It's back to book reviews! Today we're beginning a series by Round 2 judges, and all of them will be for titles on our short lists. Please note: these reviews were posted before the finalists came out and are taken from the bloggers' archives. We don't allow Round 2 judges to post new reviews of finalists in their genre during the six-week judging period. That way we preserve the secrecy, suspense and overall credibility of the awards (I hope).
Enough of the disclaimer stuff. Onto the review:
by Karen Healey
We're starting in my favorite genre, teen fantasy and science fiction. Sam Musher over at Parenthetical took an in-depth look at Karen Healey's The Shattering. Healey made our short list last year with Guardian of the Dead. This one's also set in New Zealand in contemporary times.
The protagonist, Keri, is devastated by her older brother's suicide. Then she learns of other suicides by teenage boys over the span of a decade. She teams up with two friends to solve the strange deaths before another can occur.
Sam sums up what makes Healey's books so appealing (caution, mild spoilers):
... believable, flawed friendships between fully realized characters; sensitive handling of sex (and the lack thereof); a stunning sense of place. The magic felt a bit less organic here than in Guardian and required more suspension of disbelief for some reason; I kept waiting for a twist, that it wasn’t what the kids thought, but nope — it pretty much was, and was an idea we’ve all seen before, and therefore had something of a “Buffy monster-of-the-week” feel, like with established characters all of this could have happened in 50 minutes on TV.
Read the rest here.