma, the different ways they grieve, feel survivors guilt or feel responsible for the incident. All of the characters are very likeable for the most part and we get to see how each of the survivors deals with their trauma and grief differently.
The friendships made and lost throughout this book was probably one of my favourite aspects. Go finds herself leaning on a new formed friendship with Becky who is a classmate and someone she would never have thought to be friends with. Go’s family situation is very real and believable unlike some we see in YA. She has a pretty complicated and strained relationship with her parents and they are the type of family that just want to sweep things under the rug and never talk abut the again. Although she has a strained relationship with her parents she has an amazing one with her Gram. Her Gram is supportive, loving, pushes Go to do things she’s not sure about and is always there for her.
The only negative thing I have to say about this book is the pacing was a tad slow for my taste and there was A LOT going on all the time.
If you like hard hitting contemporary stories with characters you can connect to and wonderful writing I’d give Four Three Two One a shot.