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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jennifer Waldrop
Cassie is a violin prodigy whose talent brings her joy, acclaim, and the enmity of her father, a former violin player himself. Her years of practice and the tension between her and her father builds and comes to a climax in one terrible twenty-four-hour period. One night she is playing, performing her solo debut with the youth symphony, the next she has run away from home after her father's violent outburst destroys her beloved violin. Her destination is the home of her grandfather, the man who gave her the violin and whose presence at her concert fueled her father's anger. Along the way Cassie is robbed, threatened, and frightened, but she is determined to tell her grandfather in person what has happened to the violin. Her reception at her grandfather's house is not what she expects and her journey has just begun. After she returns home she must face the destruction of not only her violin but of her family as well. As she struggles to find a replacement and balance her anger toward her father with her desire to have her family intact again, she begins to learn her strengths beyond playing the violin. Reviewer: Jennifer Waldrop
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Cassie's big moment as the youth orchestra's violin soloist is at hand and she is excited, but also uneasy about her father's increasingly erratic behavior. She never imagines his rage will escalate to the point where he destroys the vintage violin his father gave her in acknowledgment of her musical talent. Cassie runs away, with no clear idea of where she's headed or what she'll do to survive. Taking shelter at Chicago's Union Station, she finds herself telling the whole sordid story to a sympathetic young man, Nick, as he waits for his delayed train. Feeling inexplicably determined, Cassie heads for her grandfather's house several towns away, with only a bus ticket left to her name. The distance is farther than she realizes, and she winds up spending the night in a homeless shelter for teens, where suddenly her family's problems are put in perspective. Cassie and her family face difficult times as they try to find a positive way through this drama. Baron successfully uses musical metaphors in the structure of the novel—short chapters with staccato action and slower cadences reflective of the family's struggle to work their way through this situation. Cassie at times seems far more mature and reasoned than most 14-year-olds. This is a moving story that meanders a bit too long before reaching its hopeful if not terribly realistic denouement.—Roxanne Myers Spencer, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green
Kirkus Reviews
It ought to be the best day of 14-year-old Cassie's life-the day of her violin solo with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra-but her always-angry dad is more jittery than usual. When her estranged grandfather appears, it's the last straw for her dad. Not long after the concert, he explodes, hurling her cat across the room and shattering her violin. Cassie flees to Pretoria in search of her grandfather but instead finds herself alone and overwhelmed in a strange city. Kind strangers, churches and teen shelters help her survive, but she's not cut out for the dangers and privations of homelessness. Returning home, Cassie joins her family on the long, hard slog toward repairing their lives. Cassie's love for the violin provides much-needed flavor for what would otherwise be a simple problem novel about emotional abuse and helpless teens. Too quickly, therapy, truth telling and interfamily trust offer the magic pill to cure PTSD. Still, this poignant story of multigenerational abuse is a compelling read. (Fiction. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934813089
  • Publisher: Westside Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 262
  • Sales rank: 1,513,133
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: HL660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 29, 2013

    Firstly, I have to say how much I love this cover. It is a perfe

    Firstly, I have to say how much I love this cover. It is a perfect reflection of what can be found between the pages of this book.

    The first half of the story seemed to rush by and I never got a real sense of who the characters were. It was only after Cassie's return that I actually settled into the story. I was happy that she was able to find some kind of normalcy in her life after all the chaos and I think Nick played a big part in her healing process. Their time spent at the batting cages was fun and for the first time I got to see a happy, carefree Cassie.

    I was also glad that Cassie and her Mom were able to reconnect again. It gave me hope that even in the darkness there is light. The mystery of why Frank was so on edge about her violin playing was constantly on my mind. I was as eager as Cassie was to find out the truth once she reached her grandfather's place, but then he flipped out and the weird mystery deepened. My heart went out the the entire family when the truth was finally revealed. I didn't care too much for Frank but when he poured his heart out to his family, I actually felt a twinge on guilt for disliking him so much.

    Cassie has more to worry about than whether her broken family will stay that way or not. As a soloist for the Chicago Youth Symphony, she has to face the possibility of her dream fading away, because without a violin, how can she possibly play? There is hope of a benefactor who can keep her dreams alive but Cassie cannot lie about what happened to he violin and that kind of dashes any hopes of her getting another violin.

    This book had so much potential. A story of one girl's journey through fear, heart ache, loss, love and forgiveness, I only wish I had been able to connect on a deeper, emotional level with the characters.

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  • Posted July 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Great Story of Pain and Recovery

    Cassie is a teenage violin prodigy. But even though her life is going well with her solo, things at home are not going that well. Her father has a violent temper. He looses control and ends up breaking things like her mother’s vase, his computer, and Cassie’s violin. Having had enough, Cassie runs away from home. She figures she will go to her grandfather house, since he is the one that gave her the violin. But when she gets there, she doesn’t get the reaction she hoped she would.

    She decides to return home and learns that her mother is making her father work out his problems, away from the family. Cassie is now on the hunt for a new violin before she looses her place as a soloist, which is not going to be easy with the history of her last violin. She also has a budding relationship with a guy she meets the first night she ran away. Then the revelation of her father’s past changes everything.

    I really liked this book. I fell for Cassie loosing her violin. I love how the relationship with Nick progresses, just enough without over powering the book. I really liked how being a run away opened her eyes to the grittier side of our world. I cheered, I cried, and I felt sick when I learned about her fathers past.

    This is a great book that shows how you can grow if you just believe in your dreams. This is one book that I think anyone would like to read.

    I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted May 2, 2012

    Great read for teens, music lovers, or those who know one...

    Baron's lyrically written first novel tells Cassie's roller coaster story of triumph, heartbreak, and redemption. Just after debuting as soloist with the Chicago Youth Symphony, her life as a violin prodigy is shattered when her father destroys her violin. Fearing she'll never recover, angry and bewildered, she runs away to seek her grandfather, the musical patriarch of the family. On her journey she falls further and further from the life she's been living, only to find that the answers she seeks aren't where she thinks they are.

    "Shattered" is hard to put down. You'll be rooting for Cassie even when her choices don't seem the wisest. The characters are engaging, the story compelling, and the writing musical, as befits the subject.

    Highly recommended!

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