Relativity - Antonia Hayes

This is a heartbreaking story of a family, but it is tinged with hope for the possible. I am a fan of stories where parents are portrayed as struggling, harried people, having myself struggled and been harried as a parent. 12-year-old Ethan seems much too wise for his years, but Hayes’ lyrical writing and sense of wonder lets me forgive her that indiscretion. There is a strong science theme in this story, but it is not pedantic or overwhelming; it’s tempered with respect and awe, especially when we see the physical world through Ethan’s eyes. Hayes sets us up for punishment: there are red herrings in this plot and we are encouraged to go down paths that will not get us where we want or need to be. We think we have the whole story in tact just because we have each person’s point of view, but their memories are highly charged and often filtered. The second point of view overlaps the first, but there still seems to be something missing, and then the third, Ethan’s, only adds to the mystery. Most painfully I think, Hayes offers a realistic story just when we thought we were getting a magical one. But I cannot fault her for being true and honest, and actually, that makes me respect her all the more.