Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Accident

The Accident by Kate Hendrick (Text Publishing)
PB RRP $19.99
ISBN 9781921922855
Reviewed by Wendy Fitzgerald 

The Accident is the debut young adult novel by Sydney high school teacher and author, Kate Hendrick. I found it to be a captivating story and think it is best suited to keen readers aged from 15 years.

I do like Hendrick’s use of multiple narrators and I like the way her chapters alternate between Before, Later and After the accident. Sarah, Will and Eliat each speak to us from separate first person points of view, giving us the effect of 3 separate story strands each with their own timeline.

There is a theory that kids should relate easily to this form of story telling as it mirrors the internet. When kids search the internet they are getting snatches of information from here and there and they have to put it all together. In every day life this is also the case. We are constantly processing random snippets. Our brain filters this information and links it together so it makes sense to us.

However surveys show that it’s not always easy for kids to read stories using multiple narrators. The readers need to be keen readers to persevere. For some readers this style can be confusing. That said, I think Kate Hendrick moves cleverly between the three different points of view. I like the way they all link up at the end. I also like the way the ending was not what I was expecting.

I did engage with the three main characters. I felt for Sarah and her family who suffered terribly in the accident. My heart went out to sensitive Will who was juggling a depressed mother and 2 confused sisters. I admired Eliat’s foster parents who minded her baby while she partied on.

Hendrick’s has written some challenging scenes that involve sex, alcohol, drugs, depression and neglect.

This is a book about families. It’s about coping with whatever situation you find yourself in. It’s about how a pivotal moment can transform your life in lots of different ways. Specifically it explores how a split second accident can change the lives of many different people.

I can see that Hendrick understands teenagers and the pressures they can experience. In my opinion The Accident is an excellent first novel and I look forward to reading more from Kate Hendrick. 

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