Wednesday, July 4, 2012

You Can't Shatter Me by Tahlia Newland - review

You Can't Shatter Me
Y/A e-book/print
Tahlia Newland

I like this cover - the girl looks like your average girl, two boys are ready to fight...the imagery behind the model...interesting cover.

You Can't Shatter Me is a story about bullying.  A young girl witnesses a "misfit" being bullied, and suddenly not able to watch this one more time with no one intervening steps in.  Which of course bring the focus onto her.  At the same time, another student, who has been watching her from afar, steps in to protect her...Now they are both under fire from the bully.

Carly and Dylan are now targeted by this bully, a very angry young man named Justin.  The story deals with the beginnings of a relationship and how the two finally end up dealing with this bully in unexpected ways along with empowering a few other people.

Newland used a lot of imagery - in the form of very fantastical imagination on the part of the characters.   The things they imagined - reminded me of a film with .... Well, I could totally picture this as a short movie, with their imaginings shown in animation.  While at first I was a bit confused (being a reader of mostly urban fantasy or fantasy I thought at first these imaginings were really going on - maybe they were) I soon came to believe that the kids were using their very strong imagery to cope and come to decisions.

But not only is the bully cast as a bully - his own demons are shown.  The kid not only has a drunk dad, but deals with abuse as well, causing him to be angry and pass it on.  But then, usually a bully is someone who is so angry at their circumstances that they "pass it on" to others.

The narration was interesting- uniquely done.  The kids sounded like kids when they spoke to each other.  The bullying situations are completely believable.  And I enjoyed Carly's unique way of disarming Justin, though I wonder how well that would work with some of the most shut off predators.  Anyway, it's hopeful that some young people will read more of these type of novels and take heart that there are solutions that don't rely on violence.   Sometimes it IS as simple as showing a confidence even if you don't feel confident.  Fake it until you make it.  

It would be great if books like this were made required reading in schools.  

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