FICTION

Irreversible

352p. ebook available. S. & S. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481429856.
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Gr 8 Up—This sequel to Lynch's Inexcusable, a 2005 National Book Award finalist, picks up where high school senior Keir Sarafian left off—staring at a wall after date-raping his close friend Gigi. Gigi's boyfriend arrives to beat Keir to a pulp, leaving Keir's father, Ray, to rescue, defend, and enable his son once again. When Gigi decides not to press charges, Keir leaves home, accepting a football deal at a less prestigious college on the other side of the country instead of the full ride close to home. After meeting new friends, he begins classes and football training, thinking he's made a fresh start. But Keir must still deal with his tainted history and self-absorbed views. Kicked off the football team for being an unsportsmanlike brute, he loses his scholarship but is lucky enough to have his friends stick by him, despite the odd behavior he exhibits but cannot see. When Ray becomes terminally ill, Keir is shaken enough to get a reality check and clumsily confesses his fault to Gigi in a note. Gigi's response nails it—she no longer wants him in jail but "If there is any human soul to you at all, you will be sickened whenever you think of [destroying me]. And if so, then you will never be able to do this to anybody else." Because Keir doesn't get punished or receive the counseling he so desperately needs, the uneasy ending will leave readers in a chasm of doubt that Keir has truly changed, though hoping against hope that he has.
VERDICT Teens left hanging about Keir's and Gigi's fates will want to know the outcome, although the lack of a satisfying resolution is realistic. As with the earlier title, this one provides plenty of fodder for discussion.

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