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.
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
This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
I opened my eyes.
My legs were bound and my head ached. There was one dark moment of disorientation before the bad-dream fog abruptly lifted and I woke up all the way and rolled to smack the shrilling alarm.
I was exactly where I was supposed to be: in my tiny room, lumpy pillow over my head and thick maroon duvet wrapped around my legs. I disentangled myself and kicked the duvet away. The muffled tinkling as it slithered off the foot of the bed reminded me that Kevin and I had stored the empty beer cans there.
Well, that explained the headache.
Ellie Spencer has opted to study her last year of school in Christchurch after her parents head off for a year travelling. She had other options and while she understands their need to travel after ‘Mum’s Cancer Year’, she not really sure why she chose Christchurch, grey wintery Christchurch. Ellie is tall, a black belt in tae kwon do but has little self confidence. Luckily she has made one close friend, Kevin, although his friend Iris is not so welcoming. Ellie is pulled in to help choreograph the fight sequences for the local university play Iris is directing, but not before she develops a crush on Mark. That’s when things become suddenly much more confusing, and Ellie struggles to know what’s real and what is magic. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s pulled into a battle way beyond her understanding.
Ellie seems like a normal teenager, living away from home, finding her way through the freedoms and otherwise of her new life. She tells her story with a self-deprecation and lack of confidence of many teenagers, but it’s clear that whether she knows or not, whether she uses it or not, she has a quiet strength. And it’s not just the tae kwon do skills. Karen Healey uses Maori mythology to bring to life characters full of magic and menace. Ellie struggles to know who she is, who she can trust, in an escalating battle where there’s no time to ‘wait and see’. Maori creation stories come to life in this fantasy which melds reality with fantasy in a gripping adventure. Recommended for mid- to upper-secondary readers.
Guardian of the Dead, Karen Healey
Allen & Unwin 2010
Reviewed by Claire Saxby Children’s book author.
This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.