A rainy night. A car crash.
After the accident Sarah moves to a new school. A new place where no one knows what happened to her or her brother, where she doesn't have to deal with the history that's pulling the rest of her family apart.
Will is keeping his head down at home, just trying to get by. Then his sister Lauren comes back, as caustic as always but somehow changed. Will doesn't know what upheaval brought her home. But it's sparking some serious change in his life too.
Eliat's got no mother of her own, and she's way too young to be one. Looking after a two-year-old, trying to finish school. Sometimes all that keeps her sane is partying as hard and fast as she can. Now the pressure's building and Eliat just wants to get away.
Just get into a car and drive.
In this impressive and beautifully written debut, Kate Hendrick sets the butterfly effect in motion. The moving stories of three teenagers going through crucial changes show how random actions acquire significance. How one pivotal moment could transform your life and you might never know; how what you do matters.
Kate Hendrick is a high school teacher and creative jack-of-all trades, with interests in art, design, photography, writing and anything DIY, especially if it involved power tools. She and her husband live in Sydney with their young daughter. The Accident is her first novel.
'For me, it brought back the raw sting of familiarity of reading John Marsden for the first time. Like Marsden, Hendrick’s writing shows that sometimes families can let us down. Her vulnerable characters voice our secrets, remind us we are not alone and offer a light at the end of the tunnel.' Australian Bookseller & Publisher
Sarah, Will, and Eliat are all connected by a stormy night and a terrible car accident, one that left Sarah's leg permanently damaged and killed her brother. In alternating first-person chapters, readers meet these three protagonists at different moments in time: Sarah, an aspiring artist, long after the accident; Will, a neglected brother, soon afterward; and Eliat, a foster child and teenage mother, before the accident takes place and changes her life forever. All three teens are navigating complicated family situations and working through difficult emotions, trying to make sense of their place in the world and their relationships in it. Set in Sydney, Australia (where the author lives), Hendrick's debut expertly shifts between the multiple narratives and time frames, with Eliat's pre-accident plot line building tension as the story progresses, and readers left uncertain how she fits into this puzzle. Though the voices can sound somewhat similar the characters tend to observe and dissect the world in the same careful way it's a minor drawback in an engaging and powerful story from a writer to watch. Ages 14 up.