Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wrecked by Maria Padian-- Frustrating Characters Made Me Like This Even More

When Jenny and Haley become roommates Freshman year, they don't really click.  Haley is a soccer star and is super busy with the team and college life.  Jenny is an introvert and very focused on her academics.

Then-- Haley suffers a career ending injury and Jenny goes to a party where something truly terrible happens to her.  When Jenny decides to file a complaint with the university for sexual assault, she asks Haley to help her through it.

Haley feels overwhelmed and on top of it, she's started seeing a guy who happens to be living with Jenny's accused.

An interesting look at how a college handles sexual assault and how 2 students find themselves in the middle of it.

I really wanted to read this book because it's not often that there's a book set in college that is about something of substance.  I'm not going to go on a New Adult rant, but seriously there are so many important stories about the college experience that aren't getting told (I'm thinking more books like Fangirl and less books like Beautiful Disaster).

So, I was very interested to read a book about something as important as sexual assault on college campus.  I don't have all my facts in line, but it's something like a quarter of women will be victims of sexual assault during their college career.  And with the whole Brock Turner injustice happening recently.... well, books like this couldn't be more important.

Having said all that, this book gave me such odd feelings.  I could not put the book down, but I felt so complicated about the characters. I felt like almost every single one was equally sympathetic and aggravating. I don't have to like the characters to like the book, which was sort of the case here, but it felt weird to feel so many different feelings towards the victim. The bottom line is no one should have to go through what Jenny went through, whether I love her as a person or not.  That in of itself made me feel icky because I WANTED to love her as a person and I just couldn't... which is kind of messed up of me, but it was how I was feeling!!  (See what I mean??  That's totally icky)

I kind of think that this book became more interesting because of the frustrating characters.  Haley was put in this really uncomfortable position of being Jenny's sole confidant when they weren't really friends at all beforehand.  But she didn't just roll with it and came off as selfish at times.  Richard (the guy who lives with Jenny's rapist) was shown as the ignorant guy-- always saying offensive stuff, but not really knowing why it was offensive.  And then there's Carrie.  She's this uber-feminist woman who Richard has a fling with pre-Jenny situation, but ultimately she became almost the villain of this book because of how harsh she was.

If I could change anything about this book it would definitely be Carrie.  Her portrayal to me just enforces femi-nazi stereotypes that feminists are man-hating and unlikable and hard-headed.  I also am a tad bit over the over-sensitivity of our society, and this book spotlights it.  There's a lot of freaking out about things that Richard says that, yes most of it was super-dumb and inappropriate.  Maybe I'm crazy, but to stop and have like a LESSON over it just feels a little contrived.  People say dumb stuff all the time, and I just CAN'T stop every time it happens and have a reaction to it.

The hardest part for me was just realizing how hard it was for Jenny to prove her case.  There was alcohol involved, the attack wasn't videotaped or photographed, and her grasp of all the details were foggy.  BUT SO WHAT!!!  It supremely sucks that we live in a culture that it has to be a perfect case for a rape victim to be believed and get justice.

OVERALL:  Really great, unputdownable book that made me feel really conflicted about every single character.  I loved the way the process was shown and it was super sad to see how hard it is for victims to just be believed.  I think we need a lot more books like this!!  It made me feel uncomfortable and I'm pretty sure that was the whole point.

Date Published: 10/4/2016
How I got this book: Thanks to Netgalley and Algonquin Young Readers for allowing me to read and honestly review this book.
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Add it to your To-Read List!!

This Book Contains:
  • College
  • Sexual Assault
  • Dorms
  • Parties
  • Alcohol/Drug use
  • Sports
  • Family problems
  • Stigma

My Rating: 4/5

Character: Richard
Book: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • I think Richard could really use a book like this-- about women becoming useful to society only as baby-makers-- because it shows the dangers of too much power in a patriarchal society.  Also, maybe he could gain a little perspective on Carrie and her friends.

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  1. I've had this experience before too---where I feel like I SHOULD like a character because something terrible has happened to them, but I just ... don't. You're right, though, that it shouldn't matter whether or not you like the person in a situation like this. Sexual assault is terrible, whether you like the person who was assaulted or not.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. Yes and think that's probably what the author was doing with this book... like making it so that the readers DON'T like the victim and making it all complicated.

  2. Adding this one to my TBR. I really appreciate it when a book (especially NAs) in a college setting actually has something about college in it. Most always focus on the romance and drama, and people partying all the time. I mean, these are normal but there are millions of other things that happen in college. On that note, I recommend The Deal by Elle Kennedy and Losing It by Cora Carmack.

    Haraiah @ Random Things In Action

  3. Sounds like a read with some substance, just what I need. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great review and I love that you categorize this as 'unputdownable'! I so agree with you re: NA - so little of it has substance, which makes those with substance even more awesome. This one sounds good!