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This Is How We Change the Ending

2020 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments

Sixteen-year-old Nate McKee is doing his best to be invisible. He’s also doing his best to survive. In Wakefield’s novel, the reader is offered a protagonist who worries about life: how his dad treats Nance and his twin half-brothers, and the hydro crop in his bedroom. Nate questions his capacity to meet the challenge of facing the future.

This Is How We Change the Ending is raw and real but also offers humour and light. The social realism is unflinching and authentic, Wakefield focusing on issues such as violence, masculinity and class. The novel challenges the boundaries of Young Adult fiction with as much grit and honesty and complexity as any literary novel. The story could be grim and depressing but offers hope in its honest portrayal of its young characters and its emphasis on the role of asking questions about life in helping us to move forward.