Angry Young Man by Chris Lynch
"I want you to understand my brother. I don't need you to, so don't get all worked up over it or anything. Ultimately you can do what you like. But I would like for you to understand him. As far as that goes, I'd like to understand him myself."
And so begins the journey of Robert and his brother, Xan. Robert, eighteen, is a driven and although he teases his brother, he is deeply protective. Understandably so as Xan, his rather serious and socially awkward seventeen-year-old brother needs a lot of guidance. Xan hides behind dark glasses attempting to his his soft-puppy like "soul windows". And it is Xan's softness and his righteous anger that gets him into trouble.
Angry Young Man is a book full of brotherly love that quickly turns sinister, with Xan being sucked in by an extremist animal rights group bent on destruction and a loan shark out for their mother.
The problem with the novel is that the pacing is very slow, the real action of the story not beginning until the last third of the book. Yet, the book was good enough that I had to keep reading. Also, Robert struck me as a rather unreliable narrator and frankly, I didn't find him that interesting. He was a regular guy with a regular girlfriend, struggling to get by and go to college at the same time. Xan on the other hand was anything but normal and reminded me a lot of my brother who has Asperger's Syndrome.
That said, I like the discussions between the brothers about killing and how far are we really willing to go to help those things and people that we care about. There is also this wonderful understanding by the end that although we can get hurt through life, we cannot change who we inherently are. Xan is kind and soft and cries easily and no matter what he does he will always be that person. No matter how angry or serious he is, that is who he is and that is good. I liked that message and definitely think there teens who could really relate to one or both of these characters despite their seeming differences. Written for upper YA.