Welcome to our stop on the tour for Polarity in Motion by Brenda Vicars. We have a review of this outstanding YA contemporary novel, as well as all the details on the book and a giveaway!
Review: Polarity in Motion by Brenda Vicars
Title: Polarity in Motion
Author: Brenda Vicars
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publication: December 2, 2014, Red Adept Publishing
*Review copy courtesy of author/publisher
Fifteen-year-old Polarity Weeks just wants to live a normal life, but with a mother diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, that’s rarely easy. Her life gets exponentially more disastrous when her sixth-period history classmates start ogling a nude picture of her on the Internet. Polarity would never have struck such a shameless pose, but the photo is definitely of her, and she’s at a complete loss to explain its existence.
Child Protective Services yanks her from her home, suspecting her parents. The kids at school mock her, assuming she took it herself. And Ethan, the boy she was really starting to like, backpedals and joins the taunting chorus. Surrounded by disbelief and derision on all sides, Polarity desperately seeks the truth among her friends. Only then does she learn that everyone has dark secrets, and no one’s life is anywhere near normal.
I don’t even know where to start with this book. It absolutely blew away my expectations. This book could have very easily taken the easy way out. And by that I mean, gone with the lowest common denominator of the story spark, followed mainly the romance line, and sat with a vast herd of mediocre YA contemporary lit that skirts around important issues and uses them as window dressing without ever really addressing them.
Polarity in Motion is so refreshingly not that book. Brenda Vicars throws her protagonist into the fire forcing her to face questions as diverse as bullying, ethics, mental illness, race relations, inequality, social injustice, grief and yes all this while coping with typical teen problems like struggling to comprehend first love, jealousy, and self-confidence.
I absolutely inhaled this book in one sitting, not only for it’s rich themes but because it’s a compelling mystery. As the horrors of the first few pages unfold and Polarity’s life is forever changed this book grips you. There is no looking away from this train wreck until you know how something like this could have possibly happened. And as things continue to get worse before they get better for Polarity, all the way her thoughtful consideration of everything, the way she looks at the world around her is really just so beautiful that you can’t help but want to continue on the journey with her until the very end.
The romance in this was well done in that it was sweet and didn’t overwhelm the entire plot when there were so many other more important things at play here. It added something very sweet to the story, but I appreciated it’s level of subtlety.
Obviously the bullying theme was huge in this story, and it wasn’t just a one-time attack, it was a systemic problem that kept rearing its ugly head throughout the book in different incarnations, over and over and over again. It was interesting as someone at an age where many of my friends now have children at or nearing that age to see how the parents dealt with or in many cases failed at dealing with the situation. And it wasn’t that she had bad parent’s by any means, it was just such an impossible situation to deal with.
The other thing I really liked about this book was the mother with Borderline Personality Disorder. It was an interesting choice. I haven’t read any other fiction books with BPD. And while it wasn’t entirely faithful to my experiences with the disorder, it was I think possibly faithful to one possible extreme example of the disorder and it was nice to see light brought to a very infrequently talked about or understood mental illness.
I would highly recommend this book for so many different readers. It’s one of those books that I think has such important things for teens to read about while still being a really entertaining read! It’s one of those books that I immediately wanted to call my friends that are high-school English teachers and librarians and tell them about. It’s one of those books that needs to be read, and digested, talked about, especially among teens! But I hope if that’s too intimidating, it will at least be read.
The heartbeat of Brenda Vicars’ fiction emanates from the courage and resiliency of her students. Her career in Texas public education includes teaching, serving as a principal, and directing student support services programs. For three years, she also taught college English to prison inmates, and outside of her job she mentors children of incarcerated parents.
She entered education because she felt called to teach, but she found that it was students who taught her the biggest lesson: the playing field is not even for all kids. Through her work, she became increasingly compelled to bring their unheard voices to the page.
Thanks for stopping by our leg of the tour. I really do hope you will check out this book. For more reviews, please feel free to check out some of the other stops on the tour!
Let’s chat below! What are some other YA books that books that do a great job of tackling important issues?