Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review: The Shattering by Karen Healey

Title: The Shattering
Author: Karen Healey
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown
Hardcover, 305 pages
Date Published: September 5, 2011
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn't prepared for her brother's suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna's brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.

As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year's Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.

As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?
The Shattering combines a smattering of subjects, but does it very well. Karen Healey presents the reader with a town plagued by suicides. Only Janna, Sione, and Keri don’t believe they’re suicides. They believe the boys that have died over the years – including each of their older brothers – were murdered.

From this springs the hunt for a murderer and three very well-developed and distinctive characters. Keri is one of those strong without really trying types. She exudes confidence, despite the emotional despair she faces with the sudden loss of her brother. Sione is almost the complete opposite of her. He appears meek and quiet, not confident of himself or facing the same dismay over the death of his brother. Then there’s Janna, who is outwardly cool, chasing boys and her brother’s killer. She’s not easily ruffled, but is forced to confront the worst parts of herself as the plot progresses.

In fact, that’s one of the best aspects of The Shattering. Healey tackles, suicide, cultural prejudices, sex, love, loss, and even the reality of coming out in a small town; all while ensuring her characters stick to their goals of finding the murderer. Parts are a little predictable, but others aren’t. I didn’t even see a huge part of the plot coming into play. But I liked it and I really liked how the story played out.

The Shattering is a character driven story that reads like a faster-paced contemporary, but has this tiny paranormal twist to it. The twist works splendidly though because it keeps the story rooted in reality, while making things just a little more complicated for Keri, Janna, and Sione. If nothing else, The Shattering is different from other YA books, as it isn’t a love story or about angels or demons or vampires or any other overdone subject. Karen Healey keeps it interesting with her richly detailed setting and characters that jump, scream, and fight off the pages.


Opening line: The first time I broke my arm, I was ready for it. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages: The telephone shrilled as I locked the front door, but I didn’t turn back for it. I went, dressed in blue denim and my brother’s blood, to destroy his murderers.
Completely. ~ pg. 240
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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2 comments:

Eleni @ La Femme Readers said...

Nice review, I've been interested in this one for some time. I'll def. keep it on my radar. Thank you for your thoughts. :P

Candace said...

I haven't paid much attention to this one before but your review makes it sound really good! I'll have to keep my eyes open for it :)

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