This is How We Change the Ending

By Vikki Wakefield Text Publishing

I have questions I’ve never asked. Worries I’ve never shared. Thoughts that circle and collide and die screaming because they never make it outside my head. Stuff like that, if you let it go—it’s a survival risk.

Sixteen-year-old Nate McKee is doing his best to be invisible. He’s worried about a lot of things—how his dad treats Nance and his twin half-brothers; the hydro crop in his bedroom; his reckless friend, Merrick.

Nate hangs out at the local youth centre and fills his notebooks with things he can’t say. But when some of his pages are stolen, and his words are graffitied at the centre, Nate realises he has allies. He might be able to make a difference, change his life, and claim his future. Or can he?

This is How We Change the Ending is raw and real, funny and heartbreaking—a story about what it takes to fight back when you’re not a hero.

Vikki Wakefield

Vikki Wakefield writes realist fiction for young adults. Her work explores coming-of-age, family, class, relationships and the lives of contemporary teens. Her novels All I Ever Wanted, Friday Brown, Inbetween Days and Ballad for a Mad Girl have been shortlisted for numerous awards. Vikki lives in Adelaide, Australia.

Judges' report

Wakefield’s young adult (YA) novel is genuine and full of heart. It is the kind of novel we searched for as adolescents, and reading it rekindled memories of discovery in the local library on Saturday mornings, when every so often it felt like an outstanding YA novel miraculously spoke to us from the book stacks and rows of shelving just when it was needed most.

This is How We Change the Ending tackles the urgent issues for kids today in a way that is relatable. It is an unflinching book that brims with anxieties and attitude, raw angst and gentle refuge. Foremost, the novel’s representation of the characters, and their urban settings and relationships, squares up with a life lived with next to no privilege, where opportunity is limited and minor victories, in fact, mean the world. And Wakefield has imparted this gritty realism with the deftest touch. This is How We Change the Ending will find a permanent place on our home bookshelves.

Further reading


‘In much of YA literature, that in-between stage of late adolescence is about the widening of potential, but here, the all-too-real fear of opportunities closing to you as financial reality hits is ever present.’ Jackie Tang, Readings.


Read ‘YA Author Interview: Vikki Wakefield’ by Poppy Nwosu.

Listen to Gail Pittaway’s review of This Is How We Change The Ending on Radio New Zealand.