Sixteen-year-old Nate McKee is doing his best to be invisible. He's worried about a lot of things - how his dad treats Nance and his twin half-brothers; the hydro crop growing in his bedroom; the way his friend Merrick always drags him into fights. And he has never forgiven his mother for leaving.
But none of it is his fight, right? He's just waiting for his time. Nate hangs out at YouthWorks, the local youth centre threatened with closure, and fills his notebooks with the things he can't say. But when some of his pages are stolen and his words are graffitied on the wall of the centre, Nate realises he has allies. He might be able to make a difference, change his life, and claim his future. Or can he?
This is How We Change the Ending is a story that will have you on the edge of your seat, hoping Nate will find a way out, despite the odds.
Sixteen-year-old Nate lives with his mid-thirties Dad, his 24 year-old step-mum, and twin younger brothers, one of whom is disabled.
Nate’s home life is far from ideal - his Dad has transformed Nate’s bedroom into a growing room for marijuana plants, he gambles and drinks all of their money away, and is violent when at home.
Nate is not keen on being at home, so he spends a lot of time at YouthWorks, a place where young people can hang out, get fed and interact with others in a somewhat normal environment. But after an attack on one of the volunteers, Youth’s future is in doubt. Just like Nate’s.
Despite all this, Nate’s English teacher keeps encouraging him to look for a better future. Maybe it’s time. But his Mum, who he has recently reconnected with after 12 years, is not ready to help him. Where can he turn for that better future?
Vicki Wakefield writes terrific characters in terrible circumstances that really get to you, and she has a wonderful ability to handle difficult and confronting topics in a real and uplifting way.
There is a fair amount of language, and confronting themes of family violence, family breakdown, drug and alcohol issues, all set in Nate’s very difficult world, making this book is best suited to teen readers 15 and older.
Reviewed by Rob