As a "mature" adult, I normally don't read young adult fiction, but as a blogger for booksneeze, I recieved the novel, Shattered: A Daughter's Regret by Melody Carlson, published by Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing this review.
This is a very well written book. Not only is Melody Carlson a skilled writer with her use of descriptive and scenic details, in contrast to many modern writers- the story deals with important issues of grief, guilt and loss and detachment, which is perfect for anyone who is dealing with such issues in their own lives. The heroine in this story must face the reality of her mom's untimely and unexpected death, as well as her own secrets and guilt about the death of her mom. The emotions she faces are true to life- as if the author has insight of her own with regards to grief and guilt. The story covers the intense and painful emotions of guilt, loss and pain realistically that many teenaged stories, simply don't address. The main character is well developed and realistic.
One subplot- when Cleo starts to date within a week of her mom's death- seems too trivial and coincidental considering the other issues she is dealing with. Apparently the desire to date is one of the catalysts for her to move on to normalcy. Although faith in God and the forgivness that God offers contributes to Cleo's healing process, it appears as if getting a new boy friend is more instrumental in Cleo's decision to address her secrets and guilt issues, than mere faith in God. Near the end of the book, as she patiently awaits for the forgiveness of her Dad, she appears a bit too relaxed and free spirited. Nevertheless, this in no way overshadows the deep and intense feelings that were portrayed in the first half of the book. In typical fashion, the story has a happy ending, where the heroine accepts God's forgiveness and is reconciled with her Dad and has a new bf. With a renewed relationship with an estranged aunt and a new boyfriend, Cleo has outside strength to draw on to move on with her life.
Overall, this was a great piece of fiction for teenaged readers. Even so, it re-affirms the all-too common theme that outside relationships are required in order to have a fullfilling and secure life. Not every young person, or adult for that matter, has physical relationships- whether parents, relatives, or significant others, to draw on in times of great need. They find in the midst of death, grief and loss, they must travel alone. For some people who are truly alone- with no parents to fall back on, no boyfriends, girlfriends, bffs, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc... the only resource is God. That isn't to say that God is insuffiecient. In fact, God is our purpose for life. It just appears as if this book in particular does not explore that concept. This book, in which the main character had a network of caring indivduals to help her, does not address such a situation in which one finds themself totally alone- but that, would be a story in of itself- for another day.