Wasted (by Nicola Morgan)

15 01 2011

Nicola Morgan’s Wasted can best be described as a philosophical approach of your run of the mill love story. It’s the philosophical angle, of course, that makes this young adult novel stand out from the crowd. (Btw, butt-ugly cover!)

In this unconventional love story, told by an omniscient  narrator (one of the key factors in this book) we meet Jack and Jess – two teenagers on the brink of adulthood about to make life-determining choices. In ‘normal’ life, when a boy meets a girl there are of course plenty mundane ‘what ifs’.  What if he doesn’t like me the same way I like him? What if I wear this T-shirt instead of that? What if he meets his ex again and discovers he still likes her… Nicola Morgan takes the ‘what if’ situation of every relationship and almost turns it into a philosophical treatise on chance, luck and other such deep-thought notions.

Jack is literally obsessed with luck. The concept of Schrödinger’s Cat literally runs through his life like a lifeline. Chance (or coincidence) is not an option for him. He’s designed his entire life around the tossing of a coin. Major decisions he makes are left up to luck. This is also what Nicola Morgan tries to do throughout the novel: she lets us see the heads and tails side of the same story. What if? Now as a reader, you’re undeniably predisposed to turn toward a particular outcome of the story, but Morgan challenges us to toss the coin and to go with what the coin decides: lucky or unlucky?

Wasted is thought-provoking and at times it’ll make your head spin. It’s often a bit too much, though, to ‘enjoy’ the writing on the most basic level. But, definitely props to Morgan for challenging her readership in this way.

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