Shatter by Nikki Trionfo
When a mysterious explosion kills her sister, Salem Jefferson becomes convinced the death was no accident—it was a conspiracy. But no one else at her high school believes her, and all she has so far is one clue. She knows Carrie hired a gang member to protect orchard workers. Problem is, Salem doesn't know who.
To find out, Salem pursues the gang-bangers who rule her town, especially classmate Cordero. As her distrust of Cordero heats up, so do the number of suspects in Carrie's death. Teachers and school officers are orchard owners. They have every reason to stop farm workers from demanding higher wages. With Carrie's killers still out there, Salem's not sure who she can trust. Meanwhile, the people who live on orchards and the people who pick them are drawing lines in the sand.
The only way for Salem to learn the truth is to slip behind those enemy lines.
The only way to survive is to find a way back out.
Shatter is an enjoyable story that I read quickly. It kept me on my toes, which I appreciate for suspense novels (if you aren't going back and forth on who the bad guy is the whole suspense part is a little lacking).
The flashbacks/jumping around in time made things a little confusing at first. They were very important to the story but the first few times it just confused me.
The discussion questions at the end were thought provoking. The story really has some deep issues, and an angle that I haven't really read before concerning gang members.
The ending was a bit underwhelming. After the big thing that happens it seemed like there should be a lot more happening (at least legally) than just talking about riding home.
As a debut novel I think it was a strong effort. The story was engaging, but could have used some tightening up.
For a suspense novel I really approve of the cover. It looks a little freaky and a little mysterious. After you read the novel, the words at the top of the cover confuse me a little bit, but it is what it is.
Salem is an interesting character. She's trying to figure out who she is without her sister that she relied so much on. And when we meet her it is right after her sisters death, so her emotions are very high. I think because of this, because she didn't really know who she was, I had a hard time really getting to know her. The flashbacks at the beginning of the book were also really confusing. The information in them is important, but it messed with the flow of the story.
Congrats to the author for her debut novel. It's kind of a big deal :)
I'm usually up for a good suspense, who-done-it style book (as long as it's not too scary, my imagination tends to get the best of me.) The description of this book had all the makings of a good murder mystery, but the story just never really came together for me. The first half of the book goes back and forth between present and past so frequently, it's almost enough to make you dizzy. I had a hard time concentrating on the storyline because it switched so much. Thankfully, that went away after the first half of the book and the story did flow a bit better after that. I never felt like you got to know any of the characters in depth very well, and that's a really important part of a book for me. I find it hard to relate to the characters at all if I don't know them. The whole story just didn't quite do it for me. The author is very promising though, and I plan on reading more of her books as they are published.
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Author: Nikki Trionfo
Publisher: Sweetwater Books
Published: May 2017
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Books & Things