WRECKED

Maria Padian

The gut-wrenching, powerful narrative of a college freshman’s sexual assault on campus and its aftermath.

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.

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The gut-wrenching, powerful narrative of a college freshman’s sexual assault on campus and its aftermath.

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.

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.

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  • Algonquin Young Readers
  • Hardcover
  • October 2016
  • 368 Pages
  • 9781616206246

Buy the Book

$17.95

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About Maria Padian

Maria Padian is a graduate of Middlebury College (BA) and the University of Virginia (MA). She is a freelance writer, essayist, and author of young adult novels, including Brett McCarthy: Work in Progress, Jersey Tomatoes Are the Best, and Out of Nowhere. Maria lives with her family in Brunswick, Maine.

Praise

“Outstanding, powerful, and important … This is, hands down, one of the best sexual assault reads in YA, and it’s a book that high schoolers of all genders should read.” —Kelly Jensen, Book Riot

“In the face of recent college rape trials, readers will be rapt … An important, devastating new perspective on an all-too-timely subject.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Revelatory, deeply real, and urgently important.” —Nova Ren Suma, author of The Walls Around Us

Discussion Questions

1. What does the “fishing” metaphor on pages 41 and 42 tell us about Jordan’s attitude toward sex and women? What does the metaphor about college as a “buffet” mean?

2. Once Jenny reports the rape, to what extent is she free to make her own choices about everything that follows? Who respects her boundaries? Who pushes them?

3. On page 146, Richard expresses the idea that sometimes, “yes the night before turns into no the morning after.” What is the difference between this perception and what happened to Jenny?

4. On page 48, Jenny wonders, “How come I didn’t fight him off?” We later learn why: her body froze in panic. This is a common physiological stress response among sexual assault survivors—not “fight or flight,” but “freeze.” How does Jenny’s behavior during the assault—saying, “I’m so tired,” passing out, and being paralyzed—compare with the behavior of a person who is enthusiastically consenting to sex? If a person’s consent is not verbal, are there any other ways they might communicate “yes”?

5. On page 170, Haley notes “Jenny was complicated.” What does Jenny say or do that leads Haley to that conclusion? How does what happens to Jenny influence how others around her interact with her and/or perceive her?

6. If you were named as a witness by either side in this case and had to speak with the dean, would that be an easy conversation? What might you be worried about? What do you think of Dean Hunt’s comment that witnesses seemed more concerned with protecting themselves than with the truth?

7. What do you think of Dean Hunt’s efforts to have the accused students withdraw? Would it surprise you to learn that, in reality, only about 10-30% of college students who are found responsible for sexual misconduct, are expelled?

8. What is “wrecked” in the story? What does Richard mean when he says, “I think this was broken beyond repair” (351)?

9. What does Richard think about the idea of asking, “Can I kiss you?” before Matt Trainor’s consent presentation? What does he think about it afterward?