Wrecked by Louisa Reid

Louisa is an author local to my work and launched her previous book, Gloves Off, there last year. I have to admit I was still finding my feet and desperately catching up on reading after Mat Leave then so still haven’t read it, but I definitely plan to after reading this one.

Wrecked is a verse novel (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – verse is going to explode I think!) which tells Joe’s story as he faces charges for death by dangerous driving after his involvement in a late night car crash that sees the driver of the other car killed.

As the trial approaches, we look back at Joe’s relationship with Imogen (who was in the car with him) and see them move from something seemingly ‘perfect’ to something corrosive and self-destructive that neither of them can/will walk away from.

It’s hard to say too much about this without spoilers; even talking more about their relationship, the court case or Joe himself feels like it would give away too much – part of what’s great about this book is how all its small parts, all the seemingly incidental events gradually drip, drip, drips into something bigger.

And with hindsight at the end if the book, its easy to reflect on the events that led up to it and see them for what they were.

Challenging stereotypes and tackling ingrained and often unspoken about prejudices and ideas in a very clever way, the book also addresses manipulation, mental health and the often insidious nature of both.

It comes as no surprise that Louisa is a secondary school teacher – the young characters she’s written all feel and sound incredibly real.

Moving, believable and tense, this is an absolutely gripping read that had me silently willing Joe on and desperate to see how everything played out, although I almost couldn’t bear to read the outcome to his trial.

A cleverly written and compelling book that will have you angry, emotional and on the edge of your seat.

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