I recently read Nailed by Patrick Jones, a fictional book which takes place in Flint, Michigan and focuses on Bret Hendricks, a junior at Southwestern High School. He, like many teenagers, faces challenges such as heartbreak, toxic friendships, bullying, and home issues.
Sixteen-year-old Bret appreciates three things: his band, his funky girlfriend, and theater class. By contrast, he does not care about three other things: his father’s disapproval, the “jockarchy” that rules the school, and his unlikely chance of having a “normal” life.
A turning point occurs in Bret’s theater class when he crosses paths with a girl. Both expressed much interest in each other, which grew into a relationship. I think this is essential to the storyline because not only does their relationship shift the dynamics of the story, but Bret also has such a unique personality that it is fate for him to have a free-spirited girlfriend.
Shortly after Bret finds the love of his life, he becomes too occupied with work, school, and his band that he rarely sees her. I feel that his new lifestyle reinforces negative issues with his girlfriend; with no surprise, she feels neglected and unwanted. This erupts in a wave of drama, resulting in Bret's realizing how badly he has treated her.
It seems that his negligence towards her is a critical aspect in the story, seeing that it touches upon most relationships. For example, if a relationship is going nicely but the one partner becomes too consumed in other matters, the other partner may be left feeling broken and unworthy.
Throughout the story, one of Bret’s difficult obstacles is his father’s lack of empathy and care. Bret has a reputation of being easily triggered and aggressive at school, which typically ends in either a suspension or an office meeting. His behavior provokes much disappointment from his father. From my perspective, I think Bret craves emotional structure and only wants his dad to understand him as a person who is lost. I also believe his father’s constant disapproval creates a more self-destructive Bret.
In my opinion, Nailed pinned down the hardcore truth and bitter reality of life. It touches on problems many teenagers face in real life. Patrick Jones’ books rarely fail to impress me; his work is well-written for a teen audience. I’d recommend this book to anyone, but specifically teenagers because I, personally, could relate to most of Bret’s issues which made it more interesting to read. To wrap things up, Nailed is a melancholy book that leaves you with the lingering thought, “what if….”