Review: The Shattering by Karen Healey

The Shattering
By Karen Healey
311 Pages
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn’t prepared for her brother’s suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna’s brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.

As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year’s Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.

As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?

Firstly, I thought it was awesome that the main character in this book, Keri, is Maori. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that had a Maori main character so that was really interesting to me. It was also interesting that it took place in New Zealand, a country which I may or may not be somewhat obsessed with. My boyfriend’s brother lives there and if we could even begin to afford the airplane tickets we’d be visiting him ASAP.

The book is told in an alternating perspective style between Keri, Janna & Sione. All have lost brothers to a suicide that they’re not convinced is a suicide at all.  There are some really tense moments as they set out to prove that their brothers were murdered.

I kept trying to guess what was going on and I have to say, this book kind of snuck up on me. I don’t think I was particularly close even once. I eventually gave up trying to figure out who was behind the mystery because it was pretty clear that I wasn’t going to get it.

I couldn’t help but feel for the three protagonists, as different as they are. I have a brother (though mine is younger as opposed to the older brothers that the protagonists have lost) and I can’t imagine what losing a sibling must feel like, especially to suicide and especially if you don’t believe that it really was suicide.

I thought that the ending was really powerful as well. Seeing Kari, Janna & Sione get resolution to their issues – in some cases what they expected, in others not – was really moving.

4/5 Stars.

Leave a comment


  1. This sounds really good! I hadn’t heard of it. I’m gonna have to check it out. I also have a younger brother. I can’t even begin to imagine losing him. I have an older brother too, but he’s crazy and doesn’t acknowledge us. He has a different mom, and swears his mom was a whore and there is no way my dad is his.. ( I found him on Myspace a few years back.. he profile pic looked like a young version of our dad ) He’s deliusional lol.

    wow, I got a little off subject there. Sorry I haven’t been by lately. I’ve been making trailers and such. i’m making a pervy one right now. it’s taking much of my time. Hope your doing well!

  1. I’ve Been Asleep for a Long, Long Time: When We Wake by Karen Healey | Attack the Stacks

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