Breaking the Silence, by Larry O'Loughlin (Wolfhound, £4.99)

 

Irish author Larry O'Loughlin is no stranger to controversy. His teenage book, Is Anybody Listening?, published in 1999 and shortlisted for the Bisto award, is a strong indictment of bonded child labour, and this meticulously researched new book is an uncompromising and brave examination of bullying and male rape. Abused by team-mates on his school basketball team, and a witness to their continuing reign of terror, 17-year-old Declan is riddled with anguish and self-doubt. With the help of his new friends, Gnasher and Laura, (the main character from Is Anybody Listening?) he learns to overcome his fears and take his life back. A powerful and compelling teenage book which deserves to be read.