cover image The Shattering

The Shattering

Karen Healey. Little, Brown, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-12572-7

Healey (Guardian of the Dead) delivers an intense and powerful novel that explores the effect of suicide on families by way of a magical conspiracy tale. In the small New Zealand tourist town of Summerton, 17-year-old Keri is contending with the unexplained suicide of her beloved older brother, Jake. When her childhood friend Janna—whose brother killed himself years earlier—tells her there might a reason for Jake’s death, Keri slowly starts believing what she hears from Janna and a boy named Sione: once a year, a teenage boy visiting the village (or occasionally a native son) is compelled to kill himself. They discover that the killings might be connected to the town’s history, and as they get closer to the truth, they are threatened by magic aimed directly at them and at their friends, and left uncertain whom to trust. Juggling multiple viewpoints, Healey skillfully keeps her characters on an emotional roller-coaster even as they deal with physical threats. The climax delivers a gut punch that only underscores the sensitivity of the subject matter (without lessening the thrill at all). Ages 12–up. (Sept.)