Monday, January 27, 2014
EVERYTHING BREAKS by Viciki Grove
Author Vicki Grove impressed me years ago with REACHING DUSTIN so I was thrilled to see this book at the bookstore a few weeks ago. More of a young adult offering, I predict it will be popular with both teen guys and girls. A creative combination of reality and touches of mythology-related fantasy, EVERYTHING BREAKS speaks of friendship and loss in a unique way that tries to make sense of needless tragedy.
Tucker, Trey, Zero, and Steve are inseparable. Tucker and Trey have been friends since age four, while Zero and Steve joined the crew in recent years. They play sports together and party together as one would expect from teenage boys. Tucker has inherited the role of watchdog and caretaker for the group. Not a fan of beer and in possession of a level head, he is normally the designated driver who makes sure the gang gets to and from parties like the beach bonfire set to be their last of junior year.
The guys make a pit stop at a local carryout to make use of an illegal ID so they will have some beer to start off the night. The perfect place for a pre-party happy hour is the old zinc mine on the way to the beach. The huge gravel piles have long been a temptation for Trey. He is itching to test out the red Mustang he rescued from the junkyard and loving restored. He announces tonight is the night he will take the car to the top of Hawk's Slope and as he brags, "fly."
Tucker surprises his friends when he downs not one beer, but three, while they hang out and contemplate Trey's daring stunt. At his command the four boys pile in the car, and Trey heads toward Hawk's Slope. Before he can accelerate to top speed, Tucker yells from the backseat that he needs to puke. He's out the door before the car comes to a complete stop. That's the last thing Tucker remembers until he hears screaming coming from the direction of the beach, and what he discovers changes his life forever.
Filled with guilt that he didn't prevent the accident that took the lives of his best friends, Tucker withdraws. He goes through the motions of school and home, but strange visions begin to torment him. Tragedy has already touched Tucker's life. His mother died of cancer and soon after remarrying, his father left Tucker with his stepmother and her ailing father. It's his stepmother's father, Bud, who seems to understand what Tucker is going through. Dealing with his own disappointments, Bud makes a connection with Tucker that might provide the hope that Tucker needs.
An interesting visitation from the mythological ferryman Charon and the frightening appearance of Cerberus, the three headed hound of Hell, give Tucker a new perspective on the life he has ahead of him despite the horrific accident that took his closest friends. Although moving on is not easy, Tucker is able to imagine a vision for the future.
In EVERYTHING BREAKS author Vicki Grove includes multiple plot lines involving Tucker's past and present, as well as looks inside the lives of his friends and others who care for him. Readers will witness as the characters reveal the tragedies they have suffered and the various ways they have learned to carry on.