REVIEW | Troublemakers by Catherine Barter

Title: Troublemakerstroublemakers

Author: Catherine Barter

Publisher: Anderson Press

Publication Date: June 1st 2017

Genre: YA

Pages: 384 pages

Extract: In three years I will be able to vote and I will still have less power than I did at the moment that I saw that email, which was such a tiny thing but look what happened.

Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who died when she was a baby. She has grown up with her older half-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick in the east end of London. Now the area is threatened by a bomber who has been leaving explosive devices in supermarkets. It is only a matter of time before a bomb goes off.

Against this increasingly fearful backdrop, Alena seeks to discover more about her past, while Danny takes a job working for a controversial politician. As her family life implodes, and the threat to Londoners mounts, Alena starts getting into trouble. Then she does something truly rebellious.

Troublemakers, is a well written coming of age story – discussing topics such as politics, grief and non-nuclear families. It follows Alena – a teenage girl being brought up by her older brother and his same sex partner in a time where there is fear in the air. Alena want’s to learn more about her past, and her short life with her mum but there are secrets that need to be uncovered to learn the truth.

I fell in love with Nick and Danny almost instantly, they are the protagonists – Alena’s – acting guardians who are desperate to try and get things right. And although we do witness countless arguments between Nick and Danny when things get tough for the pair, we can see that they are so in love with one-another. And I just rooted for their relationship throughout the entire novel.

He can’t see anything good without thinking he’ll lose it.

Alena, on the other hand was a character I didn’t connect with right away. And sometimes so of the things she said or done made me cringe a little. But Alena was aware of the times she was being unreasonable, or over stepped the mark a little and to me, that made Alena real and it really allowed me to connect with her as we progressed throughout the novel.

Additionally, I loved the way in which Alena, Tegan and Ollie communicated, and conversed. It was how real teenagers would communicate and it never felt forced, or as if the author – Catherine Barter – was unaware of teenagers today.

What I loved most about this story was, that despite the side story following the attacks carried out by the East End Bomber – a terrorist planting bombs in supermarkets around Alena’s home town – there was no big plot twist ending, no death of a relative, nothing tragic of the sort, but instead we are with Alena when she learns the truth about the earliest years of her life and her time with her mother. I definitely feel that this could of been a little bit of an anticlimax but for me, personally I loved this. It was so well written, and it was something I really wanted without my realising what I wanted. I sometimes feel that big plot twist endings can be forced, and rushed into – that there is no build up but with this ending I realised that we have been slowly learning about Alena, and that we want nothing more than for her to learn the truth.

With everything that is going on in the world the novel was released at a time where certain aspects of this story are all to real, but I did still enjoy it. At first I really wasn’t so sure, and thought that it would be a little too much given the current state of the world however, I think it was well written which helped erase my fears.


I would rate Troublemakers 4 out 5, as although the novel was a little slow at the start, I began to really love the novel as it progressed. And the characters are fantastic.

Have you read Troublemakers by Catherine Barter? If so, why don’t you share with me your thoughts?