Published by Allen & Unwin on March 1st 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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From the author of the award-winning The Dead I Know comes a tragicomic 'bromance' with an unexpected thriller twist, featuring a boy from the upper end of town who finds refuge and friendship pushing trolleys at the local supermarket and avoiding a troubling secret in his own past.
Will Rushton owns a genuine Rolex but pushes shopping carts for a living. His workmates are Westies, rough and tough boys who won't be messed with. But Julian is curious about Will and his secrets, especially when he finds that Will has dropped out of prestigious St Alfie's to live beneath a bowling alley. An unlikely mateship forms, and when Will's past finally catches up with him, he realises how much he's had to learn about friendship, solidarity, and the true value of family.
The Way We Roll follows trolley boys Will and Jules at their supermarket job in the western suburbs. As they become friends and more and more of Will’s situation comes to light, Jules helps him to learn how to be part of a family again.
The story is told from Will’s point of view, but he is the most unreliable narrator I’ve read in a while – barely letting anything slip until there was no other choice. Instead, we hear about the daily trials of the people around him – the people he works with and the various members of Jules’ family. The reader is left to wonder about Will’s father, his sister and his boarding-school childhood. Why is he living on the streets and so afraid of the cops?
The characters in this book just about leap right out of the page, and are hilarious. We all know someone a bit like Jules, a bit rough around the edges and kind of inappropriate most of the time, but has a heart of gold. Jules and his family take Will in at his time of greatest need, which is something I’m not sure many families would do. The boys in this book are so kind-hearted, despite their tendency to get into a fracas without thinking twice. They hug each other and cry together, which is such an important part of friendship but something that I think a lot of young men would shy away from.
The Way We Roll is a very quick read at just over 200 pages, and I knocked it over in one day. It left me with the feeling that most people are essentially good at heart, and that everyone has a story that deserves to be heard. Perhaps the world could be a better place if we all had the time to hear each other’s.