The first time I broke my arm, I was ready for it.
I was seven years old and Janna van der Zaag and I were playing in her backyard. Janna’s backyard was a fantastic place for kids – a big dollhouse and a lot of bush out back for playing hide-and-seek in and a brand new flying fox her dad had made, sloping from a tall platform built into the sturdiest tree down to the brace attached to the next sturdiest.
Janna had been using the flying fox for days, and she flew down with style, blonde hair like a banner, the T-bar gripped tightly in her hands. I climbed the ladder and clung there for a minute as she ran the T-bar back up to me on its long rope. The flying fox hadn’t seemed so high up from the ground.
What if I fell off and broke my arm? I thought.
Keri lives in Summerton, the perfect beach side summer town. But Keri is too wrapped up in her grief following her brother’s suicide to notice. Until she discovers that others in town have lost brothers in similar circumstances. Together she, Janna and Sione begin to suspect that something in wrong in this perfect town. But nothing, nothing could have prepared them for the secrets of Summertown. Suddenly it’s not just about their brothers. Other lives are at stake, if they can’t discover who is responsible for all the wrongdoing. But first Keri and her friends have to decide just who they can trust.
The Shattering is told from the points of view of the three main characters, providing the opportunity for the reader to understand the motivations of each, a luxury not afforded the characters themselves. Keri is the main character in a novel that mixes magic and reality to provide the reader with a suspenseful and exciting mystery. She speaks in first person, while the other two viewpoint characters are in third person intimate. ‘The Shattering’ examines families, secrets and teenage angst and ambition. It also looks at some of the dangers when adults make decisions for adolescents, or purportedly ‘for the good of all’. Grief, ambition, greed … many of the seven deadly sins get an outing here. A gripping read. Recommended for mid-secondary and beyond.
The Shattering, Karen Healey
Allen & Unwin 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author