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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Review: The Things We Can't Undo

Sam and Dylan are in love. They have been together for almost a year and still haven’t gone all the way. Ryan’s party seems to be the right time. But is it?

After the fact, Sam is in crisis mode. Did Sam consent, or did Dylan force her? They had both been drinking and can’t remember their thoughts of that moment clearly. This gives birth to guilt and doubt, which is followed by suspicion and countless questions about consent, and what defines NO, even between two people with strong feelings for each other. The two begin to dissect their actions and feelings, allowing doubt and guilt to replace the trust and love that they had previously shared, until the situation becomes a freight train out of control.

Sexual assault is currently an issue widely discussed and questioned. This book has used a multi-point of view approach to analyse and bring into focus, the ways these questions are looked at. It uses diary entries, text messages, unsent letters, Social Media conversations and interaction, and reports from School Counsellors to examine arguments presented in this fast-paced and powerful exploration of what consent is, and what defines rape.

Gabrielle Reid evenly covers all sides of a debatable issue about the definition of sexual assault. Impressively exposed is how easily Social Media can support or destroy an individual’s reputation, how suicide can be the only considered option when an individual’s life is destroyed by rumours, allegations and accusations that escalate and end up out of control.

Other arguments thrust powerfully at readers for consideration, are what part do external factors, such as peer pressure and parental expectations play, in causing anxiety and depression, fear and alienation in a person without choice. How strongly can an individual’s perception of a situation be influenced by additional external factors and ‘situational reasons’ that lead to internal chaos?  To whom can young people turn when filled with fear because of things they can’t undo?

Well-written and presented, this riveting novel succeeds in provoking thought and discussion in many areas, and will serve many purposes when conversation on this subject is brought up.

Title: The Things We Can’t Undo
Author: Gabrielle Reid
Publisher: Ford Street, $19.95
Publication Date: May 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925736045
For ages: 15+
Type: Young Adult Fiction

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