Sunday, 16 February 2014
Review: The Accident by Kate Hendrick
I don't think I've read an Australian YA that hasn't been great. The Accident by Kate Hendrick is another amazing addition to the genre. It tells the interweaving story of three teenagers, jumping back and forth in time around an accident, and slowly unraveling how they're all connected and exploring how your life can collide with others in unexpected and irreversible ways.
Eliat's story is "before", she is a teen mum AND foster child who does well at school but copes with life by drinking every night and partying on the weekends. Will's story is "after", as he struggles to connect with his writer mother and two sisters as they go about their own separate lives, despite living in the same house, and Sarah's story is "later", as her family struggles to move on from a car accident that killed her brother and left her severely injured. At the heart of each subplot is the importance of family, and how the relationships we build with the people in our lives form a home more than any blood ties do. It's also largely about grief, isolation, loneliness and identity, the struggle so many teens face of trying to find who you are and where you fit in. It's an emotional, powerful read.
The switching points of view and timelines is a little hard to get used to at first, and can be a bit confusing, but once you get into the rhythm of it it's quite engaging. You don't want to put the book down as the three timelines converge and you begin to see how all the pieces fit together. Hendrick did an amazing job of balancing the three plots and time periods, making each character sound distinct and authentic, and creating an individual emotional journey for each that somehow complemented the others beautifully.
I loved the way Hendrick used the weather - the drought and a threatening storm - to enhance the atmosphere of the story and reflect the turmoil in each character's lives. The writing overall is truly beautiful, without being too verbose. There is some powerful imagery and vivid symbolic moments that allow the reader to connect with these characters on an emotional and intimate level. It's just such an elegant, thoughtful and well-written book.
Published: 2013, Text Publishing
Get It: Bookworld