Thursday, November 10, 2011

My take on: The Shattering

"Summerton was a perfect town. Always sunny, always safe, always the same. No one moved into Summerton. No one left." Pg. 105

The Shattering by Karen Healey transports us into the New Zealand town of Summertown. A town that is seemingly perfect, expect for one minor detail.  Several young men are dead, and their deaths ruled suicides. But their siblings just don't believe it. Keri, Janna, and Sione band together to prove their brothers were murdered. A rather morbid bond, but one formed with good intentions.

This sounded like a great concept to me. It sounded like a teen murder mystery, and I'm a sucker for mysteries. But I have to say this book just wasn't for me. Each chapter is told from the point of view of the main characters. Janna seems like the leader, but also has her own insecurities. She doesn't believe she is smart, and is afraid a certain cute boy will notice that. Sione follows the crowd. It's also hard for him to say no to Janna. Keri can be assertive when she wants to be. She took charge and broke into a potential suspect's home, while Sione was a reluctant participant.

I was with them for the first 100 pages of the book, but then the story shifted into a different direction. Janna runs the shots, and Sione trails her like a love sick puppy. He's a little sweet on her, but Janna only has eyes for Takeshi -- the young man whom they believe is the next victim. To me their detective skills weren't the greatest. They jump to conclusions without a whole lot of evidence. Plus, I thought this book was going to be based in reality but then we get some magical elements. Now I'm not anti-magic or anti-fantasy. I have read plenty of books with those elements and liked them. With this one it just didn't work for me.

Despite my sentiments, there are some good elements to this book. I got a good sense of the culture in New Zealand, it sounds like a place I would want to visit one day. Older teens will also identify with many of the themes in the book. Racism, bullying, and suicide prevention. The end of the book includes numbers and web sites on suicide, something that can be extremely helpful for those in need. While this book wasn't my cup of tea, that doesn't mean it won't appeal to the rest of you.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Little, Brown and Company) in exchange for an honest review.

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