“The real snakes in the world? Don’t look like anything you’d expect them to” : an in-depth review of the riveting novel “Wrecked” 

Jenny isn’t the type of college freshman to go out partying and getting drunk on the weekends like almost everyone else at MacCallum College. She studies day in and day out, goes to all of her classes on time and has three jobs, so when she comes stumbling into the room in the middle of the night and can’t seem to stop crying the next morning, her roommate Haley is certain something isn’t right.

In Maria Padian’s “Wrecked,” she tackles the tough and emotionally trying topic of rape on college campuses and how it not only affects those involved and the people around them but sends a message that there is more to people than meets the eye.

The novel is told in a split narrative style, between Jenny’s roommate, Haley, and the housemate of the accused rapist, Richard, creatively giving readers both sides of the stories from people close to the two involved, but also an insider look at the steps a university takes to cover themselves, how everyone around the victim and accused race to cover their tracks to keep their names out of it even if it means lying about the events that led to the attack.

The novel tackles both sides of rape culture from the perspectives of the loved ones around the victim and the accused.

Jordan, a legacy at MacCallum College, is not what Haley would suspect of a rapist, especially when she expects a rapist is some tats-covered dude with a knife and MacCallum

This highlights the notion that Padian is trying to get across that not everyone is as they seem.

Padian excels at reaching out and touching the emotions of  her readers by not shying away from event and words such as vivid details about the night of the attack.

Between each chapters, Padian includes a brief sequence of scenes leading up to the rape, building the suspense and leading the reader to wonder whether Jordan actually did it or whether Jenny was attacked by someone else on the night of the party.

Although the novel is focused on Jenny and Jordan and the rape allegations and damage it does to the persons involved, Padian tackles other angles that add to the diversity and depth to the characters.

There are the roommate/housemate angles of Jenny and Haley and Richard and Jordan and the tension that comes with the situation. In addition, there is Haley wanting to be nice to Jenny, but not wanting to be sucked into the legal side of the situation. There is Richard who isn’t that close to Jordan and knows that Jordan bragged about having sex with “some freshman” at the party that night, not wanting to lie about that night, but knowing that it will cause a rift in their house if he doesn’t lie.

Throughout the investigation, Haley and Richard realize how much the university is trying to keep their and Jordan’s reputation safe, that Haley and Richard take things into their own hands and dig up information themselves.

It is one thing to have all students take part in lectures on sexual assault, but it is something completely different to have them learn about it through the eyes of people instead of statistics and, as in “Wrecked,” see the real life ripple effects that one event can have on an entire campus and the lives of hundreds.

Padian tackles an extremely risky topic and does so flawlessly, keeping the reader hooked from the beginning, but also showing what happens to the lives of everyone involved.

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