First of all, my thanks to Antonia Hayes, Corsair Books and Little, Brown Book Group Limited for sending me the review copy and for including me in this blog tour.
His single mother Claire is fiercely protective of her brilliant, vulnerable son. But she can’t shield him forever from learning the truth about what happened to him when he was a baby; why Mark had to leave them all those years ago.
Now age twelve, Ethan is increasingly curious about his past, especially his father’s absence in his life. When he intercepts a letter to Claire from Mark, he opens a lifetime of feelings that, like gravity, will pull the three together again.
Relativity is a tender and triumphant story about unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts, and testing the limits of love and forgiveness.
Oh, how many feels! Quirky, heartfelt and so completely engaging, relativity is more than just a story about a single mother and her 12 year old son. Once I started reading this book, I found it seriously difficult to stop. While the subject matter was difficult, <spoiler> shaken baby syndrome which resulted in scarring in Ethan’s brain</spoiler>, Hayes added so many different layers to the story and characters that made it impossible for me not to care for each and every one of them. It felt as if I was in their story, reliving the past events and trying to figure out how to move on.
Something happened in the past that tore Ethan’s parents, Claire and Mark, apart when Ethan was only 4 months old. Mark is gone. Claire never talks to Ethan about his father. Every action has a reaction so it is natural that Claire has turned into a overly protective mother, that Ethan has a lot of questions he never seems to get answers for and that Mark is dealing with the consequences of those few seconds of his actions that can never be undone.
The book starts off by introducing the reader to Ethan’s brightness right away. Quite honestly, this young character won my heart from sentence one. His curiosity and vast bank of knowledge around physics and astronomy makes for interesting dialogue with his mother, and there’s so much wisdom to take away from this book. So, to address the scientific elephant in the room. The elephant is cute. Do not be afraid of it. I very nearly failed science classes in school every year and yet, in this book everything is easy to follow.
Page after page, paragraph after paragraph new revelations and a new set of events are introduced which beef up this story into dimensions that covers everything from family dynamics, friendship, bullying and secrets that every parent carries with them. Life with all that it is, is delivered by Hayes in a manner that appears effortless and truly, the writing in this book, with or without its scientific references, was simply a joy to read.
What also makes this book so impactful is that ever character comes with their own set of flaws. relativity does not have heroes and villains, even though surely the reason Mark has been gone would classify him as the villain in the story, but no one in this story is perfect. It’s a story about small and big mistakes, about the willingness to forgive, about moving on. The mistakes and feelings of guilt Claire and Ethan are carrying with them are palpable throughout the story and while Ethan will always live with what happened to him, I found the conclusion of the book delivered to the best outcome. It was realistic and hopeful.
A book of beautiful and tragic moments full of exploration, miracles and relativity. I highly recommend you check out. 5 stars.