The Things We Can’t Undo
by Gabrielle Reid
There’s no backspace key for life’s decisions. Samantha and Dylan are in love – everyone knows it. So it’s no big deal when they leave a party for some time out together. But when malicious rumours surface about that night, each feels betrayed by the other. Will Sam make a decision she can’t take back?
*TW: Rape & Suicide*
The Things We Can’t Undo was a fantastic book that explored a difficult situation so well and examined the details from both sides of a twisted scenario. The book is told from the perspective of Samantha and Dylan, two teenagers in a year-long relationship that decide to take the next step with their relationship and have sex one night at a friend’s party. After that night, word spreads through their school and Samantha is understandably upset from it. She is not only very worried about keeping the secret of their relationship from her very protective parents, she is also left wondering, did she really want to have sex that night and worse, was it really consensual?
In this book, there is love between a lot of characters and fierce possessiveness from friends involved in the situation but there’s also the dark subject matter of rape. This isn’t a crystal clear situation of rape though because it’s between two teenagers who are dating and both virgins but Samantha was also never completely 100% sure about the situation but not able to speak up about it and she never actually said yes. This is an important distinction because rape isn’t just the horribly aggressive and disgusting scenario of a violent person forcing themselves onto someone. Sometimes it’s two people that are very in love and together and one person doesn’t actually want to go down that path but maybe they do because they think they shouldn’t object or they think it’s not a big deal to just let it happen even if they aren’t ready, a concept that some young people may not understand the difference and importance between.
Although the story is difficult and it made me so mad for all the people involved in what was happening it was also a compelling young adult novel that I didn’t want to put down. I truly enjoyed reading this book because I liked the characters, the layout of the book was really cool and I think it’s always great to have more books discussing this subject in an open way, especially when it’s resolved at the end like it is in this book. It was also another great addition to the story because the book was mostly told from the perspective of Dylan, a teenage boy, and you can see that he really doesn’t intend to hurt Samantha and doesn’t understand the situation either until he learns consent.
I loved the journey we went on throughout this story and where it ended because it was a completely foreign situation to me but I could really connect with the characters and feel their pain and confusion. I think it will also be compelling to the younger readers that do read it because it’s set in a really refreshing and easily read format or some chapters being in instant messaging or diary form and social media accounts and posts too. I definitely recommend reading this book to readers that are older than sixteen years old or feel they’re comfortable reading about the situation and anyone interested because it really is a great book. I was absolutely glued to this book whenever I had the chance to read it and so invested in the characters.
(Thank you to Gabrielle Reid for sending a copy of her book for an honest review and as part of the blog tour. The Things We Can’t Undo is out in Australia on the 1st of May!)
Thanks for reading!