TITLE = THE ACCIDENT
AUTHOR = KATE HENDRICKS
GENRE = FAMILY DYSFUNCTION, RELATIONSHIPS, LOSS AND GRIEF
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7- 9
This is a compelling story which gives you plenty to think about.
This may not seem an easy read, initially: as the story is told from 3 different characters and in 3 different time periods (before, after, later). Sarah always tells the “later” story. She has clearly been badly injured in “the accident” referred to by the title of the book, and has now started at a new school. Will tells the “after” sequence; the link to the accident is not made clear for the reader until about 50 pages in – what is instantly obvious though is the dysfunctional nature of Will’s home life. Dad has long gone and Mum spends most of her time upstairs, writing – only occasionally making forays down to see her children. AS the middle boy, Will feels like he has been bossed and bullied by his 2 sisters: Lauren (the elder) has been particularly brutal whilst Morgan’s indifference is just as difficult for him to bear.
The “Before” part of the story is told by Eliat. Like Sarah and Will, Eliat is studying yr 12 but unlike them she is also raising a 2-year old daughter whilst living in foster care.
What gradually becomes apparent is that all 3 teens are living in various stages of dysfunction as they and their 3 families attempt to come to terms with new circumstances in each other’s lives. Sarah’s family has been directly impacted upon by the accident, whilst Will’s family has been more indirectly affected. AS their stories unfold we become engaged in the growth of these 2 teens as they attempt to make sense of, and survive their families – can they affect those who are suffering around them as well as themselves??
Eliat’s link to “the accident” of is less certain through most of the novel but given that hers is the only story told “before” and given that her life appears to be spiralling out of control, the last section of the novel will be particularly gripping for most readers as we sit on the edge of our seats wondering exactly how Eliat and her daughter are going to be linked to the horrific car crash … and dreading the outcome.
What may begin for many readers as a bit of a mystery story soon becomes more of a family drama as we watch the way the teens and their parents (or foster-parents) respond to their circumstances and attempt to change things for the better … or will they?
This is a thought-provoking and compelling read.
Highly recommended (Deb Marshall)