Obviously, we all absolutely loved high school. Boy Shattered takes us right back to those long hallway and gives us a glimpse of those years through the eyes of a closeted gay student trying to heal after a school shooting.
Boy Shattered by Eli Easton
Publication Date: Oct. 16, 2018
Genre: LGBT Romance
Source: Signal Boost PR
Length: 317 pages
Story Rating: 3.5/5
This is a romance novel about a school shooting. I love reading about resiliency and healing. It makes me ridiculously hopeful to see people overcome tragedy. Oddly enough this is the second book I’ve read that features a survivor of a school shooting this year. I can only hope this doesn’t become a mainstream trope, I don’t know if my poor heart can take that.
I’m so torn right now. How can I even begin to discuss what I liked and didn’t like in a book about something so tragic? I want to give it one star because school shootings suck. But then I want to give it all the stars because I haven’t heard this story before. When you read as much as I do, that’s a big deal.
In the end, I’m rating it 3.5/5 and rounding up. I appreciated the overarching story you’ll find on these pages but there were several tedious bits and subplots that I don’t think belonged. I’m left feeling that this book needed one more major round of cuts to clean it up, get rid of the repetition and the subplots that aren’t fully developed.
Frankly, I feel like a monster critiquing this book. It wasn’t an easy read. As with anything political, I think the important part is increasing awareness surrounding these central issues. No doubt the book will achieve that goal.
Let me start on a positive note by saying there are very few situations where I would even entertain the thought of reading a YA book. So the fact that I read this should speak volumes. The blurb is amazing, the cover is gorgeous, hypnotizing really. This book attempted to tackle a lot of tough topics. The book and the author deserve a lot of respect for daring to go there.
This story featured themes centering around school shootings, bullying, gun legislation, politics, religion, activism, sexuality, and mental illness. Each topic very challenging to tackle on its own.
As I said, this book needed to go through one more round of editing with some very significant cuts. I would much rather see one or two things done well then see 10 things done poorly. That’s what I think happened here.
The authors’ description of the shooting was moving. I felt everything Brian was feeling as he exprienced the event, as he healed from his injuries, and fought the demons. I was right there with Landon as he took a stand and started speaking out for gun legislation.
It’s one thing to see a diagram of some event that’s remote, historical. It’s another thing when you were there When you knew the people represented by the red and purple body-count numbers in each room.
But… there is always a but.
The book was long and riddled with repetition. The ‘Gollum in his head’ is mentioned several times, on two occasions it comes up 3 or 4 times in quick succession (over a page or two). As someone who had to google Gollum, this annoyed me a great deal. I would have loved to see her change things up a little bit, there is a lot of different ways to say ‘inner voice.’
Brian’s PTSD symptoms are repetitive and stereotypical. The reader witnesses his nightmares and hypervigilance over and over again. PTSD has a multitude of signs and symptoms. Things that could have been added to the story, instead of telling me for the 13th time that he doesn’t like being in a room with opened curtains.
I also found myself a bit annoyed (possibly irrationally) that professional counseling was essentially written off. It was mentioned but discounted. I can’t help but feel that was irresponsible, after such a tragedy formal therapy should, at the very least, be explored.
Overall, Boy Shattered was a worthwhile and unique story. I think it could be a 5-star read, it just needs a lot of fine tuning.