Forever Changed by Tiffany King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Conflicting emotions expertly drawn through a moving story:
Tiffany King demonstrates a talent for taking a character through personality and emotional changes, showing an evolvement from the behaviour of a child to the behaviour of an adult. In my humble opinion, this is the mark of a good YA story… showing that very transition into maturity. And King writes this behavioural switch effortlessly through a page-turning storyline.
Kassandra is Miss Popularity in High School – a somewhat spoilt and self-indulgent young lady whose priorities are brutally turned around by a family tragedy that takes her father and throws her life and family into turmoil. Burdened with grief, her mother withdraws into a dissociative state, leaving Kassandra to take care of business, and take care, above all, of her little sister. Dealing with her own grief, watching her mother retreat more and more into a dysfunctional state, caring for her traumatised little sister, Kassandra is suddenly laden with responsibilities no girl of that age should have to bear.
Maddon is the abused son of the man responsible for all of this tragedy. He is also irresistibly drawn to Kassandra, even though he feels guilty and even not-worthy of anything but her scorn. And indeed scorn is what he gets as he tries to approach her… she literally hates the boy in school whose father ruined her family. Yet over time, at a carefully measured pace, the story shows how two victims of tragedy can draw together, for support, for friendship, and maybe for love.
I found the story illustrated in a skilful style by the use of alternate POVs – each chapter following the previous from Kassandra’s aspect to Maddon’s, back and forth. This keeps the pace lively, gives the reader a vivid portrayal of what both main characters are experiencing, and takes us through the exchange of feelings which this tragedy has brought about to both of them. The principal background characters – namely Kassandra’s school friends, who should be supporting her at this time – are shown to be nothing more than fickle, shallow and fair-weather friends… none of whom are worthy of much more than a slap across the wrist for being so damned vacuous! The author depicts an intelligent indicator of what TRUE friends should really be like.
At its core, this is a story of two people who are reluctant enemies, but who are drawn together despite circumstances. You can expect the twists and turns that a good story boasts, and you can expect a moving prose that leads you hungrily to keep turning those pages. Recommended.
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