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Review: Shattering Glass by Gail Giles

in a sentence: A classic high school "geek to chic" story, with a lethal twist.

This clever story follows the lives of 4 boys and their goal to transform the class nerd to Mr. Popular. They are led by a charismatic and irresistible friend, with many secrets. The story is narrated from the point of view of the best friend of the leader, Young, and takes place at a private high school in Texas. The kids are wealthy (for the most part), the parents are disinterested (for the most part), and there are plenty of opportunities for things to get out of control. The story is suspenseful and all of the characters are easy to relate to on some level with the reader. This book speaks to the high school experience, if not with the dramatic playing out of the events, then with the struggles of 'leaders and followers' in cliques. The reader can feel the frustration, the irritation, and the tensions mounting throughout the novel. The discomfort and frustration are immediate within the reader with the opening paragraph of "Simon Glass was easy to hate. I never knew exactly why, there was too much to pick from. I guess, really, we each hated him for a different reason, but we didn't realize it until the day we killed him" (Pg. 1).

This was an amazing story. The young adult reader will immediately connect with at least one of the four popular-yet-flawed male leads, the nerd, or the caring girlfriend on the outer circle. There is a character in here for everyone to relate to. It was an interesting choice for the author to choose the best friend of the leader, Rob, to narrate the novel. While the other boys' reasons for being popular are obvious to us, because we are from the narrators point of view, we don't really know why he's popular. The dialog exchanged between the teen characters is real, the leisure activities seem so natural, and the brief yet vivid descriptions of scenes draws the reader in to what may already be familiar territory of school, friends houses, and parties. It was especially interesting how the author chose a quote from a character to start off each chapter from five years in the future. It is revealed slowly through these what to expect, what the final result is, and what happens to them. It serves as an epilogue of sorts while developing the plot along. I was very close to nominating this novel, but I felt that while this was a really good read with a great story, it just shy of the award level. Parts of the characters came off as predictable and hokey, but only briefly. However, young adult readers can sense a hokey character from a mile away, and that might kick them out of parts of the story. Despite it's minor flaws, this is still an outstanding work of literature for young adults.

Title: Shattering Glass
Author: Gail Giles
Genre: Edgy/Problem Novel, Lisa's Faves
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Amazon | Goodreads

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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