Review: Cuts Both Ways by Candice Braithwaite

Title: Cuts Both Ways

Author: Candice Braithwaite

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

The Blurb

Love is never just black and white…

A sharp and authentic love story about 16-year-old Cynthia, who finds herself caught between two brothers: one who is Black and the other who is white. Tackling the complexities of growing up Black and British, Cuts Both Ways is the first fiction title from the Sunday Times best-selling Candice Brathwaite, author of I Am Not Your Baby Mother.

London is everything to Cynthia, so when her parents move her to a place where there is only one bus an hour and the faint smell of horse manure continuously permeates the air, it’s a culture shock, to say the least. As is transitioning to a private school.

At her new school, Cynthia immediately finds herself caught between two brothers – head boy Thomas, who is white, and his adopted Black brother, Isaac. There is something about Isaac she cannot quite get enough of … but her father wants her to partner up with someone like Thomas, someone who will be ‘better for her future prospects’.

When it turns out the brothers have been keeping secrets from her, secrets that link back to the life Cynthia thought she had left behind in London, she realises that not everything is as it seems.

How can Cynthia follow her heart when it’s being torn in two?

An exploration of race, class, love and the complexities of growing up as a Black British teen, from bestselling author Candice Brathwaite.

The Review

Wow. Where do I even begin with this book. Cuts Both Ways is like an onion. There are layers. On the surface level it is about a boy and a girl who fall in love. On a deeper level it is a Romeo and Juliet tale with a basis in crime. On a deeper level it is about the socio-political and economic values and expectations that the BPOC community face on a daily basis.

It is the story about Cynthia. She is starting a new school and leaving her old life in London behind. The murder of her older brother has had her family moving away from the living memory of the crime but Cynthia struggles when it comes to her new way of life.

In her school she meets a plethora of new people some kind and some not so much. However, it is when she meets brothers Thomas and Isaac that things really start to unravel.

When Cynthia discovers a shocking secret about one of the brothers her whole new life begins to unfold once again. Cynthia is torn between feelings of love and feelings of loyalty.

Cuts Both Ways was a really powerful read and its ending – whilst not ambiguous – certainly allows for more of the story to be told and I really home that Candice Braithwaite turns it into a series.

Cuts Both Ways by Candice Braithwaite is available now.

For more information regarding Candice Braithwaite (@candicebraithwaite) please visit her Instagram account.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) please visit www.hachettechildrens.co.uk.

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