The Shattering

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Author: Karen Healey
ISBN: 978-174-175-8818
RRP: $17.99

The Shattering was well and truly not what I expected! This story contained twists that were totally unpredictable and truly made this a thriller. The edge of your seat suspense was palpable at times because things didn’t go how you thought they would.

Now I know that’s how a thriller’s supposed to be, that’s the whole point, but I like to think I am generally pretty good at predicting the plot and can usually see what’s coming. Not this time, Karen Healey got me from left field a couple of times so I’m impressed.

The subject matter dealt with in this novel is emotional and will resonate with anyone who has suffered the loss of a sibling, you can’t help but empathise with the pain of the lead trio of characters. Losing a sibling is shattering regardless of the circumstances, in this instance we are dealing with siblings who have taken their own lives which shatters in a different way.

the shattering

Karen Healey has addressed this issue in a way that almost doesn’t seem like it’s being addressed and offers coping strategies and options that are out there; while this is not the main selling point of the book it is something I felt bears mention because the first couple of chapters had me wondering whether the book would be too emotionally draining for me. The loss of a sibling is something you never really get over.

The Shattering brings together three 17 year olds in stunning Summerton, all of them still struggling with the loss of an older brother through suicide. Janna and Keri are Summerton locals, who had been close childhood friends but drifted apart through the years, and Sione who has been a regular Summerton holidaymaker and had a summer moment with Janna the year before.

The grieving process is different for everyone and Sione talked through a lot of his with Janna, only to discover there seemed to be a pattern. But only if you looked at it from the right angle! Keri is suffering the most recent loss, and is approached by Janna to get to the bottom of the mystery.

The teen trio put their heads together and combine their strengths to puzzle out the pattern and try to prevent the problem progressing. There have been too many teenage boys taken in the prime of their lives and too many siblings left to suffer. The trio will not rest until they are triumphant.

As they begin to unravel the mystery more aspects of life in the seaside town of Summerton are called into question and new patterns begin to emerge.

Yes, The Shattering is shrouded in mystery and it is sharp detective work by the tenacious teens that see us through to the end but don’t be fooled. This is no nice little Nancy Drew mystery! It is much darker and more intriguing than that.

The settings are stunning and vivid, and on this cold winters night that’s just what I needed – to be transported to high summer in New Zealand, pity it wasn’t enough to actually defrost my toes.

The story is told from the point of view of our teen trio and all three voices are vivid and distinctive; giving a real sense of who they are. These three teens are realistically drawn and they all suffer the inner voices of self doubt, they share similar thoughts to those we have all had as we come through our teen years and grow into ourselves.

Karen Healey deals with the very important and sensitive issue of youth suicide sympathetically, she also touches on the very real issue of bullying and fear of mistreatment due to sexual preference –  gay, lesbian and promiscuous. She sends a positive message that things can get better and there is support out there if you need it.

All in all this was an involving and intriguing read that was funny, warm, sexy, scary and thrilling while dealing sensitively with tough, important issues. Worth the read and well worth recommending to teens everywhere!

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