Title: Polarity in Motion by Brenda Vicars
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: 261 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Blog Tour Company
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.
Polarity in Motion by Brenda Vicars is a very poignant and thought-provoking story that touches on quite a few relevant social issues. Although a young adult novel, I highly recommend it to both teenagers and adults because the subject matter is so important in today’s world.
Fifteen year old Polarity Weeks’ life is anything but normal as she and her family frequently move in search of treatment for her mother’s borderline personality disorder. Her home life is a minefield as she tiptoes around her mother’s volatile mood swings and sometimes paranoid thinking. Polarity’s first few weeks at her new school have been challenging as she is bullied by the girls in her class and she tries to live down her reputation as a poetry geek. But her life truly becomes a living nightmare when a nude picture of her is posted on line and no one, not even her parents, will believe her when she insists she neither posed for nor posted the photo. Child Protective Services immediately removes Polarity from her home as they investigate her parents and instead of ending up in foster care, she goes to live with her maternal grandmother during the investigation. Although eventually Polarity is able to return home, the matter is far from resolved, and she never gives up on clearing her name or finding out who is responsible for taking the picture and posting it on line.
Polarity is a very compassionate young woman who is very mature and responsible for her age. Despite the rather unusual situation with her mother, her parents are over protective and very involved in her life. Her experiences with the foster care system prove to be very eye opening as she gradually becomes aware of the injustice, inequality and discrimination that occurs around her. Instead of becoming disillusioned when she learns even those closest to her do not believe in her innocence, Polarity focuses on clearing her name and she learns some very important lessons about herself and the world around her in the process.
Polarity’s relationship with her mother, Jennifer, is realistically depicted and it is occasionally quite heartbreaking. Her mother’s illness makes her view the world in black and white, and she also thinks of people (and their actions) in terms of good and evil. She can also be quite cold and cutting when her viewpoint is skewed by her illness and this leads to some very painful confrontations between her and Polarity. While Jennifer cannot always maintain objectivity with those closest to her, she is quite sympathetic to other’s suffering and she is quick to offer assistance to those in need. This dichotomy in her behavior provides a well-rounded view of both the positive and negative aspects of her illness which in turn makes her an easier character to like and more importantly, understand.
Polarity in Motion is an engrossing debut novel by Brenda Vicars. The storyline is fresh, unique and brilliantly executed. The characters are complex and three dimensional with realistic flaws and imperfections. It is an engaging young adult novel that is delightfully angst free despite the serious subject matter and I highly recommend it to readers of all ages.