Heads or tails?

What if? Let’s spin a coin, shall we? Today of all days, when things are in the balance of; well, of what? Will it matter to our future whether I didn’t vote because I’m not allowed, or that Son didn’t get to exercise his rights through studying abroad?

Nicola Morgan’s new book Wasted is one big ‘what if?’, and a very exciting one at that. I’m no gambler, so wouldn’t engage in all this coin-spinning stuff, but it’s fascinating to consider the long term effects of turning left instead of right. I’m almost out of my mind, worrying about what I might have missed in life. If only. But then I wouldn’t have had what I have. And that’s worth having.

Jess has just finished her exams when she meets Jack, who asks her to sing in his band. They embark on a really intense relationship, falling in love, as they rehearse for the gig at the school prom. Jack’s way of running his life is to flip a coin every time a decision needs to be made. It looks like he might be ruining his life that way. Or not?

Jack had a run-in with Kelly some time before meeting Jess, and Kelly keeps popping up, wanting to ruin his new relationship. Jess has a mum who drinks too much, and Jack has had two mums who are both dead.

The book is written in a most unusual way, with some chapters coming in two versions; the heads version and the tails version. It makes you think. Even Jess’s cat gets a say-so regarding what happens. Or sort of. And the end of the book requires the reader to toss a coin to decide which version they want to read. (Does anyone read just the one? I doubt it.)

Nicola has written something quite special here. It’s basically Romeo and Juliet, but whereas the plot may be a standard boy-meets-girl, the way it’s done is so different. I wouldn’t want every book to come like this, but Wasted is fantastic.

There is an all-knowing, god-like narrator; someone who makes me think of Death in The Book Thief or Fate in Just in Case. It’s someone who keeps reminding the reader how very easily things might have been different. Very scary, but also fascinating.

Besides, I’m big on fate. I believe that if I don’t get to X via route A, then it’ll be route B that takes me there. Because I believe I’m meant to get to X.

3 responses to “Heads or tails?

  1. Gosh, Bookwitch, you have NO idea how relieved I am! I was on a long train journey and got the link to your blog but couldn’t open it for ages and I am surprised you didn’t hear my heart thumping! Your opinion means a lot because I know you are discerning and honest. Having been very worried about Wasted – because, as you say, it IS unusual – I now perhaps dare to relax a bit. You have picked up on exactly what I was trying to do, and I’m very grateful to you for that. Thanks and may the chocolate witch be kind to you!

  2. You threatening me with chocolate? Hmph.

    I did hear your heart, actually. It was that loud.

  3. Pingback: Bookwitch award bites #67 | Bookwitch

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