Smashed by Lisa Luedeke
Hardcover, 336 pages
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Nothing better than to be handed an advanced copy of a great young adult book from a rising young adult author! Lisa Luedeke’s debut novel, Smashed, hits the mark on so many levels. The main character, Katie Martin, is a star field hockey player who is dealing with the stress of not knowing why her father, a known alcoholic, has left without a forwarding address or any contact. In addition, Katie is left to fend for herself and her young brother, Will, while her mother works in another city as a nurse. Her mother conveniently uses her late hours and distance to justify staying with her doctor boyfriend, thus leaving the kids alone. Although Katie has two very good friends (one male/one female), she stays pretty much on her own, hoping with all her heart to score a scholarship and leave her hometown. Trouble arrives in the form of the popular and handsome Alec, a true enigma to Katie, who ends up enticing Katie to spend time with him, much to the chagrin of her two best friends. With Alec comes easy access to alcohol and bad decisions on Katie’s part. So bad, in fact, that disaster strikes, which leads to mounting conflict throughout the rest of the novel.
This book touches on many topics that are often not talked about in today’s society, one being a lack of parental supervision. Luedeke’s writing of this is quite realistic, and would be a great discussion point for parents and students alike. In addition, the reality of the role of genetics in alcoholism is a discussion that has not been given much attention. Luedeke’s handling of this, along with several other adult topics, makes this a highly engaging and excellent read for high school students.