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This is How We Change the Ending

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I have questions I’ve never asked. Worries I’ve never shared. Thoughts that circle and collide and die screaming because they never make it outside my head. Stuff like that, if you let it go—it’s a survival risk. 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 cr I have questions I’ve never asked. Worries I’ve never shared. Thoughts that circle and collide and die screaming because they never make it outside my head. Stuff like that, if you let it go—it’s a survival risk. 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 in his bedroom; his reckless friend, Merrick. Nate hangs out at the local youth centre and fills his notebooks with things he can’t say. But when some of his pages are stolen, and his words are graffitied at 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 raw and real, funny and heartbreaking—a story about what it takes to fight back when you’re not a hero.


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I have questions I’ve never asked. Worries I’ve never shared. Thoughts that circle and collide and die screaming because they never make it outside my head. Stuff like that, if you let it go—it’s a survival risk. 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 cr I have questions I’ve never asked. Worries I’ve never shared. Thoughts that circle and collide and die screaming because they never make it outside my head. Stuff like that, if you let it go—it’s a survival risk. 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 in his bedroom; his reckless friend, Merrick. Nate hangs out at the local youth centre and fills his notebooks with things he can’t say. But when some of his pages are stolen, and his words are graffitied at 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 raw and real, funny and heartbreaking—a story about what it takes to fight back when you’re not a hero.

30 review for This is How We Change the Ending

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ilikebooksbest.com ❤️

    Entertaining, hilarious and poignant coming of age story! When I picked up this book, I thought it sounded interesting, but what I got was a terrific surprise. I was laughing out loud nearly every other paragraph, despite the dreary circumstances in which the protagonist existed. The story was terrific, the banter was entertaining and the protagonists inner commentary was priceless. The main character was a sixteen year old kid named Nate McKee who has a contentious relationship with his father, D Entertaining, hilarious and poignant coming of age story! When I picked up this book, I thought it sounded interesting, but what I got was a terrific surprise. I was laughing out loud nearly every other paragraph, despite the dreary circumstances in which the protagonist existed. The story was terrific, the banter was entertaining and the protagonists inner commentary was priceless. The main character was a sixteen year old kid named Nate McKee who has a contentious relationship with his father, Dec. The Father’s name is Declan but everyone calls him Dec, including Nate he doesn’t like being called Dad. Nate’s mother was an addict and left years ago. Dec likes to remind Nate how he stayed when Nate’s Mother left. Nate is afraid of Dec though he says that Dec has never hit him. Dec won’t hit a child, but he is not a nice person, especially after too many drinks, and now that Nate is sixteen, he wonders if Dec sees him as an adult and may no longer refrain from hitting him. Dec is now married to Nance who is eight years older than Nate and they have three year old twins, Jake and Otis. O has some sort of mental deficiency, they say that Jake took a part of O and that is why he is not quite right. The family all says this because Otis has a dent on his chest and Jake has a bump on his. Nate has to sleep in the same bedroom as the twins because his old room is being used as a grow room. Dec grows weed to fund his drinking and gambling and doesn’t have a real job. The flat they live in is government housing and it smells. Nate’s best friend, Connor Merrick, lives next door and is much tougher than he should be considering he doesn’t have the size to back it up. He is always starting things with the school bullies and getting Nate into situations. ”Yeah, I’m a worrier. I worry about pretty much everything, all the time. I worry about the big stuff: climate change, animal cruelty, the state of politics, boat people, whose finger is on the button, bigness, nothingness, all of it.” “Some nights I lie awake and think about the universe before it was a universe. Science says there are more than a hundred billion galaxies out there, and several hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone. But how do we know? Who counted? I get why people believe in God; how the fuck did we get here? What if just one of those chemical reactions never happened and we never existed, or what if cats evolved opposable thumbs instead of us? Some days I feel guilty for worrying about the small stuff: schoolwork, no phone credit, no cereal, the holes in my shoes, the stupid sensor light next door that’s been left on for two years straight and beams right into our bedroom window, tricking me into thinking the sun is up when it’s the middle of the night. My circadian rhythms are fucked.” Nate writes in a journal as a way of getting all the bad thoughts out of his head so he doesn’t explode. He doesn’t show the journal to anyone or plan to do anything with it, he just writes. Nate is a very likable kid it is easy to enjoy his thoughts and his story. He and Merrick often hang out at the local youth center because they would rather be anywhere but home. The story isn’t about anything in particular but it is also about everything that this kid goes through and his day to day life. His biggest worry is that he is stuck and has no prospects to move anywhere in life, he figures he will end up exactly like Dec. The story is engrossing because of the humor and things keep happening, though nothing really changes. It is a bit hard to explain, but it was really good and the writing was awesome. I recommend this for just about anyone. There is no romance, but it is truly funny and I couldn’t put it down. I actually fell asleep reading it because I was so tired but didn’t want to stop. I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own. Blog|Goodreads|Facebook|Amazon|Twitter|BookBub

  2. 4 out of 5

    Neale

    Longlisted for the 2020 Stella Prize. If you are a reader who refuses to read YA novels, then don’t let the moniker put you off with this one. This book has a young character named Nate in it, who soon makes you forget all about genre and labels. The novel opens with a prologue. The main character Nate is eleven years old. He is out in the bush with his father Dec and his friends. The little group has a gun and they are planning to shoot, anything that they can. When they stumble across a group of Longlisted for the 2020 Stella Prize. If you are a reader who refuses to read YA novels, then don’t let the moniker put you off with this one. This book has a young character named Nate in it, who soon makes you forget all about genre and labels. The novel opens with a prologue. The main character Nate is eleven years old. He is out in the bush with his father Dec and his friends. The little group has a gun and they are planning to shoot, anything that they can. When they stumble across a group of goats. Dec gives the gun to Nate and tells him to shoot. But Nate doesn’t want to. This opening prologue is a metaphor for Nate and his life. He does not want to end up like his father and his friends. His refusing to shoot the goat, is his refusing to follow in the footsteps of his father, but as you will find out, life has stacked the deck against him. Nate, now sixteen, lives in a town called Bairstal. There are no jobs, no entertainment, nothing to do apart from go to the youth centre which is on the verge of being shut down. Nate has already applied for hundreds of jobs but most of them do not even take the time to send a rejection letter back. Nate is highly intelligent, intelligent enough to see that his future looks bleak. Nate lives in a tiny apartment with his father Dec, whose job requirements are drinking at the pub and playing the pokies all day and then come home and argue with his stepmother all night. Nate has two stepbrothers, twins, Jake, three years old and turning into Dec before Nate’s eyes, and Otis, who may be mentally slow. Nate’s father has never actually hit him, but the hint of physical domestic abuse shrouds the narrative. I found myself waiting for the page where it happens, and who Dec would hit first. Nate doesn’t sleep in his bedroom because his father uses it to grow his hydroponic cannabis, for medicinal purposes of course. Nate hangs out everyday with his best friend Merrick, who pretends to be stupid or slow, but is in fact a straight A student. It doesn’t pay to be too intelligent in Bairstal, it tends to get you beaten up. Nate’s English teacher, Mr Reid is quite aware of Nate’s intelligence and works away at him furtively trying to help him reach his potential. In fact, the relationship between teacher and student is quite a highlight of the book, their conversations and arguments extremely entertaining. The note that Nate leaves Mr Reid when he is sent from the room for sneezing gives us an impression of just how intelligent Nate is. But his raw intelligence needs to be tempered with education and this is what Mr Reid is attempting to achieve. Nate must escape this life. He must escape or be trapped in the same prison his father inhabits. His father, just like Sisyphus and his boulder, goes to the pub every day, sinks all his money into the pokies or horses trying to win big, just to lose it all and return the next day to the same task. This is the future that Nate must escape. The question is how to do it. This is a great book. 4.5 Stars! Kudos go to Nate and another student discussing the poetry of Siegfried Sassoon, the war poet from Pat Barker’s Regeneration Trilogy. If you get the chance, read some of his poems. Especially “Suicide in the Trenches” - https://www.collinsbookblog.com/post/...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    “I like facts. Facts resolve questions, and a question with an answer is a worry that has lost its power.” This Is How We Change The Ending is the fifth novel by award-winning Australian author Vikki Wakefield. At sixteen, Nate McKee is trying to make sense of life. He’s intelligent and engaged, and he worries about the world. He tries to stay under the radar with the bullies at school and the one at home, Dec, his father, while looking out for his three-year-old twin half-brothers. “I worry that “I like facts. Facts resolve questions, and a question with an answer is a worry that has lost its power.” This Is How We Change The Ending is the fifth novel by award-winning Australian author Vikki Wakefield. At sixteen, Nate McKee is trying to make sense of life. He’s intelligent and engaged, and he worries about the world. He tries to stay under the radar with the bullies at school and the one at home, Dec, his father, while looking out for his three-year-old twin half-brothers. “I worry that it's too much hard work to be a good person. If I was truly good it should be easy.” Refuge comes in the form of time spent at the Youth, and with his friend Connor Merrick. Writing in his notebook keeps him sane: “I got a few words down. Not great ones, but that's not the point. Mostly they're just random scenes, fragments of sentences or long letters to nobody. Ideas that probably wouldn't make sense to anyone but me. They're out of control, so they're not poems; they have no music, so they're not lyrics. I suppose they're a kind of alternative reality, a possible reality more than a parallel universe. Like it could happen to me, instead of a different version of me. My notebooks are like my own private well and my words are like stones: I drop them in the well so I don't have to carry them around. I need the well. It keeps me from self-destructing.” If Nate initially strikes the reader as self-deprecating, it becomes apparent, when his insightful English teacher sets the class an innovative exercise to have them seriously consider their life goals, that Nate’s view of his own future is bleak. Perhaps his acknowledgement of the potential obstacles to success make him less a pessimist than a realist, but perhaps he simply doesn’t recognise his own capacity. Certainly his home life is not conducive to a positive mindset or even simply schoolwork: he has to share a bedroom with his brothers (one fast becoming a hyperactive clone of their father, the other apparently developmentally delayed) because Dec has appropriated his bedroom for an illicit hydroponic weed crop; his step-mother is sweet but subservient and nutritious meals are beyond her; and Dec regularly tries to force Nate to consume beer and use the weed he grows. Into the mix are thrown a falling out with his friend, contact from the mother who abandoned him as a child, and the threat of closure for the Youth. When his (very private) words appear as graffiti on the walls, he’s not sure whether to be angry, flattered or worried. This earnest young man easily captures the reader’s heart with his genuine intention to do the right thing. Wise words from a vagrant lead him to discover friends he never realised were there. Wakefield’s characters are authentic and their dialogue is believable. Nate and Merrick communicate in a movie script shorthand and have serious discussions on many issues. When Merrick suggests the bin chicken as a target for his slingshot, Nate counters with a well-thought-out opinion: “First, ibises are only feral because we built a McDonalds on their wetland - they have to adapt to survive. Second, don't you see the hypocrisy in sacrificing an ibis's natural environment to feed consumers of French fries and chicken nuggets, stripping it of its dignity and forcing it to resort to eating discarded pickles, and then calling it feral? The species faced extinction so you could have your cheeseburger. They adapted. There's the root of your repulsion.” It’s difficult to limit quotes from this thoughtful character: “Nance thinks I write things down because I want them to be different. It's not only that - I write them down because I want to remember exactly how it feels to be me, right now. Otherwise my brain plays tricks - it changes things, normalises things that aren't normal. I don't have the data, but I’m willing to bet nostalgia is the brain's way of protecting itself, making sure that you only remember the good stuff. By the time we're eighty, our entire memory bank is probably some kind of utopian alternate reality. That's why old people only tell you stories about the good old days.” Wakefield deftly demonstrates the importance, in the development of young adults, of perceptive teachers and youth centres, particularly where parental support is lacking or, worse, negative. A character like Nate gives hope for the future. This is another brilliant read from a talented author. It may be labelled YA, but older adults will also find this a thought-provoking and uplifting read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Zitong Ren

    Ok, so I found this to be interesting enough, though I wasn’t entirely satisfied with this book, hence the three stars, indicating that while I liked it, I also had some issues with it. Now that I’ve had some experience reading LoveOzYA contemporary novels, I have found that the writing styles are actually often fairly similar and evoke the same sort, or similar feelings that I have with the prose. I can’t exactly describe what it is, but it simply might by due to writers having their own sense Ok, so I found this to be interesting enough, though I wasn’t entirely satisfied with this book, hence the three stars, indicating that while I liked it, I also had some issues with it. Now that I’ve had some experience reading LoveOzYA contemporary novels, I have found that the writing styles are actually often fairly similar and evoke the same sort, or similar feelings that I have with the prose. I can’t exactly describe what it is, but it simply might by due to writers having their own sense of style in their writing here in Australia, that actually, as an Australian feels sort of unique. Maybe I’m talking complete garbage, which, wouldn’t be the first time, but I have found that the prose for some Australian authors, especially contemporary YA writers have this distinct writing style that I haven’t really seen outside of these particular authors. Now, onwards onto my actual thoughts for the book. Generally, I found the characters to be fairly interesting and well written. I probably would have liked there to be a bit more character development throughout the book since the plot is extremely loose and it is very character focussed. While I liked most of them well enough, there wasn’t enough detail to make me really appreciate them. The characters do change, but not really enough to have a proper impact on the overall story. Perhaps my largest gripe with this book is that fact that nothing really ends, at all. Yes, the book obviously finishes, but none of the plot lines introduced are actually wrapped up. I normally don’t have a problem with a story not being completely wrapped up with every plot resolved, as that leaves the reader to wonder may occur next. In this book however, none of the threads are ended at all and was genuinely surprised when I flipped the page and found it to be finished. I don’t know what happened with anything and the author spends all of this time building up character relationships and plot points and the book just ends without anything being resolved. As I’m pretty sure this is a standalone since the ending made it feel that way and there has been no news of a sequel, it left me quite dissatisfied as there was no pay off at all. I felt that there was nothing that was extremely exceptional, either in terms of execution or the way that is was written. I know that many people did love this just by looking at the reviews, but unfortunately, I didn’t. I personally didn’t find to be brilliant and maybe there’s some sort of deeper message behind it, but if so, it didn’t really cut through to me. It honestly just read as another standard contemporary that didn’t really standout compared to some of the other ones I’ve read before. 5.5/10

  5. 4 out of 5

    Text Publishing

    The following book reviews have been shared by Text Publishing – publisher of This is How We Change the Ending ‘When I finish a Vikki Wakefield novel I get a tiny ache in my heart because I’m already missing her gutsy characters.’ Melina Marchetta 'This is How We Change the Ending is [Vikki Wakefield’s] best book and my YA novel of the year. It may well be the perfect YA novel.’ Joy Lawn ‘I’m not sure what we did right to deserve a writer as fine as Wakefield, who captures the bruised vulnerability The following book reviews have been shared by Text Publishing – publisher of This is How We Change the Ending ‘When I finish a Vikki Wakefield novel I get a tiny ache in my heart because I’m already missing her gutsy characters.’ Melina Marchetta 'This is How We Change the Ending is [Vikki Wakefield’s] best book and my YA novel of the year. It may well be the perfect YA novel.’ Joy Lawn ‘I’m not sure what we did right to deserve a writer as fine as Wakefield, who captures the bruised vulnerability and tremulous potential of youth with so much honesty and power.’ Readings ‘[A] powerful, affecting story…stories like Wakefield’s are essential reading.' InDaily ‘My YA novel of the year...[Vikki Wakefield] writes brilliantly from inside a teen boy’s head, illuminating his thoughts and words with searing understanding and empathy, along with hints of hope.' Australian ‘Wakefield gets better with each book, and this one BURNS it’s so good.’ AlphaReader

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael Livingston

    3.5 probably. This is a gripping coming of age story, about growing up enmeshed in poverty, trauma and fear. Nate tries to avoid being hurt by keeping a distance from everything and everyone around him, and Wakefield skillfully draws him out across the course of the book. If you're not a YA reader, this probably won't completely turn you around, but it's an excellent example of the genre. 3.5 probably. This is a gripping coming of age story, about growing up enmeshed in poverty, trauma and fear. Nate tries to avoid being hurt by keeping a distance from everything and everyone around him, and Wakefield skillfully draws him out across the course of the book. If you're not a YA reader, this probably won't completely turn you around, but it's an excellent example of the genre.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I don't normally read YA fiction but I've decided to read the books nominated for the 2020 Stella Prize for Australian women writers and this one is currently on the long-list and I hope it makes the short-list along with the other novels that I've loved. The young protagonist in this YA is like a witty Holden Caulfied caught in a teenage "Wake in Fright". Or a Boy Swallows Universe without the magical realism. Gritty dysfunctional Aussie family fiction delivered with an excellent sense of humou I don't normally read YA fiction but I've decided to read the books nominated for the 2020 Stella Prize for Australian women writers and this one is currently on the long-list and I hope it makes the short-list along with the other novels that I've loved. The young protagonist in this YA is like a witty Holden Caulfied caught in a teenage "Wake in Fright". Or a Boy Swallows Universe without the magical realism. Gritty dysfunctional Aussie family fiction delivered with an excellent sense of humour. This is a worthy addition to the 2020 Stella Longlist. One I might read again, or listen to on audio, because I enjoyed Nat McKee's musings a great deal.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (Diva Booknerd)

    For sixteen year old Nathaniel McKee, survival is learning to not to draw attention to yourself, to keep your head down and avoid confrontation. Living in their ramshackle government housing apartment is suffocating, Nate is reminded each day of the mother that abandoned him for her substance addiction, leaving him with his alcoholic, abusive father who uses toxic masculinity as a shield. Now with his new partner eight years his junior, Nance struggles to care for their two young boys Jake and O For sixteen year old Nathaniel McKee, survival is learning to not to draw attention to yourself, to keep your head down and avoid confrontation. Living in their ramshackle government housing apartment is suffocating, Nate is reminded each day of the mother that abandoned him for her substance addiction, leaving him with his alcoholic, abusive father who uses toxic masculinity as a shield. Now with his new partner eight years his junior, Nance struggles to care for their two young boys Jake and Otis. Otis has developmental difficulties but has responding to cues from Nate of late, angering their father even further. Nate McKee is a pacifist, sympathetic to the environment and sustainability. Avoiding confrontation with his father, Nate escapes to Youth Works, the local youth centre where the quietude and solace allow him to gather his thoughts in a series of notebooks, composing poems and anecdotes of the things he is too afraid to say aloud. Rowley Park is a low socioeconomic suburb where only the resilient survive and for adolescents like Nate and best friend Merrick, Youth Works provides a haven for those without a safe environment at home. This is How We Change the Ending represents our low socioeconomic communities around Australia, public schooling, government housing and often areas with above average crime rates as residents are unemployed and unable to support their families financially. Our elected governments consider them as statistics, they're often our neighbours, our friends or our own families and Nate McKee is a vulnerable young man susceptible to becoming a stereotype. Youth Works is a government funded local initiative for the youth of Rowley Park, providing security and a sense of belonging for those feeling misunderstood, displaced or lonely. The youth counsellors are supportive and encourage adolescents to become independent and motivated, including Nate and Merrick, friends and neighbours since childhood. Merrick is spontaneous, charismatic and a steadfast friend, although underappreciated. Nate is also challenged by English teacher Mister Reid, to think laterally and creatively. He instills a sense of confidence and ambition in his students. Mister Reid and counsellor Macy are important influences for Nate and through their interactions, he's determined to become more than a statistic. This is How We Change the Ending is harrowing, traumatic and incredibly optimistic. Vikki Wakefield captures the voice of Australia's toughest and most vulnerable families throughout our working class and low socioeconomic suburbs. Authentic, compassionate and a remarkable narrative cementing Vikki Wakefield as an exceptional Australian young adult author. Sublime reading.

  9. 4 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    The willingness to expose wounds is a sign of privilege. Vulnerability is a survival risk, so you don’t show it. On my blog. CWs: domestic abuse, child abuse Galley provided by publisher Every time I rate a book 3 stars, I come across the same problem: how do I review a book I had no particularly strong feelings about? Let me start by saying this book was good. Vikki Wakefield is an accomplished writer and creates characters you won’t be able to help but root for. So why did I not feel it so m The willingness to expose wounds is a sign of privilege. Vulnerability is a survival risk, so you don’t show it. On my blog. CWs: domestic abuse, child abuse Galley provided by publisher Every time I rate a book 3 stars, I come across the same problem: how do I review a book I had no particularly strong feelings about? Let me start by saying this book was good. Vikki Wakefield is an accomplished writer and creates characters you won’t be able to help but root for. So why did I not feel it so much? Firstly, books about everyday life rarely appeal to me. This one, I picked up because years back I read and enjoyed another of hers, Friday Brown. But generally, those books rely on their characters to drive the plot and, for all that character-driven books can be excellent (like Melina Marchetta), all too often they fall short for me. And that was the case here. For all that I liked the characters, I couldn’t muster any love for them. It possibly didn’t help that the plot promised by the blurb didn’t actually kick in til around two thirds through, and then failed to amount to a whole lot besides. In fact, there were a number of plot points that felt unfinished like this, as if they were introduced and then forgotten about. But some of that was down to the style of the book and some because they weren’t really the focal point of the story. Besides all that, I did enjoy this book, and if a character-driven story is up your alley, then this would definitely be one I recommend.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bren MacDibble

    So much emotion! The entrapment of poverty and the suck of toxic behaviours! Our poor protagonist has been dealt a rough life, and no space is safe, no adult is reliable, and he cannot make it safe even for his little brothers. This is a smart and funny young man trying to find a path to becoming a decent adult when there's so many obstacles. An insightful look into poverty if you've never experienced it. So much respect for how my heart was broken, stomped to dust when I read this, then lovingly p So much emotion! The entrapment of poverty and the suck of toxic behaviours! Our poor protagonist has been dealt a rough life, and no space is safe, no adult is reliable, and he cannot make it safe even for his little brothers. This is a smart and funny young man trying to find a path to becoming a decent adult when there's so many obstacles. An insightful look into poverty if you've never experienced it. So much respect for how my heart was broken, stomped to dust when I read this, then lovingly pieced back together. Vikki Wakefield is an amazing writer. Please give her all the prizes for ever.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amra Pajalic

    Wakefield is one of my must read authors and this novel does not disappoint. She knows how to capture young people on the fringes of poverty, lost and disillusioned and bring to life their lives and struggles. Nate is so real, I see him in my students, in so many young people today. His struggle of finding meaning, and his voice in a society that lets him down and keeps throwing hurdles his way is so real and poignant. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking book in its depiction of Nate's struggl Wakefield is one of my must read authors and this novel does not disappoint. She knows how to capture young people on the fringes of poverty, lost and disillusioned and bring to life their lives and struggles. Nate is so real, I see him in my students, in so many young people today. His struggle of finding meaning, and his voice in a society that lets him down and keeps throwing hurdles his way is so real and poignant. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking book in its depiction of Nate's struggle to rise above his postcode, his parents, and his pessimism.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    This author keeps producing astonishingly complex tense fiction. Very authentic, very raw.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sportyrod

    A modern-day Breakfast Club. Apathetic teenagers hang out at a Youth Centre to escape their home life. School is pointless as they won’t get a job anyway. They don’t even have a tablet to study like their peers do. So why bother? This bleakness turns itself on it’s head when the Youth Centre is to be shut down. The kids who were at odds with society and themselves are suddenly united in adversity. I won’t spoil it but the situation provides an important outlook for them. The book was generally l A modern-day Breakfast Club. Apathetic teenagers hang out at a Youth Centre to escape their home life. School is pointless as they won’t get a job anyway. They don’t even have a tablet to study like their peers do. So why bother? This bleakness turns itself on it’s head when the Youth Centre is to be shut down. The kids who were at odds with society and themselves are suddenly united in adversity. I won’t spoil it but the situation provides an important outlook for them. The book was generally liked by book club. The average rating was 4. Some self-proclaimed privileged members didn’t understand some of the decisions made however as I received the worst schooling of the group, they made perfect sense to me. I wish that I had learned some of these lessons back then. Also, some didn’t get the teacher/student relationship. It was a little challenging to read a Young Adult book as an adult but it works if you can read it as your younger self. I would recommend this to teenagers who are going through a tough time but need something to hope for.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    There’s a good reason why this book won the 2020 Book of the Year for Older Readers from The Children’s Book Council of Australia - it’s brilliant. Written in as a first person narrative, the tight, sparse narrative is one of the first things to grab the reader (after the clever title and cover design). Nate is holding himself together, noting down the realities around him, to deal with another time. But life is for living, and holding it together isn’t much of a life. Dream - Goal - Plan -Actio There’s a good reason why this book won the 2020 Book of the Year for Older Readers from The Children’s Book Council of Australia - it’s brilliant. Written in as a first person narrative, the tight, sparse narrative is one of the first things to grab the reader (after the clever title and cover design). Nate is holding himself together, noting down the realities around him, to deal with another time. But life is for living, and holding it together isn’t much of a life. Dream - Goal - Plan -Action - Reality. This is what Nate finally comes to learn from Mr Reid. I loved this novel, Vikki Wakefield. Now, I need to read all your other books. Thank you

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    My mind is blown at just how authentic, funny, and real this book is. Vikki Wakefield paints a stark, yet perfect, picture of vulnerability, abuse, and trying to break a seemingly impossible cycle. Nate is one such kid stuck in a cycle, and he’s one of the good ones. He tries be invisible, he tries to keep his thoughts and emotions contained to his notebooks, but he soon learns that some things can’t be changed and others can only change when you’re ready to change them yourself. I loved this bo My mind is blown at just how authentic, funny, and real this book is. Vikki Wakefield paints a stark, yet perfect, picture of vulnerability, abuse, and trying to break a seemingly impossible cycle. Nate is one such kid stuck in a cycle, and he’s one of the good ones. He tries be invisible, he tries to keep his thoughts and emotions contained to his notebooks, but he soon learns that some things can’t be changed and others can only change when you’re ready to change them yourself. I loved this book so much, it reminded me a little of The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis, it may be redundant given the name of the title, but I loved the ending.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    i just read somebody else saying that the characters are “gutsy” and i like that - they are a bit gutsy. i’ve been thinking a lot about disability in books, and i felt like this book included some amazing things along those lines, until one part which i’m sure you’ll know if you know, but this was a heart-wrenching tale that’s all too true for too many people. australian ya in its prime.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This book broke me. I was crying halfway through and continued to do so, sporadically, as I read the rest. Vikki Wakefield has built a well-deserved and highly envied reputation as a searing realist fiction author. Her books always have a raw, immediate quality about them and this story, centred around Nate and his family, has an underlying sense of dread and urgency about it not found in the work of many other Australian authors. Living in a cramped, noisy and basic home with his Dad, Dec, his This book broke me. I was crying halfway through and continued to do so, sporadically, as I read the rest. Vikki Wakefield has built a well-deserved and highly envied reputation as a searing realist fiction author. Her books always have a raw, immediate quality about them and this story, centred around Nate and his family, has an underlying sense of dread and urgency about it not found in the work of many other Australian authors. Living in a cramped, noisy and basic home with his Dad, Dec, his step mum, Nance, and his younger twin brothers, Otis and Jake; Nate is intelligent, and sensitive, but tries his utmost to hide it from everyone, even his best mate, Merrick. His English teacher, the long-suffering Mr Reid, tries to coax some interest out of Nate, but he consistently resists. Nate, Merrick, and many of the other outliers in his town hang out at the Youth, a drop-in centre staffed by the stoic and supportive Macy. When Macy is badly assaulted one night, there is talk of the Youth being closed down; something that adds to the feeling of isolation and despair that pervades Nate's life. Nate's mother, who left him with his father when she was an addict, has re-entered Nate's life, but he can't tell his Dad for fear of what might happen at home. This novel traverses Nate's slow rise from his downtrodden existence through his realisation that options to improve his circumstances might not be as elusive as he first thought. A great range of supporting characters such as Nance, the gentle stepmother (a nice role flip); Benjamin Peros, the world weary student who's not a student; the cagey, artistic Tash; and the stalwart Mr Reid all show us the good in Nate - and instill hope for his future. Nate asks Mr Reid why he left a rich school to come and teach in his town: 'So I could make a difference,' he says, flatly. It's my cue to tell him he did make a diference, but the words get stuck. It's like hugging Jake - I know it's what he needs and deserves, but it's just so hard. He supposedly has all the answers, so I give him the next best thing. 'Mr Reid?' 'Yes.' 'What it, in an alternate reality, my fatal flaw is actually a superpower? Do I ditch the flaw, or find a new reality?' He closes his eyes. 'Thank you, McKee.' The truth is, I kind of, possibly, maybe, might be starting to give a shit. There is so much to love in this student/teacher relationship. It hurt my heart to think about it, as someone working in education, when I see kids like this everyday trying to wrestle with their lives. It felt honest, and real. I want so badly to quote the last dialogue between Nance and Nate from the book's final pages, but because I don't believe in spoilers I will end this review here. Just read this, as soon as you can get your hands on a copy. It's brilliant. For ages 14 and up.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maree Kimberley

    Another great #loveozya read from the always fabulous Vikki Wakefield. This is How We Change the Ending had me on the edge of my seat right to the very end of the novel. Tautly written, great characters, honest and authentic, this novel really puts the reader into the skin of a teenager who is dealing with some of the worst kinds of crap in their life and trying to figure a way through it. I swear my heat stopped a couple of times while reading it. One of the novel’s greatest strengths is the nuan Another great #loveozya read from the always fabulous Vikki Wakefield. This is How We Change the Ending had me on the edge of my seat right to the very end of the novel. Tautly written, great characters, honest and authentic, this novel really puts the reader into the skin of a teenager who is dealing with some of the worst kinds of crap in their life and trying to figure a way through it. I swear my heat stopped a couple of times while reading it. One of the novel’s greatest strengths is the nuance in the characterisation. No one is all good or bad here. Even Dec, the father, has some humanity about him in the way he is determined to keep his family together. He makes a lot of bad choices, and is far from a “good guy” but Wakefield is skilled in letting the reader come to their own conclusions about what he does and doesn’t do, and the way he tries to manage a life that is increasingly out of control. I believed all of these characters. I’ve known people like them at various times in my life. And while it can be difficult not to judge them in real life, through the novel Wakefield shows how people deal with their circumstances the best way they know how, with the skills they have. This is a novel that lingers long after the last page is read. Although this is marketed as young adult fiction I’d highly recommend it for anyone who loves a great read about contemporary Australian life.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ely

    Wow. I don’t know where to start with this one. This Is How We Change The Ending is a book full of rawness. At times, it was almost hard to read because I could feel so much of what Nate was going through. Nate has an extremely tough life, but the anxieties he has felt very much like a real teenage experience. There were thoughts of his that I could remember myself thinking in high school. Those moments almost made me feel like all the air had gone out of my lungs. I don’t really know how to put i Wow. I don’t know where to start with this one. This Is How We Change The Ending is a book full of rawness. At times, it was almost hard to read because I could feel so much of what Nate was going through. Nate has an extremely tough life, but the anxieties he has felt very much like a real teenage experience. There were thoughts of his that I could remember myself thinking in high school. Those moments almost made me feel like all the air had gone out of my lungs. I don’t really know how to put into words how this book made me feel. There are just so many emotions there—it’s almost like a mix of anger and hope. I think this book is going to be really important to a lot of teens, and I hope that they all get the chance to find it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    A sharp coming-of-age novel about a boy growing up in tough circumstances who copes by trying to stay out of everything and avoid caring too much. Nate’s perspective was witty and anxious and thoughtful, and he, his friends, and Nance, his step-mother (who is only 8 years older than he is) and sibling are all quite endearing.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nadia King

    "I think we’ve finished, but then he says, ‘Moments. Just moments, one after the other. You only have to hold it together for one moment at a time.’" One of my favourite young adult Australian authors is Vikki Wakefield so I was excited to get my hands on an early copy of her latest book, This Is How We Change the Ending. Wakefield’s latest novel lays bare the ugly truth of family abuse and how it can be exacerbated through poverty. The statistics for family violence are horrifying; in Australia a "I think we’ve finished, but then he says, ‘Moments. Just moments, one after the other. You only have to hold it together for one moment at a time.’" One of my favourite young adult Australian authors is Vikki Wakefield so I was excited to get my hands on an early copy of her latest book, This Is How We Change the Ending. Wakefield’s latest novel lays bare the ugly truth of family abuse and how it can be exacerbated through poverty. The statistics for family violence are horrifying; in Australia alone one woman dies each week from domestic violence. More often than not, children in abusive homes are witnesses to awful behaviour from the people who are supposed to love and protect them. Even though This Is How We Change the Ending is at times an uncomfortable and confronting topic, it’s good to see this sobering reality reflected in our young adult literature. Such themes are both necessary and impactful. "You hear sounds sometimes. They’re common, so your brain thinks they’re normal. Shouts, breaking glass — nothing to worry about, because whatever is happening is happening outside, or across the street, or over the back fence, so it can’t touch you. And you can’t change anything anyway. By the time you realise that, not only is it going to touch you, it’s going to leave a crack in everything, it’s too late." Nate McGee lies at the centre of his father’s anger. Nate is one of those kids who seems destined to fail. He doesn’t have enough of anything; not enough food; not enough personal space (how can there be any personal space when your bedroom is used to grow a hydro crop?); not enough school supplies; and not enough love. Nate navigates his life with a thick layer of invisibility because that way he’s got less chance of being the target for an outpouring of violence either at home or school. To be honest This Is How We Change the Ending isn’t an easy read but that doesn’t mean that such stories shouldn’t be read. In my opinion it’s quite the opposite, stories like This Is How We Change the Ending need to be read. They are needed in young adult fiction. Tackling difficult subjects requires challenging books and This Is How We Change the Ending is just that; a challenge that hopefully makes a difference. Bravo Vikki Wakefield and Text Publishing for tackling the theme of family abuse in young adult literature. This Is How We Change the Ending is a ripper yarn! This Is How We Change the Ending is due for release September 3, 2019. Many thanks to Text Publishing for a review copy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Troy

    Another great Aus YA novel. The first I've read of Vicki's, but unlikely to be the last. We'll paced and we'll written with some powerful themes. Written in first person by Nate, a teenager who hangs out at a youth club and has drawn a dud hand in the family stakes. Some great school scenes here and the message of how the powerless can be powerful was very well done. A great ending as well. 4 stars. Another great Aus YA novel. The first I've read of Vicki's, but unlikely to be the last. We'll paced and we'll written with some powerful themes. Written in first person by Nate, a teenager who hangs out at a youth club and has drawn a dud hand in the family stakes. Some great school scenes here and the message of how the powerless can be powerful was very well done. A great ending as well. 4 stars.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rennai

    Having come off a fantasy series followed directly by a romantic comedy, This Is How We Change the Ending was INTENSE. I wasn't surprised having read Vikki's Friday Brown and all I Ever Wanted. This coming of age story is told from Nate Mckee's point of view. Nate has decided that he is destined to be a nothing and that the best way to get through life is to keep your head down and just accept the status quo. Accept that you are weak, scared, insignificant. Why does Nate feel this way? Well his Having come off a fantasy series followed directly by a romantic comedy, This Is How We Change the Ending was INTENSE. I wasn't surprised having read Vikki's Friday Brown and all I Ever Wanted. This coming of age story is told from Nate Mckee's point of view. Nate has decided that he is destined to be a nothing and that the best way to get through life is to keep your head down and just accept the status quo. Accept that you are weak, scared, insignificant. Why does Nate feel this way? Well his father, Dec has instilled this in him when Nate did not measure up to Dec's tough guy expectations. Nate lives with Dec (who is often drunk, high or gambling), his very young step mum (Nance) and his three year old twin half brothers (Jake and Otis - Otis is severely developmentally delayed). Nate has an inquiring mind and loves writing - he keeps copious notes in his set of journals. He has a good friend (Merrick) and both he and Merrick are victims of bullying (as well as dysfunctional families). Both seem destined to be swallowed up by their circumstances. One positive in Nate's life is a school teacher who tries to get him to see himself having a positive future. Nate is a good kid and Nance is a good woman (both caught in Dec's dysfunction). The reader really wants these two to escape the tyranny of their current lives and we hold our breaths waiting for the worst to happen. Vikki creates very real characters. They are multi dimensional, as all people are, even Dec. This book is about standing up for yourself, helping yourself, accepting help and making a change. It is also about the importance of relationships. I highly recommend it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sophia McQuillan

    I really enjoyed this novel. It was one I had to read for school but it was so well written and had a profound metaphor embodied in the prologue that subtly interwove throughout the whole novel. Nate himself represented many kids from low SES backgrounds in poverty stricken families and I had great compassion for him being a school teacher. I look forward to studying it with my students.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Clare Snow

    Cover and Title incoming. I'm excited! I'm excited! I'm excited! Did I tell you I'm excited? "Drag me off, before I set my world on fire" - Audioslave Cover and Title incoming. I'm excited! I'm excited! I'm excited! Did I tell you I'm excited? "Drag me off, before I set my world on fire" - Audioslave

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brendon Oliver-Ewen

    Another solid book club book, I would have rated this 3.5 if I had the chance. Not begging for treats or emotion but rather matter of fact and direct, good insight into the life of a teenager growing up in a rough neighbourhood was eye-opening for me as I had a fairly privileged upbringing. It helped me understand that opportunity is often a gift for the wealthy. I enjoyed the characterisation, the setting, the insight, and the universality of the story. We spent some time in the book club discu Another solid book club book, I would have rated this 3.5 if I had the chance. Not begging for treats or emotion but rather matter of fact and direct, good insight into the life of a teenager growing up in a rough neighbourhood was eye-opening for me as I had a fairly privileged upbringing. It helped me understand that opportunity is often a gift for the wealthy. I enjoyed the characterisation, the setting, the insight, and the universality of the story. We spent some time in the book club discussing how sex, race, ethnicity, sexuality weren’t even deliberated on, rare in a book these days. The characters were bound by their economic status rather than anything else. A couple of the characters weren’t as believable (the teacher?) but overall an impactful and easy read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Meg Dunley

    A wonderful coming of age story with complex characters. Highly recommend

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    Absolutely loved this latest novel by Vikki Wakefield and read it in one sitting. I have loved the realistic characters in all her other books also. There is nothing like a book where you feel like you are the protagonist and the author is taking you on on your own journey of self discovery.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Moxi

    Intense YA fiction about the powerlessness of being young and living on the fringes of society. And what an ending!

  30. 5 out of 5

    RitaSkeeter

    Great writer who draws characters so well I end up depressed and anxious because of my worry for them >.<

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