A Brighter Fear by Kerry Drewery Review

Kerry Drewery

Publication Date:
September 25, 2012

Harpercollins (uk)

Paperback, 320 pages

CAD $10.99

A copy was provided by HarperCollins Canada for review


This is the story of Lina, a teenage girl from Baghdad. It starts in 2003, as the bombs begin to fall on the city.

In it, Lina fights to survive, to find a life for herself amid the chaos of war, to find what happened to her mother in the years before the war, when she was taken away by the secret police. She also falls in love, with the one person she should never have fallen in love with.

It is many things. It is a love story, both for a country and for a person. It is about an amazing girl, growing up in the worst circumstances imaginable. It contains a necklace, that was lost but might still be found. And that is all we can say, without ruining this extraordinary and beautiful modern fairy tale…


Don’t let the beautiful cover fool you. A Brighter Fear is not full of a warm heartbreaking tale of love and friendship. We find Lina, a teenager living Bagdad during the war against the United States. What has become of her country after Saddam Hussein’s reign?

Beautifully written, there’s a wonderful quality in the author’s writing. I think it’s all about simplicity and the emotions she portrayed. How does it feel to live in fear of your life? Your family’s lives? Your friend’s? It’s unimaginable, yet the author takes great care with writing her fears.

I didn’t enjoy the chapters with Lina’s mother. I felt it broke up the story too much. It was heart breaking to read too. I can’t imagine the pain they have suffered. I don’t understand war, and I never did. There’s always sadness where it happens. And the Iraqi war isn’t any different. I think this touched me more so because it’s not exactly fiction. These things happen. We hear about it on the news, and watch as our soldiers come home, but no one really understands what they go through. This was a healthy reminder of that, and I couldn’t help but cry.

The romance between the two was sweet, yet I wanted it to be more. It wasn’t so much a love story between the two, but a love for her country an what she would do to stay there.

Rating 4/5


“He gave me something different. He was a breath of fresh air to me.”—Lina

“I was living a horror film with no end credits in sight. But this wasn’t a film, or a dream, or a story. This was life. And I couldn’t just press the off button, or wake up, or slam the pages shut. I had to live it.”

“I felt selfish for wanting a life. I felt guilty for not being happy.”—Lina

Giselle San Miguel is a freelance web designer who has a voracious appetite for reading and manages her own book blog at booknerd.ca. She also enjoys writing, design, movies, and photography.