Everything is Changed (Nova Weetman, UQP)
Nova Weetman established her ability to portray complex friendships with Frankie and Joely, and with Everything is Changed, she takes it to the next level. The story follows the devastating unravelling of the lifelong friendship between James and Alex following a tragedy. Weetman explores theories of cause and effect, and chance, and demonstrates just how many lives can be torn apart by a single action, without ever resorting to didacticism. While there are many similarly beautifully crafted tales of grief in YA, such as Claire Zorn’s The Protected and Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere, what makes Everything is Changed unique is that events are told in reverse. This constructs layers of grief in satisfyingly unexpected ways, while adding the suspense of a whodunit. The weakness of this book is minor: although it is told in alternating viewpoints, the voices of James and Alex aren’t always distinct enough to readily tell apart, particularly in scenes that are dialogue-heavy. Intricate without being complicated, Everything is Changed will appeal to both older readers and younger teens. It’s an engaging and beautiful story that cements Weetman as a go-to author when recommending books.
Jordi Kerr is a freelance reviewer and youth literature advocate, formerly with the Centre for Youth Literature