Friday, October 28, 2016

Wrecked--Shelf Awareness

YA Review: Wrecked

Wrecked by Maria Padian (Algonquin, $17.95 hardcover, 368p., ages 14-up, 9781616206246)

With intriguing, flawed characters and a gripping storyline, Wrecked by Maria Padian (Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress) offers readers a view of a college sexual assault case that is as engrossing as it is important.

MacCallum freshman Haley Dougherty is a devoted soccer player dealing with her third concussion, facing the bitter truth that "the defining activity of her life" is too risky for her now. It's not the ideal time for her quiet, "├╝berstudious" pre-med roommate, Jenny James, to fall apart, too. Haley, with "her bruised, barely-able-to-concentrate brain," soon learns what's behind Jenny's tears: she "drank some stuff" and was raped after leaving Conundrum, a notorious party house. When Jenny files a formal complaint, Haley becomes Jenny's adviser for the sexual assault case. Good-hearted "Math Dude" Richard Brandt lives with Jordan Bockus in a house next door to Conundrum. Over a few beers, Richard learns that Jordan got "a little action" with a freshman from the recent party there. That freshman was Jenny. Though Jordan is no real friend of his, Richard reluctantly agrees to be his housemate's adviser after Jenny files her complaint.

Wrecked soberly explores a college rape case in which alcohol is involved, memories are muddled, evidence is scarce, and social-media insults are flying. Alternating chapters reflect the perspectives of Haley and Richard who, inconveniently, given the confidential nature of their adviser roles, develop a tentative, sweet, stormy and wholly believable romance during the tangled investigation. In between chapters are short passages that chronicle a more complete, and ultimately devastating, version of events from the night of the rape. Powerful, suspenseful and illuminating. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI.

Discover: Maria Padian's valuable, riveting novel (for male and female high school and college students alike) examines the anguish and complexity of a college rape case.

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