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Posted January 26, 2013
Posted August 21, 2012
Summerton is a lovely resort town on the west coast of New Zeala
Summerton is a lovely resort town on the west coast of New Zealand, aWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
town that’s perhaps a bit too perfect. While other small towns struggle
to remain vibrant and appealing and they watch their residents,
especially the younger ones, move away in search of better lives,
Summerton just continues to attract tourists in greater numbers and few
of its inhabitants ever leave for good. Seventeen-year-old Keri is
struggling to understand why her beloved older brother, Jake, would have
committed suicide, never having indicated that anything was wrong. One
of the worst things for Keri is that she always had plans for every
contingency, no matter how unlikely, and that made her feel safe; Jake’s
death, this way, was something she had never even considered. She found
him and, although she has blocked out the memory, the pain of not
understanding is intense and she takes little comfort from the family
gathering for the Maori celebration of his life. Then, an old childhood
friend, Janna, approaches her one day and asks if she would like to know
who murdered Jake and Keri immediately senses that this may not be a
wild idea. Janna tells her a boy from Auckland, Sione, is on his way to
town to show her his research indicating a string of suicides over a
period of years, all older brothers living in scattered areas of the
country but who had all been in Summerton on New Year’s Eve. Sione has
identified a number of other odd patterns in these deaths and the three
teens set out to find the killer and exact revenge. The perfect town of
Summerton, though, may not let that happen. I’m a big fan of young
adult dark fantasy and I’m always on the lookout for something a little
different. The New Zealand setting of this story was what first
attracted me but the first page hooked me thoroughly. I immediately
“felt” who Keri was , what drove her, and Janna and Sione took equal
billing. That’s partly because of the author’s style in having each
chapter be from the perspective of one of the three but there’s more to
it than that. All along, I believed these characters and experienced
their emotions, their physical pain and their moments of happiness—even
in the midst of great sorrow and anger, there will be happiness. I
couldn’t help thinking I’d like to know these teens. Put quite simply,
Karen Healey has created a mesmerizing tale and is a writer to watch.
Posted December 27, 2011
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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.
Posted October 29, 2011
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Great Mystery & Characters - Different From Other YA Books
The Shattering combines a smattering of subjects, but does it very well. Karen Healey presents the reader with a town plagued by suicides. Only Janna, Sione, and Keri don't believe they're suicides. They believe the boys that have died over the years - including each of their older brothers - were murdered.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
From this springs the hunt for a murderer and three very well-developed and distinctive characters. Keri is one of those strong without really trying types. She exudes confidence, despite the emotional despair she faces with the sudden loss of her brother. Sione is almost the complete opposite of her. He appears meek and quiet, not confident of himself or facing the same dismay over the death of his brother. Then there's Janna, who is outwardly cool, chasing boys and her brother's killer. She's not easily ruffled, but is forced to confront the worst parts of herself as the plot progresses.
In fact, that's one of the best aspects of The Shattering. Healey tackles, suicide, cultural prejudices, sex, love, loss, and even the reality of coming out in a small town; all while ensuring her characters stick to their goals of finding the murderer. Parts are a little predictable, but others aren't. I didn't even see a huge part of the plot coming into play. But I liked it and I really liked how the story played out.
The Shattering is a character driven story that reads like a faster-paced contemporary, but has this tiny paranormal twist to it. The twist works splendidly though because it keeps the story rooted in reality, while making things just a little more complicated for Keri, Janna, and Sione. If nothing else, The Shattering is different from other YA books, as it isn't a love story or about angels or demons or vampires or any other overdone subject. Karen Healey keeps it interesting with her richly detailed setting and characters that jump, scream, and fight off the pages.