Author: Mercedes Helnwein
Length: approx. 350 pages
Genre: young adult, romance
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publish Date: April 27, 2021
Date Read: January 01, 2021
Type Read: digital arc, via NetGalley
Grace Welles had resigned herself to the particular loneliness of being fifteen and stuck at a third-tier boarding school in the swamps of Florida, when she accidentally saves the new kid in her class from being beat up. With a single aim of a slingshot, the monotonous mathematics of her life are obliterated forever…because now there is this boy she never asked for. Wade Scholfield.
With Wade, Grace discovers a new way to exist. School rules are optional, life is bizarrely perfect, and conversations about wormholes can lead to make-out sessions that disrupt any logical stream of thoughts.
So why does Grace crush Wade’s heart into a million tiny pieces? And what are her options when she finally realizes that 1. The universe doesn’t revolve around her, and 2. Wade has been hiding a dark secret. Is Grace the only person unhinged enough to save him?
Acidly funny and compulsively readable, Mercedes Helnwein’s debut novel Slingshot is a story about two people finding each other and then screwing it all up. See also: soulmate, friendship, stupidity, sex, bad poetry, and all the indignities of being in love for the first time.
After an uneventful holiday break, away from her boarding school where Gracie tries unsuccessfully to heal from heartbreak over learning that the so-called love of her life, her biology teacher, is newly engaged, she returns to Midhurst School. She is a bit of a loner and incredibly angry at the world. But, when she sees a fellow student being ganged up on by three other students, she whips out her slingshot and takes aim. Little does Gracie know that one act changes the whole course of her life and begins what is to be a great change in her as a person.
After saving Wade from his little band of attackers, the two form a friendship that she is resistant to at first. But Wade and Gracie are inevitable. Now, Gracie is finally living her life. She is doing things she would never have done. She is breaking rules and making quasi-friends. And while she is falling for Wade, she is forgetting all about her obsession with her biology teacher.
When a mistake from just before the start of her relationship with Wade surfaces, things begin to crumble around her and all of the growth she made begins to not matter. She is heartbroken and alone once again.
Slingshot from Mercedes Helnwein was a look into the turmoil and angst of teenage life. Gracie was crass and not always a likable character, but in that I appreciated her so much more. I could relate to her so much at that impressionable age of fifteen. She can be mean, and she can lash out, but the Gracie from page one and the Gracie from the last page are so incredibly different.
Not only is Gracie dealing with aftermath of her choices, but she is learning to question the delicate relationships she has with her parents, and also learning how to evolve with other friendships in her life.
I absolutely loved this book. I loved the depiction of young love; first love; unwitting betrayal; first heartbreak… And in all of this, the process of growing and learning; of learning to be okay with who you are and the choices you have made.