A book review: The Bunker Diary

TITLE: The Bunker Diary

AUTHOR: Kevin Brooks



Told in diary format, this is the story of Linus, an abducted teenage boy, held in captivity in what appears to be an underground bunker. The only way in and out is via a lift. With no clues as to who is holding him hostage time passes by with more captives arriving. Eventually there are six of them. Will they be able to survive long enough to find a way out?

Related post – A book review: Lost Frequencies (ARC)

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This book is classed as young adult literature but I wouldn’t personally recommend it for a child under the age of 15/16 because it’s really dark! With that in mind it will appeal to the older reader that wouldn’t usually go for a young adult piece because it is one of those books that bridges the gap between the younger and older adult years. There were multiple times whilst reading it that I forgot that this isn’t supposed to be adult literature.

It’s wonderfully claustrophobic, which I’m sure is exactly the effect that the author was trying to achieve because it is after all a book all about being held captive underground.

There’s mystery and violence, much like you would expect from the synopsis but there is so much more to this book as well. Friendships are formed, selfless and indeed selfish actions are taken by the captives, we see them turn against each other and work together all in the fight to escape. It’s a great example of human nature and what desperation and fear can bring out in us.


There is no happy ending to this one, it will leave you questioning, so if you are the type of reader that likes everything to be answered at the close of a story then this one may not be for you. If however, you are happy to be left wondering then I can highly recommend checking it out! I’m quite happy as a reader to draw my own conclusions and interpretations so I found the ending quite satisfying but I can appreciate that wouldn’t be the case for everybody.

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The Bunker Diary won the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal but it has not been without controversy. With triggers including attempted rape, addiction and torture it has been widely criticised due to it being marketed as a young adult book. You can read more about the controversy here. I must admit that with a thirteen year old stepson I can’t completely disagree with the negativity. I wouldn’t be comfortable with him reading it now, perhaps in a few years, but not at thirteen.

Overall, it is certainly an absorbing read and if you enjoy a psychological piece that keeps you guessing then it’s certainly worth giving a go. It’s relatively short, the kind of book that you would get through in only a few sittings but as I said just above be aware that the subject matter is difficult. If rape, drug addiction, torture and murder are triggers for you then you should definitely steer clear! I enjoyed this one but I’m not in a hurry to read it again.

MY RATING: 3.5/5

Have you read The Bunker Diary? What did you think about it? If you haven’t read it do you think that you will? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!

Related post – Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: a book that had a lasting impact on me

Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!

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Until the next time…Jess x


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