Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Shattering - Karen Healey

Publisher:  Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages:  320
Source:  I received a review copy form the publisher
Genre:  Young Adult,  Urban Fantasy

Warning:  This book is recommended for older teens.  This book deals with issues of suicide, bullying, and gays.  You may wish to preview this book before allowing your child to read it.

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?

My thoughts: 
When is suicide not suicide?  In the Shattering we meet three characters who share one thing in common, the death of an older brother.  Keri is someone who has everything all figured out.  She seems to always know what to do in any situation.  That is until her brother’s death.  Enter her friend Janna whose brother died a few years before and Sione who not only lost his brother but believes it was not a suicide.  These three begin to stir things up as they are motivated to find out what is really going on in Summerton, New Zealand.  Things are definitely not what they seem.

This was an interesting story.  I have enough trouble trying to figure out how to write in one POV.  Karen Healey has stepped it up a notch.  Keri’ POV is told in first person, whereas both Janna and Sione have their POV told in third person.  Believe it or not this really works for this book.  Readers who are not familiar with many of the words used in New Zealand can easily figure them out from the context.  For those who like to just skip over those unknown words and hope they can continue on, I am speaking to many of my students, there is a section in the back of the book that can help with that.
The Characters were well developed and believable.  They came across as your typical teens.  I would not put this on my shelves for my sixth graders to read as the topic can be quite disturbing.  However, those more mature students I have will enjoy it.  I do keep those books in a closet for my more mature readers and those whose parents have given permission for them to read that particular type of material.  The book deals with multiple issues and shows how those issues can be handled inappropriately.  So after saying all of that would I recommend this book?  Most definitely.  

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