Tuesday, 20 October 2020

WRECKED by Louisa Reid......reviewed by Adèle Geras

Two years ago, Louisa Reid wrote a terrific book called Gloves Off. This was published by Guppy Books. Guppy is the brainchild of Bella Pearson, who is one of the most intelligent and delightful of editors. Full disclosure:Bella used to work at David Fickling Books and was hugely helpful t0 me in the editing of my novel Dido. I also know Louisa Reid, who invited me to talk to her pupils when I first moved to Cambridge. As ever, you will have to believe me when I say that I have the luxury of never having to write a review of a book I don't love. Indeed, I give up books I'm not keen on very speedily indeed. 

I had no such problems with this book. It’s written in a form Reid first used in Gloves Off, a free- form poetry that works well to speed up action and uses rhyme, rhythm, and all the prosodic resources of more traditional verse to raise the emotional temperature and produce a narrative of great power and deep feeling.

Joe, who’s just done his A-Levels, has been involved in a car accident in which a woman in another car died. We see the trial unfold and the court room drama is interrupted by flashbacks to the relationship between Joe and Imogen, who first fell in love when they were fourteen years old.  Joe’s father is dying. Imogen’s family is wealthy. I’m giving away no spoilers but the really admirable thing about ‘Wrecked’ is the nuanced picture it paints of young love. It’s also good on families, school, and the justice system. If I were a teacher I’d give it to all reluctant readers who will rejoice at the sight of very few words on the page. It's also for anyone who loves a  good love story. Fans of courtroom drama will be enthralled. 

I usually quote a passage from a book I’m reviewing but I don't trust myself to reproduce the typography so here’s a photograph of one of the pages: 

It's shelved under YA I'm sure but I loved it and I have grandchildren of Joe and Imogen's age  And yes, I confess....there were tears along the way. 


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