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Posted April 28, 2013
This book far exceeded any expectations I had for it. And its not like I had low expectations, either. Jennifer Snyder is a new-to-me author, and I just wasn’t sure how it would go. The blurb sounded great, the subject sounded like it was heavy, I was excited.
This story is told from Seth’s POV, which I thought was completely awesome. For some reason I really dig the teenage boy point of view on things in books. But the thing about Seth is that his words feel genuine, I just want to hang out with him and get to know him more. I can’t even count how many kids I’ve known like Seth in my life, he feels familiar. He’s just so likeable and real, it made me wish this book was a lot longer just cause I liked being around him. I could see how Ali became attracted to him.
And then there is Ali, the new girl in school. She’s light and airy and gives off an innocent feel. She is so accepting of Seth and his not-so-perfect life. The way she just lets him into her life makes me love her. It’s like she came along just when she needed him.
“My heart pounded inside my chest as I gripped the door handle. I stepped out into the blazing hot sun to walk behind my brother and his friend into what felt like the mouth of hell.”
Seth’s brother, Calvin, isn’t a great guy. He isn’t even a good guy. In fact, there isn’t one point in this story where I even felt like I could waiver on that opinion. He bullies Seth, and he is a major jerk. Right off the bat, when I first saw him in the story I thought, “I wouldn’t mind if something happens to this guy…” Family is supposed to stick together, and Calvin acts like Seth is the enemy. Not cool.
I really struggled for a few days on how to write this review without giving spoilers. The story is beyond fantastic. The emotions behind the characters are right there at the surface and ready for you to touch. Sometimes the storyline is light and easy going, like riding in a car with the windows down on a sunny day. Sometimes its dark and… well, dark. This author takes you to a variety of places in a relatively short matter of time, and she does so effortlessly. The story was touching, and I just have to say again how much I fell in love with Seth. The supporting characters were all fabulous, even the very minor ones. They all lent their voice perfectly, and fleshed out this world for me. I felt like I was there; I was smoking that first cigarette of the morning, I was slamming my door to get away from it all, I was finding refuge in someone else’s gaze, and my life was falling apart just when I thought I had it all.
If you don’t read this story, you are making a mistake. It might be hard, there are some very delicate subjects here; drug use, abuse, death, teen angst. But sometimes we have to let our safety net go and just feel the story happen. This is definitely a 5 star read for me.
Posted August 18, 2011
Be warned, Shattered Soul is not a happy-go-lucky story. If you didn't get that from the title alone, then take it from me; this book is gritty and raw, with heavy drug usage by and around the main character Seth. Despite all that, Seth is almost a sweet guy. He's in a difficult situation - his father ditched the family, his mother is an alcoholic, and his brother is both addicted to and deals drugs. Seth likes to drown the world out with weed and has, on occasion, hit the harder stuff.
Yet he's good at his core. Seth is easy to connect to, even if the reader has no personal experience with the kind of life he has. The beginning starts off a bit rough because we meet Seth who, at first glance, appears to be a stoner kid with no aspirations. Once we see him a bit more and see where he comes from and what he wants from his life, the connection to him becomes solid. Seth does not want to be his mom or his brother, but he doesn't know how to stop himself from going down that path.
Ali, the girl that could very well turn Seth around, isn't fleshed out completely, but she doesn't need to be. She's the spark that lights the fire for him, making him want to be different, even if he hasn't figured out how. At times, I wanted to hold Seth and hug him and hide him from the destructive people in his life; other times, I wanted to throttle him because he was so stupid and I couldn't believe he was doing what he was doing; then something would happen and I'd want to protect him again.
That is the beauty in what Jennifer Snyder's debut evokes. This tortuous story of a teenager living in a hellhole is unrelenting in its portrayal of suburban drug life and how quickly addiction takes hold, escalates, and destroys everything and everyone it comes in contact with. Shattered Soul is gut-wrenching and affecting, taking the reader on a rollercoaster of ups, downs, and has an ending that no one will ever see coming.
Posted July 28, 2011
From the blurb, this may sound like a similar premise to a lot of YA books out there.
But the ending?
You won't see it coming.
Well written and well edited!
Nice debut from this author, I look forward to reading more! You will have to devote the time to finishing this book in one sitting because you HAVE to know what is going to happen. I love books like that! :)