Wrecked by Maria Padian
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
After an out-of-character night of college partying, Jenny James accuses Jordan Bockus of rape. She files a complaint with their college in hopes of settling the matter more quietly than if she were to go to the police. The story is told from the points of view of Haley, Jenny's former soccer star roommate, and Richard, a housemate of the accused. There are also little excerpts before (or after? I read an eARC, it's hard to tell) each chapter with details about the night of the rape.
What I Liked:
I liked the message that this book sent. After all the controversy of Jenny reporting her rape and the following investigation, the college hires someone to come in and talk about consent and the take away from that assembly is 'yes means yes'. I like that the speaker tried to spin it as asking for actual, verbal consent can make things more sexy.
I liked the relationship between Jenny and Haley. It felt real. They're not really friends, but in the aftermath of Jenny's assault, Haley wants to do her best to be there for her roommate. She's dealing with a recent career-ending soccer injury, her own classes, and her own problems, but she tries. She has a bit of a rough time with people constantly being in her room and being drawn into some family drama with Jenny. That seemed to kind of irritate her, but that felt real to me. She's supposed to be trying to heal. I can see where all of that would be frustrating, but I love that she still keeps trying to be a good and supportive friend.
Despite things that I found problematic with Richard, I liked the relationship he forms with Haley. They meet through math tutoring where Richard does his work-study and Haley seeks help with her math sets. They don't realize how connected they are with Haley being Jenny's counselor in the investigation and Richard being Jordan's. This probably means that they shouldn't be together right now and they know it, but they make it work and I thought they were cute together. I like how Haley is more of the tomboy type and Richard is more of the hopeless romantic type.
What I Didn't Like:
The one character that I liked the least is probably Carrie. She was so unlikable, but I wanted to like her. She is an important character. She's very feminist, she works the college's sexual assault hotline and takes Jenny's call when she's finally ready to report. She seems like she's really great and caring and supportive with Jenny and that's absolutely wonderful, but with everyone else she just comes off as kind of awful and I was really just sick of seeing her pop up everywhere in this book. And that's really not how I wanted to feel about her.
I didn't really love, but didn't really hate Richard. I feel like he probably learned a lot during the events of this book, but he is the type to use the word rape to describe overly enthusiastic sex and suggests that perhaps some women who report rape are actually experiencing morning after regret. Which is harmful because it leads people to not believe when someone reports their rape. I think he generally has harmful views, but his heart is kind of in the right place if that makes sense?
Overall, I think that this is an excellent book on rape culture. It comes at a good time with all of Donald Trump's disgusting comments and the recent release of Brock Turner after only 3 months of jail time. If you enjoyed books like What We Saw or All the Rage, I think you will enjoy this book as well.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it?