Everything is Changed by Nova Weetman
Published October 3, 2016 by UQP
Source: the publisher
Rating: 4 stars
From the blurb: Lifelong friends Jake and Alex are torn apart when they make a terrible split-second decision that ends in tragedy.
As guilt closes in on Jake, he becomes increasingly determined to confess to the police. But Alex just wants to move on with life. He's got a cool new girlfriend, fancy new house and posh new school, and doesn't want his future to be ruined by a mistake in his past.
Everything is Changed is Nova Weetman's latest release, but it's a story based on an idea she's had for years. Originally imagined as a screenplay, Nova has taken the idea and formed it into a YA novel, with a twist: the story is told in reverse.
At the start of the novel we meet Alex and Jake, former best friends. They've known each other since they were little kids but four months ago, at the end of Year 9, an incident fractured their friendship and they're still dealing with the repercussions.
This is such a unique book in that you could read this front to back, or back to front (I even gave this a go, starting at the end and reading to wards the beginning - it works). It's not like other books that have a prologue and then jump back in time, it really does follow the timeline in reverse showing us how the boys are coping now and slowly progressing closer and closer to the accident.
This is a great examination of character, both boys are distinct and I found myself siding with one and then the other, depending on whose perspective I was reading. It was easy to feel for Jake because he's dealing with abandonment and loneliness. But I also sympathised with Alex as he's trying to make the best of a situation he didn't ask for, while leaving behind the life he knew.
It would be easy to assume that the accident is what drove the boys apart, but as I approached the ending, I realised the boys had been growing apart for some time, with people and circumstances driving a wedge between them. Both of them continue to act as if things are the same, but it was clear their relationship was fraying.
There was an element to the story that made me feel as though I was watching from the outside, I never quite connected with the boys. I also had to keep reminding myself that the events I was reading about were happening backwards, but once I got into the rhythm of the story I found it compelling.
Ableist language: crazy, lame, nuts, moron, dumb.
Everything is Changed is a thought provoking look at the friendship between two boys and how easily the dynamic between them shifts after a life altering accident. Cleverly told in reverse, this story will draw readers in and captivate them.
Thank you to UQP for my copy.