Life has suddenly become very complicated for twelve year old Vanessa. Dealing with her parent’s separation, moving into a new house and becoming estranged from her two best friends has been a breeze compared to what lays in store for her with the discovery of a mysterious glass ball that possesses horrifyingly strange powers over her. Is she going crazy or does this ball really have control over her life?
With only this short synopsis to peak my interest, I started to read Shattered by Jeannie Palmer and I kept reading, engrossed again in my own childhood. I was transported back to grammar school and was immediately tuned into the desperation of youth’s dramatic physical changes, its preoccupation with appearance and attractiveness, and its utter focus on social life, friends and school. I was lost again in the microcosm of my own preteens.
I finished the book in one sitting, totally immersed in the vivid and heartfelt tween world created by the author. Vanessa is a preteen coming of age, torn between childish antics and unfamiliar emotions that stir inside early teens. Shattered pulls the reader in so completely that you’ll find yourself experiencing the book as a twelve year old might. You’ll be inside Vanessa’s head identifying with each thought, completely touched by every emotion.
She’s going crazy and believes her possession is caused by a shiny red garden ball. It’s mystical. It’s terrifying. It has powers to control her life and the ball first appeared when Vanessa’s world started coming apart at the seams. When her friend Camille begins to develop new interests in shopping and puppy love, the ball is there. When she’s forced to see a counselor to fix a problem she didn’t cause, the ball is there. When she experiences uncomfortable feelings for a boy at the science museum, the ball is there, too. Vanessa has to break its spell so her life and the rest of her sanity can be salvaged.
The characters and storyline are drawn so real the reader is swept up into situation after situation from Shattered’s mysterious opening to Vanessa’s circumstances seemingly returning to “the way they were”. But the reader somehow knows nothing will ever be the same again for Vanessa, her family, or her friends.
Shattered is a must read for every early teen to remind them they’re not out there alone and for every adult to bring back misplaced memories of early school days, best friends and conjured enemies, and the bittersweet feelings that changed us all forever. Don’t let a part of your own childhood disappear into the mist of forgetfulness. Read this book with your child and help her cope with these changing thoughts and emotions in a fast approaching new world.
I received a free copy of Shattered from the author in exchange for an honest review.