I think we’ve finished, but then he says, ‘Moments. Just moments, one after the other. You only have to hold it together for one moment at a time.’
One of my favourite young adult Australian authors is Vikki Wakefield so I was excited to get my hands on an early copy of her latest book, This Is How We Change the Ending.
Wakefield’s latest novel lays bare the ugly truth of family abuse and how it can be exacerbated through poverty. The statistics for family violence are horrifying; in Australia alone one woman dies each week from domestic violence. More often than not, children in abusive homes are witnesses to awful behaviour from the people who are supposed to love and protect them.
Even though This Is How We Change the Ending is at times an uncomfortable and confronting topic, it’s good to see this sobering reality reflected in our young adult literature. Such themes are both necessary and impactful.
You hear sounds sometimes. They’re common, so your brain thinks they’re normal. Shouts, breaking glass — nothing to worry about, because whatever is happening is happening outside, or across the street, or over the back fence, so it can’t touch you. And you can’t change anything anyway. By the time you realise that, not only is it going to touch you, it’s going to leave a crack in everything, it’s too late.
Nate McGee lies at the centre of his father’s anger. Nate is one of those kids who seems destined to fail. He doesn’t have enough of anything; not enough food; not enough personal space (how can there be any personal space when your bedroom is used to grow a hydro crop?); not enough school supplies; and not enough love. Nate navigates his life with a thick layer of invisibility because that way he’s got less chance of being the target for an outpouring of violence either at home or school.
To be honest This Is How We Change the Ending isn’t an easy read but that doesn’t mean that such stories shouldn’t be read. In my opinion it’s quite the opposite, stories like This Is How We Change the Ending need to be read. They are needed in young adult fiction. Tackling difficult subjects requires challenging books and This Is How We Change the Ending is just that; a challenge that hopefully makes a difference.
Bravo Vikki Wakefield and Text Publishing for tackling the theme of family abuse in young adult literature. This Is How We Change the Ending is a ripper yarn!
This Is How We Change the Ending is due for release September 3, 2019.
Many thanks to Text Publishing for a review copy.