I feel super honoured to be a part of this blog tour, talking about this very special book!
And this will sound completely contrived, but I honestly haven't read a book like this one before.
Set in Australia, Relativity follows an exceptionally smart and gifted boy call Ethan - a twelve year old obsessed with physics. He's been raised by his single mum Claire, who is extremely proud but also fiercely protective. She tried all his life, to guard him from the truth about his father. But as Ethan is getting older, he's becoming increasingly curious about his dad's absence in his life. The book is written from the perspective of Ethan and his parents - a family who were broken up after a tragic event when Ethan was a baby. Antonia Hayes then uses a three perspective to tell a story about this tragic event and how the family is forced to navigate their way to the truth, forgiveness, redemption and healing.
I get that that all sounded very vague and Nicholas Sparks movie-esque. But that's all the detail you'll need to fully appreciate and enjoy this book. Here's what I can tell you.
Ethan is what the doctors in this book (and I imagine, anyone reading this book) would define as a "genius". His obsession with physics and astronomy explains the book's title. Now a head's up: there is a surprising amount of physics and astronomy in this book - it's been researched to a T. For someone who doesn't remember any of the Science I learnt at school (though I'm pretty sure it's more advanced that A Level Science at times), Antonia Hayes' writing is just so pulling. Because as a reader, you get to know very quickly how much science means to Ethan, and because it's something that connects him to his absent dad; it was strangely so engaging and emotional. Yes. Science. Emotion. Like I said, I don't think I actually understood all the scientific explanations but if you go into it knowing that it's of metaphorical importance, you can story to understand the science.
The three perspectives were also executed so seamlessly and I felt this book handled the dynamic between father and son with such sensitivity and craft. Character development in this story is so broad and full. Not too far into the book, we learn about the event that broke the family apart and; unlike many familial dramas where you can decide who was in the wrong, the lines are pretty blurred in this story.
All in all, I'm pretty blown away by this book and can't wait to see what this author writes next. It was heartwarming, funny, made me teary and challenged me all at once. Relativity is straight up, intelligent story telling at it's best.