Author: Karen Healey
Publisher: Little, Brown BYR
Publish Date: September 5, 2011
Genre: YA, Mystery
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?
Keri is used to being in control. She knows how to prepare, and she's ready for every twist and turn, but when her brother suddenly dies, she's thrown for a loop. Jake wasn't the type to commit suicide. He would never have simply left her, and she's so convinced of the fact that when a childhood friend suggests the possibility of murder, Keri is on board. So, she's got a goal again. Keri will find out who killed her brother, and while she's at it, she, Janna and Sione might uncover more than they were searching for.
The Shattering is an eerie book, to say the least. There's a darkness in the prose that resonates throughout, growing and expanding with each turning page and twist of the mystery. Karen Healey, author of Guardian of the Dead, has nailed down the suspense-factor, spinning riveting tales that are equal parts harrowing and mind-bending. By developing a fully-fleshed plot, relatable characters and a storyline that doesn't quit, The Shattering grips the reader in a world they can easily become lost and terrified in.
There are parts about The Shattering that I loved, while there were aspects of the book that were a bit puzzling for me, I'll admit. First of all, the author has placed The Shattering in a small New Zealand town, letting the richness of the landscape and environment sing through the pages and make the story that much more tangible. Then, she's placed a cast of characters within her dynamic backdrop and given them personalities, backgrounds and motives that make them accessible to the reader. Keri, for example, was brilliant. She had a quiet, steady strength that, while wavering at times, was powerful and a true presence. Plus, the way The Shattering combined folklore, grief, suicide and coming out was delicate and creative, ensuring that each element and theme played an equal part. That said, I will say that I felt the mystery element often overshadowed some of the others - namely the grief. It seemed as though it was meant to be a driving force, and it got lost sometimes. Furthermore, I felt that there were a few plot hiccups as the pacing slowed, then sped too fast. Like I said though, the strengths and weeknesses did balance.
Overall, The Shattering was another solid and entertaining novel from an established author. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to those who enjoy YA, especially those who like mysteries and dark stories.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.