Review: Wrecked by Maria Padian

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website
The gut-wrenching, powerful narrative that offers a kaleidoscopic view of a college freshman’s sexual assault.

Everyone has a different version of what happened that night at MacCallum College. Haley was already in bed when her roommate, Jenny, arrived home shellshocked from the wild Conundrum House party. Richard heard his housemate Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with. When Jenny 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.

Maria Padian offers a kaleidoscopic view of a sexual assault on a college campus. Wrecked will leave readers thinking about how memory and identity, what’s at stake and who sits in judgment shape what we all decide to believe about the truth.

I'm not one to call a book "required reading" often, but for Maria Padian's Wrecked, I'll gladly pull out that honor. This book should most definitely be considering required reading for not only high school students but for college ones as well.
"Here's one thing I've learned: the real snakes in the world? Don't look like anything you'd expect them to." - pg. 55 (paperback edition) 
Wrecked sets out to answer the question: "What really happened at the party that night?" Jenny claims she was raped while Jordan claims it was good natured, consensual fun. Haley's noticed something's not been right with her roommate since the party, but she's not sure exactly what's going on. Richard, on the other hand, knows Jordan hooked up with someone that night, as Jordan made sure to brag about it the next day, but was it really nonconsensual? 

Once I started this book I simply couldn't put it down. I dragged it with me to the laundromat and my favorite local cafe. I even went so far as to read it between stirring the stew I had that night. I wanted no NEEDED to know not only what transpired that night but what was going to be done in light of it. As a college graduate, I'm the first to admit that stories like Jenny's are more prevalent than anyone would like to admit. It only takes one split second, one bad situation, to end up like Jenny: confused and hurt and reeling from the decision between standing up for yourself and risking no one believing you or staying quite and letting something like this happen to someone else. It's what made this book so addicting, because Jenny could be anyone....your sister, your cousin, your best friend, that girl down the hall you only talked to once, and even you. While I've never been in Jenny's shoes, it was still hard for me to stomach what had happened. I felt for her so incredibly much, especially when everything seemed to be going against her and for Jordan. What made this narrative so intriguing, however, was the fact that it was mostly told through the POVs of Jenny and Jordan's roommates, Richard and and Haley. It introduced an interesting twist to the story, as you saw the two of them not only react to the situation but start to digest as well as take action for what occurred that night. 

Talking about Richard and Haley, I enjoyed both of them as characters. I feel like Maria Padian did a great job of presenting the different questions and discussion that come up with situations like this. Both Richard and Haley don't always have the right reaction nor the correct thing to say. Richard, in particular, puts his foot in his mouth more than once, but I think that's what made them so relatable, so real, because they're like anyone would be going through the same situation. They think through the hard questions, such as well, this didn't happen to me, so should I really stick my neck out for this, or in Richard's case in particular, should he believe Jenny, the girl he barely knows, or Jordan, the guy he's known from the start of college. 

Maria's writing is also on point within this. She seamlessly switched between narratives, and while I had a love/hate relationship with the short sections of text before each chapter detailing the events of that night (because I wanted to know the full story), it was beautifully done...it built suspense and questions throughout. 

In all, I highly recommend Maria Padian's Wrecked. It's a timely and thought provoking book, one that I URGE high school seniors and college freshmen in particular to read. 

Grade: A+ 

Wrecked is now available in paperback! 

Source: Paperback provided by publisher - thanks Algonquin Young Readers!! 

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  1. I've heard a lot of really great things about this one. It's definitely a topic that needs to be talked about more often, but unfortunately may not be my type of book. I tend to avoid books that have rape/sexual assault in the story. I'm glad you really enjoyed it tho. Great review!

  2. Wow this does look good. The topic is one I feel strongly about, so I think I'd enjoy this. I'm gonna add it to my TBR now.
    Great review, Lauren, and thanks so much for bringing it to my attention!

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

  3. Hadn't heard of this - is it new adult or YA? Agree with Julie that I find books like this hard to read, but I think they are so important!
    Jen Ryland

  4. I love it when a story really grabs you like this one did. It covers such a relevant and important topic. Thanks for putting this one on my radar!


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