What happens when you mix teenage boys, a fight club and ethnic rivalries? You get war.
Romeo Makhlouf knows the rules. Stick with your own kind. Don't dob on your mates or even on your enemies.
Respect the family. But even unwritten rules are made for breaking.
Fight clubs, first loves and family ties are pushed to the limit in Helen Chebatte's explosive debut novel.
Written in a language teens will relate to, Bro delves into Australian identity and what this means to many different people.
Attending a generic Christian Boys High School, our main character Romeo finds himself having to fight to defend his Lebanese heritage in a school divided into four groups: the Fobs - mainly Islanders, Lebs like Romeo, Rez - mostly Asians, and Ozzies.
But what makes you a Leb, if you (as in Romeo’s case) have an Australian mother, were born in and live in Australia?
This novel is fascinating for its melting pot of cultures, clashing over nothing really and showing what can happen if this goes too far.
All this really hits home when tragedy strikes close to Romeo, who didn't really ever want to be involved in fighting in the first place.
A great opening to a discussion of difficult topics like cultural difference, violence and conflict resolution, mateship, loss and redemption.
A great read and strong debut novel by Australian author Helen Chebatte that will best appeal to teenage boys 14 + and teen reading groups.
Reviewed by Rob