Wren by Ericka Clay
Wren, by Ericka Clay, is a young adult story on the rebel side. She has nothing good to say about her mother and is a clear supporter of individuality and expression, though one could argue that her devil-may-care attitude isn’t original at all; it is simply another way to see one’s sordid teenage years. But, her sordid years aren’t like many experience.
The reader is left to create Wren’s world almost completely. It is a bit disconcerting wondering if she is in an apartment building or a small house in the hills or maybe her family lives in a trailer park by the lake. I want to be left to my imagination when reading, but I need more setting to get a feel for where I am. Like I have said in previous reviews, it is important, to me, as a reader to have a sense of place.
It wasn’t until page 3 of Chapter 1 that I started to care for the character, at least on some minute level, and it is because I feel that I can identify with her. She is tough, confused, and living within a shroud of lies and mess. She stands out from the rest and seeks to find the loneliest, quiet place to be with herself. Wren seems much more human as a character as she discloses her fantasies of wearing preppy clothes.
It’s not weird, either.
The language is a bit rough for what I would consider for a young adult, so it isn’t something that I would choose for my teenage child. While I want my children to explore other sides and understand the world from another point of view, the language is more appropriate for an adult audience. Additionally, it isn’t readily apparent what is at stake here. Is it Wren’s mother’s predicament that is the wrench in the gears, or is this just a story about living through hardship? I continue to wonder as I read about Wren’s memory of her Aunt.
Though, there are some things about Wren that are admirable. She sticks to who she is while being open to the other sides of herself, and she definitely isn’t the stereotypical female. She could be a real hero for teenage girls (if only she hadn’t agreed to sell drugs).
Some nostalgic and charming moments are present: Wren and Mareck share a single bicycle ride in The Yard and the scent of Travis nearly coaxes Wren into spilling her recent past.
But mostly, I am sad. I am left with the image of Mareck leaving Wren to fight her nemesis alone, the feeling that if only she were prettier and she could afford different clothes, maybe he would like her more. I think of her “sister’s torn up face” and a decision to sell drugs just to be able to have something better. But, this is the reality for a lot of young women, isn’t it?
Ericka Clay has a flare for storytelling, and I am interested in reading more of her work.
Check her out here: Tipsy Lit
And here: Read Wren