Wrecked by Maria Padian
Published by: Algonquin Young Readers
Date of Publication: October 4th 2016
Format: eGalley (Netgalley)
Trigger Warning: Rape
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.
I’d like to thank Algonquin Young Readers for approving me to receive an eGalley of Wrecked by Maria Padian via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I requested this book from Netgalley after reading the synopsis & thinking…this sounds like an episode of Law & Order:SVU which I used to love watching! I figured that this book would have to be told from multiple points of views which is also a favorite format of mine. The book didn’t disappoint, the author handled the topic well & in doing so, she sheds some much needed light on the rape culture in colleges/universities. Another topic/theme playing in the background is sports related head injuries leading to concussions. We first get introduced to Haley who has suffered her 3rd sports related concussion on the field & is facing the very real possibility of not being able to continue playing soccer in college. Haley is sharing a college dorm room with Jenny who enters the room acting very strangely but not really saying much other than to grab some of her things. Haley & Jenny are polar opposites & don’t really know each other this being their freshmen year of college. Where Haley is more outgoing, athletic, and quick witted…Jenny is quiet, small framed, referred to as “mousy”, and always in the schools lab. Their schedules are set-up such that they barely cross paths. Jenny had accepted an invitation to attend a party with the request that she bring other freshmen females along with her. The events that took place at the party are basically given to us the readers as the story unfolds. Bits & pieces fall into place with every account that is given and just like in a game of old school Telephone, different versions start to convolute the truth.
We meet Richard & Carrie who have just broken up, Richard is a math tutor where Haley goes to work on her math sets & Carrie happens to be the person who works at the hotline set up for victims of sexual assault. Carrie is the person who takes Jenny’s call & quickly befriends Jenny. We also meet Jordan, the accused rapist who also happens to live in the same house as Richard. Haley & Richard find it easy to be in each others company and start seeing each other outside of math tutoring. None is the wiser to just how connected everyone in their lives are to the events that took place the night of the party. The chapters bounce back & forth between Haley & Richard as they tell their sides of the story. In between chapters there are pages that offer a different piece to the puzzle of what really happened that night. So in some pages you may read the thoughts Jenny was having as she is making her way around the party house while extremely intoxicated. These parts capture vividly what it feels like to be intoxicated at a level where you lose yourself in your surroundings. Some pages are the thoughts of other key players who witnessed Jenny stumbling around but who also never come forward. When the university begins it’s investigation, it is days after the rape took place & Jenny has forgone the option of reporting it to the police. In doing so, the university now carries a formal investigation away from the public and the possible outcomes are: expulsion for the accused OR if no evidence or witnesses can be found, a “no sanction” can be ruled & the accused would be permitted to remain in the school.
The way this book was written hooked me in & kept me turning the pages. I really wanted to get to those in between pages that offered a little bit of insight as to what happened the night of the rape but it was never enough. I realized that this was purposefully done by the author to give an accurate portrayal of what happens when a college student loses consciousness due to intoxication & is taken advantage of. The victim would NOT be able to recount details with absolute certainty during the time they lost conciousness (scary thought). I often found myself trying to decipher what was fact from fiction. I could NOT stop myself from thinking about the real life Broch Turner case & how that played out. I felt a range of emotions, confusion, frustration, and helplessness for Jenny. Just like Jenny, I was left feeling a whole lot of anger for many different reasons. Some ranging from where were the “friends” she came with to the party? why weren’t they trying their hardest to look for her? why is everyone keeping quiet? why is everyone more worried about the fact that they were drinking? I mean the questions in my head just kept me turning the pages faster hoping for closure. Maria Padian handled this sensitive topic really well & I honestly believe that this story should be read. Wrecked is a book that sheds light on a prevalent issue in our current day & the underwhelming attention placed on the rape culture within our colleges & universities. I would absolutely recommend this book if you’re looking for a very real take on this sensitive topic.