When Haley's roommate Jenny starts acting out-of-character, she writes it off as her being unfriendly and gives her space. Her life starts to turn upside down a few days later when rape hotline correspondant (and drop dead gorgeous senior) Carrie finds her after class and tells her Jenny has been raped and is filing charges through the school.
Haley is then dragged into a process that's just as messy and murky as Jenny's memories of the night the rape happened around the same time she starts to fall for Richard, a student whose housemate is the alleged rapist. What ensues is a roller coaster ride of plot twists and heightened emotions accompanied by the ever-present haze that blurs the day-to-day lives of characters entwined in the suit.
What started as a truly personal and violating experience for Jenny soon becomes something that everyone has an opinion about, including neighbors, anonymous cyberbullies and classmates. Everyone seems to think they know what's best for Jenny, but much like real life nothing is black and white and everything is a variable that could quickly shape her life and future in ways unimaginable.
Maria Padian examines all sides of this narrative in Wrecked -- vulnerability, heartbreak and anger all wrapping up into one confusing web of emotions. The story is told through two ends: one through the points of view of Haley and Richard two characters with close ties to the victim and her rapist, the other through a series of moments from the night of the rape that are revealed at the start of each chapter.
Wrecked is fictional but Padian very accurately captures all stages of rape from moments to weeks after, examining both societal and institutional structures and functions when it comes to accepting and dealing with something as traumatizing as rape. The outcome of the case is one that is probable with the current state of how these cases normally end up, leaving the reader without closure and with many questions on how things could have played out differently.