August 20, 2012
The Shattering by Karen Healey
This was one of those books that pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go. I just had to know what happened next and not a lot got done around here until I found out.
Keri is one of those people who has a plan for everything — she’s got first aid books and emergency preparedness guides. But the one thing she wasn’t ready for was her brother’s suicide and finding his body herself.
So she listens when a former friend walks up to her and says “If you want to find out who murdered your brother, follow me.” If she can prove it was murder, she can get revenge and Janna, former best friend, gets it. After all, they were still friends when Janna’s brother killed himself.
The two girls team up with Sione in order to find out who is behind all the deaths. At least once a year, a teen age boy dies in an apparent suicide. They life up and down the New Zealand coast and they cross racial and social boundaries. What doesn’t vary is that each and every one of them has spent New Year’s Eve in Summerton, the vacation destination where Keri and Janna live.
Unlike the other towns in their area, Summerton thrives. Where other places are being abandoned, the tourist industry means that Summerton residents always have work. In fact, people may leave town to go to school but they always, always come back.
I don’t want to say a lot more about the plot because it is so intricate and it is revealed just a bit at a time. I’d hate to ruin it for anyone. Suffice it to say that there have been murders, not everyone involved knows the whole story and magic can be both good and bad.
With a fifth grade reading level (see above), you may be tempted to hand this book over to a high-reading elementary student. Read the book yourself before you do this. It deals with some mature themes including sex and sexuality. There is violence — not a whole lot but some.
Teens will love this book because it is the teen characters who show the moral maturity needed to save the day. That said, it is a tough read in some places but I think it was harder for me because I’m a parent. Readers who have kids, especially teens, will get it. But what made it hard for me is what also makes the book honest and real.