Publisher: Algonquin YR
Everyone has heard a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shell-shocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny formally accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard find themselves pushed onto opposite sides of the school’s investigation. But conflicting interests fueling conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible–especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict.
Every once in awhile a book comes along that tackles difficult subject matter head on in a moving and poignant way. Some of you may remember my glowing review of It Ends With Us and a big part of why I liked that book so much was that Colleen Hoover was not afraid to shed light on a disturbing, yet important subject. Though the issues explored in Wrecked are different, they are no less important and I found myself thinking that it is similar because it’s such an important book for young people to read. This is another one that I want my kids to read, it will be especially relevant at the end of high school before they head off to college.
This one is told from two perspectives, that of Haley and Richard. Haley is a soccer playing freshman who has just been sidelined after her third concussion and Richard is a sophomore math whiz. Their paths cross in unexpected ways after Haley’s roommate, Jenny claims Richard’s housemate, Jordan sexually assaulted her. At the same time Haley and Richard begin to explore their very new relationship, the two are placed unwillingly on opposite sides of the schools investigation into the matter. The truth of what really happened that night is slowly and painstakingly revealed through small snippets at the end of each chapter. At times this frustrated me, but it was also very clever on Padian’s part because the reader is just as much in the dark about what went down as the rest of the characters.
As details about the investigation are leaked on campus, rumors spread like wildfire. Jenny becomes the target of cyber bullying and harassment and everyone even remotely connected to the events of that fateful night are forced to take sides. Though it pains me to admit this, I found myself questioning if Jenny was telling the truth several times. She was wasted and barely remembers anything that happened, so how can she know for sure that she was raped? Padian was so skillful in showing how this event affected an entire college and she successfully managed to make me, as a reader experience all the emotions and conflicting thoughts that the characters were feeling themselves.
Rape culture is such a heavy topic but one that couldn’t be more timely and relevant, especially when it happens on a college campus. It’s running rampant and I googled some statistics that were shocking and horrifying. What happened to Jenny is happening to young women all across the country and it is not ok. The importance of consent is prevalent in this book and for that reason alone I will be encouraging everyone to read this.
This isn’t a story with a neat and tidy ending, but you know what? That’s ok for me this time. Why? Because it’s true and accurate and I can definitely see things playing out in the exact same way at colleges across the country. Victim blaming/shaming, people only worrying about covering their own asses, and frankly, appalling behavior is the sad and unfortunate truth of what usually happens when a college student is sexually assaulted. I applaud Padian for taking on a tough issue and sharing it in a book that teenagers will actually want to read. She’s created a story that is relatable and well timed with characters that you would see at any college in America. She succeeded in making me really think all the while going through a plethora of emotions that will stay with me for quite some time.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.