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Relativity
2016
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Author Notes
Antonia Hayes was born in 1982 and grew up in Sydney, Australia. Her work has been published in Best Australian Essays 2014, Meanjin, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Daily Life and others. Antonia has worked in publishing as a publicist and a bookseller, and co-directed Australia's National Young Writers' Festival. Relativity is her debut novel. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)
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  Library Journal Review

Twelve-year-old Ethan Forsythe sees wavelengths, electricity, and prisms wherever he goes. His mother, Claire, has always known that he was special. When Ethan ends up in the hospital after brawling with his former best friend, the world she has carefully crafted for her son shatters as doctors discover the magnitude of his intelligence. Ethan's long-lost father Mark returns to town and soon Claire and Ethan must grapple with the tragic event that shadowed Ethan's infancy and resulted in his purported genius. As the truth is unraveled one piece at a time, Ethan's love and forgiveness knows no bounds. But will it be enough to reunite his family? This title paints a realistic picture of a single mistake derailing a lifetime. VERDICT Debut novelist Hayes just might become a staple on the popular fiction scene. With a heart-wrenching plot and a style reminiscent of Jodi Picoult, this is an excellent read with deep characterization and powerful imagery. Not recommended for those disturbed by destructive themes.--Chelsie Harris, San Diego Cty. Lib. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Twelve-year-old Ethan is extraordinary: he's always been bright and curious, idolizing Stephen Hawking and easily able to rattle off facts about the stars and planets. No one recognized the extent of his unusual genius, however, until the wake of an unexpected seizure, when he reveals to his neurologist the uncanny ability to accurately visualize various phenomena of physics, including redshift and black holes. This discovery coincides with the return to Sydney of Ethan's dad, who's been absent from the family since a tragic incident in Ethan's infancy that nearly killed Ethan and resulted in the end of his parents' marriage. That same incident, however, may have resulted in Ethan's exceptional talents, leading Ethan's parents to wonder whether this silver lining might hint at other opportunities for redemption and reconciliation. At times, layers of imagery are piled on a little too thickly. But the author's willingness to engage with ethical and interpersonal complexities and her resistance to too-easy resolutions overcome occasional weaknesses in the prose. With its thoughtful consideration of family dynamics and its strong thematic currents, Hayes's excellent debut will appeal to fans of JoJo Moyes. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  Kirkus Review

An Australian family struggles to mend its rifts in time and space. There is no doubt that Ethan Forsythe is a unique and brilliant 12-year-old boy. Though he's not on the autism spectrum, he seems to possess the qualities of a savant: he appears to see the physics of our world, from sound waves to velocity. While one might think that unlocking the secrets of the universe would be cause for celebration, for Ethan, these abilities appear to stem from a brief, violent act that occurred when he was an infant. In an instant, both Ethan's brain and his family were irreparably altered. Over the years, his mother, Claire, has sacrificed both her career as a ballet dancer and her marriage to protect young Ethan from the truth. All the way across Australia, Ethan's father, Mark, has attempted to erase the tragic events from his mind. But when Mark learns that his father is about to die, he ventures back to Sydney and back into Ethan's and Claire's lives. Together, they cautiously dip their toes into family life as they try to make sense of the past and speak honestly of the one tumultuous moment that ripped them apart. Though troubled, Mark is a multifaceted and complex character seeking redemption. Though hurt, Ethan and Claire approach him with a gradual softness. While Hayes is often quite successful at weaving the language of science through her prose, occasionally the references appear stiff and forced. The narrative is strongest when the characters interact earnestly with one another, as a broken family trying to forge new bonds, instead of when the moments between them are analyzed and dissected. This is a family that the reader can root for. A charming and fresh debut placing a family's secrets in the great expanse of the universe. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
"Original, compassionate, cleverly plotted, and genuinely difficult to put down" (Graeme Simsion, New York Times bestselling author of The Rosie Project). <br> <br> A "beautifully written, heartbreaking" (S.J. Watson) debut novel about a gifted boy who discovers the truth about his past, his overprotective single mother who tries desperately to shield him from it, and the father he has never met who has unexpectedly returned.<br> <br> Twelve-year-old Ethan Forsythe, an exceptionally talented boy obsessed with physics and astronomy, has been raised alone by his mother in Sydney, Australia. Claire, a former professional ballerina, has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he's becoming increasingly curious about his father's absence in his life. Claire is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son--and of her own feelings. But when Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event that occurred during his infancy, her tightly-held world is split open.<br> <br> Thousands of miles away on the western coast of Australia, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart, but an unexpected call forces him to confront his past and return home. When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that--like gravity--pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.<br> <br> Told from the alternating points of view of Ethan and each of his parents, Relativity is a poetic and soul-searing exploration of unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts, the limits of science, and the magnitude of love.
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