Sunday 23 September 2012

Destiny Road

Destiny Road by Melissa Wray (Morris Publishing Australia)
PB RRP $19.95
ISBN – 978-0-9859147-2-1
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

Sixteen-year-old Jessica only met her father a number of months before her mother moved the two of them to a new town. It takes a bit of time for Jessica to find her feet in her new school but she’s happy to give things a shot for Mum’s sake. A comment made by Jessica’s English teacher in reference to a novel they study sets up readers to explore the notion of how pivotal moments happen to everyone but that it isn’t only the moment that changes our course, it’s the choices we make that determine where life will take us.

When Dad sends her an airline ticket so she can come stay with him and his wife in the next holidays, Jessica’s thoughts about where she really belongs escalate. Though she wrestles with some guilt, the decision to move in the first place was Mum’s alone and Jessica feels her desire to move back isn’t totally inappropriate. She makes a huge choice, asking Dad if she can move in with him.

As Dad lives in a different school zone to the one she used to live in, the move back involves another change and brings new people into her life. It’s amazing to see how life can change when you make a choice. Jessica’s choice brings not only new relationships with Dad and step-mum but also others. A whole world opens and calls into question how that will change things with Mum too.

Chapter headings reflect what is about to unfold and description is sparse, only given when needed to set up a visual. Otherwise, it’s what happens in the scenes themselves that gives a sense of place and the teen world, with its ups and downs. Moments of angst and uncertainty balance with those of discovery, fun and success and the story gives a satisfying end.

Themes of change, choice, family and friendship are strong and while the story includes teen social life there are no token issues or scenes, only what is needed to keep readers moving along with the core issues that Jessica’s choice presents her with. While her choice was huge, readers are likely find the outcome settling.

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