Title: The Shattering
Author: Karen Healey
Release Date: September 2011
Published By: Little, Brown
Goodreads Rating: 3.79 stars
Review: Of all the emergencies she's prepared for, seventeen-year-old Keri doesn't see her brother's suicide coming, so when her childhood friend Janna tells her it was actually a murder, she readily believes her. After all, Janna's brother died under similar circumstances, as did the brother of Sione, a visiting tourist. The three of them decide to look for answers, but the deeper they dig, the more disturbing secrets they find, and soon they realize the killer may the one they trust the most.
I love YA mysteries; if there's a killer, I'm up for it, and that's why I decided to review THE SHATTERING. However, when I started reading, I thought this was a straight-up murder mystery, but pretty late into it, about a hundred pages, a magical element was introduced. At first, this threw me off a bit, because even though I don't have anything against magical realism, it was late enough that it skewed my perception of the book. I'm glad I stuck with it, though, because this book turned out to be made of awesome.
The writing style is fairly simple, without excessively flowery language, but it packs a hard punch and is sure to keep readers hanging out to every word. With each page turned, the suspense ratchets up another notch, and although it's possible to see some of the plot twists coming, none of them are overtly obvious and only add to the mystery and intrigue.
Of course, the most well-written book would be nothing without great characters, and this novel certainly had them. It was told through three alternating viewpoints, which I'm sometimes wary of, but in this case, it didn't disappoint. I enjoyed each viewpoint, with every character fleshed out and in possession of a fully functional personality. Janna would probably be my favorite character if I had to choose, with her brash persona but sympathy-inducing backstory.
One aspect of note would be the multiculturalism and general diversity present. This book takes place in New Zealand, which I loved reading about, and included characters that were Maori, Asian, white, mentally ill, of upper class, of lower class, and lesbian. I'm a huge supporter of diversity in fiction, but I did sometimes feel like there was a little too much forced in to make a too unsubtle point. Still, the barely-there preaching didn't really encroach on the story.
Overall, THE SHATTERING is everything I hoped it would be: suspenseful, intriguing, and very difficult to put down. The pages will keep flipping as you discover the dark mysteries lurking behind Summertown and its residents, and the magical element, though introduced rather late, adds an exciting and fresh touch. I would recommend this both to avid readers of YA mystery and those who've never really gotten started on it.
I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way affected my review.