Now, some things to point out. This is YA but at the back end of the age-group / target audience, verging on grown-up reading. The central character, although perhaps he has reasons to be the way he is,is not the nicest lad on the planet. He seems to resent authority (his drunken drugged-up mother, teachers, social workers, the usual suspects as it were), just as much as he resents those who use him as a punchbag and as the butt of their jokes. He gets angry, swears and rejects whenever he’s threatened, and is rather amoral in some serious issues, although always with pangs of guilt lurking in the background before occasionally coming to the fore. Contradicting this is his sense of duty which sees him reject the chance of a better life, either in the US with his father, or back in Bristol, where he could stay with his Gran, who he likes and respects, and which would also allow him to return to his old school in Bristol, and be with his old friends in his old haunts where he was happiest. Instead, realising he is all his messed up mother has got, stays in Liverpool.
There are also a few references to sex and sexuality, but in a very general sense, not in the least graphic; for any concerned parents looking for a good book for their kids, yes, this is at times realistic and even raw, but it’s nothing that isn’t readily available on all YA bookshelves and on the TV and cinema.
So, we have an anti-hero as the central character, some rather odd, spooky stuff going on (science or magic? That would be telling.) And an ending which may not appeal to all, but is highly effective.
All in all, a book flawed in some ways at some points, but nonetheless a good, solid read, weighing in somewhere between a novelette and a full length novel.