'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 20 March 2020

Review: This Is How We Change The Ending

Fight and ascend or submit and sink, Nate’s teacher tells his him. Words and knowledge can change the world. 

Encouraged by his dedicated teacher, Nate secretly dreams of things he knows for him, are impossible.

At sixteen, Nate is highly intelligent with great potential and a voracious appetite for reading. But he must dumb himself down, for there is no place for a clever person in his town. Ambitions are too ambitious.

He escapes his dysfunctional family and hopeless surroundings by spending all his free time at the Youth Centre. He also escapes into the notebooks he fills with interesting thoughts, musings and excerpts of what he reads about.

His father Dec, a failed musician, always stoned and angry, wants to mould him into a replica of himself. An abusive alcoholic, Dec grows his cannabis plants in their house where no visitors are allowed.

Dec has married Nance, a young girl eight years older than Nate. His twin step-brothers are as ignored by their father as Nate is.

When Nate’s mum contacts him, his father forbids him to see her. Nate secretly replies and meets up with her. He sees this as an opportunity for something new.

When some leaves from Nate’s notebooks get stolen and his words appear on the walls of the Youth Centre, Nate’s refuge is threatened with closure as punishment for the graffiti.

Who took the notes and with what intention? Can the thought-provoking words plastered in bold script make a difference? Can they initiate discussion to bring about change in a place where there is no hope?

This is not a story sunk in sadness. It is a painful story that shifts and tilts. It demonstrates how change can come about in unexpected ways. It reflects on how bad things happen to good people, and often, the duty of care that parents deny their children, can sometimes be a bonus to their growth rather than a tool of destruction.

This multilayered, complex yet beautifully constructed story will initially stain your heart, then wash it clean and send it soaring on eagle’s wings with the outcome.

Title: This is How We Change the Ending
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Author: Vikki Wakefield
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $19.99
Publication Date: September 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781922268136
For ages: 12+
Type: Young Adult Fiction