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  • Mark Szulc

Book Review: Gabrielle Reid

The Things We Can't Undo, Gabrielle Read

The YA fiction novel The Things We Can't Undo, is a compelling, sometimes uncomfortable but important read. Conversations about depression, rape, consent and suicide prevention are difficult topics to bring up, however the consequences for not having these discussions are far worse.


The book is from a male perspective, which I found interesting, considering the subject matter of consent and date-rape. It is not without a female voice or perspective but these are found in letters and diary entries rather than the narrative itself. The novel's complexity is that neither participant is sure what occurred, their perspectives are skewed by alcohol, nervousness and their inner thoughts that they fail to share with one another, a sign that perhaps they aren't ready for sex after all.


The significance of this novel is that it encourages the reader to think deeply about consent. It's important for young people to understand that social expectations should never guide decisions, and alcohol and parties are a dangerous combination that can lead to dire consequences. The novel also focuses on depression and mental illness, a conversation that should be taking place to enable young people to seek help when they need it.


I would read this novel with my teenager, and have discussions along the way. No-one wants their child to experience what these characters do, as they really are things they cannot undo.


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