Title: Shattered Dreams
Author: Ellie James
Genre: YA Paranormal
Series: Midnight Dragonfly (Book 1)
Publication Date: December 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages
ISBN-10: 0312647026 (St. Martin’s Griffin)
ISBN-13: 978-0312647025 (St. Martin’s Griffin)
Reviewed by: Macie
Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn’t as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she’s seen, it’s already too late.
Trinity arrives on her aunt’s doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she’s seen.
But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica’s disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica’s ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.
Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.
Quick and Dirty: The writing and characterization of the protagonist are strong, but there are confusing holes in the plot at times.
Opening Sentence: “I heard this place is like . . . haunted.”
I enjoyed reading this book for the poetic descriptions and the strong protagonist voice. Trinity has had a different childhood than most of the teenagers her age, growing up orphaned and homeschooled by her grandmother a thousand miles away from her closest family member. After her grandmother dies, Trinity moves to New Orleans, where her parents grew up, to live with her Aunt Sara. Right off the reader is able to get a feel for the kind of person Trinity is. She accepts the challenges in her life, and works to overcome her troubles. She doesn’t fit in very well at school, but feels a close connection to her lab partner, Chase. Not only is her life difficult in the normal sense, but Trinity also seems to have inherited her mother’s gift of psychic visions. These visions increase in frequency and accuracy, and they could help save the life of the girl who treated Trinity poorly.
Trinity is smart, strong willed, and funny. I enjoyed reading her, and her voice really came out through the pages. Some novels have apathetic narrators, but not Trinity. She is driven by emotions and the need to know the truth, which propels the story forward. She knows almost nothing about her parents and their deaths, and starts to slowly uncover the truth as she explores mysterious New Orleans for her parent’s past. The reader finds out information as Trinity does, and the need to know what happened kept me reading until the end.
The book focuses mainly on Trinity, but she is not the only character, of course. Her Aunt seems nice enough, but we don’t see much interaction with who Sara really is. Ellie James does not really focus on character development for anyone else, but the reader must also remember that this is the beginning of a series, so Shattered Dreams may just be an introduction to the characters around Trinity. The one person she has the most interaction with is Chase Bonaventure, who is the ex-boyfriend of Jessica, the girl who went missing. Chase is described as likable, attractive, and athletic. Beyond liking Trinity and spending a lot of time with her, we really don’t find out much about who he is as a person. She has an indescribable attraction for him, and he is protective of her fairly quickly, but the relationship between the two does not go into much more detail than that. Maybe we will see more of who Chase is in later books.
For me, finding out what happened to Jessica and Trinity’s parents kept me reading until the end. This book is definitely a paranormal mystery since Trinity experiences clairvoyant dreams that could lead the police to find Jessica if they would take her suggestions seriously. We see the friction between the paranormal and the normal when Trinity is not believed by the police, but is suspected of having something to do with the disappearance in the first place. Anyone who reads paranormal novels knows how difficult relations are between those in power and those who know more because of their gifts.
The plot jumps around a bit between what Trinity dreams about, what actually happens, and what Trinity finds out about her family’s past. The story telling was a bit disjointed, but the descriptive imagery and mystery helped tie the book together. The ending was a bit confusing, but it functions as a cliffhanger for the next novel. I think Shattered Dreams was a good start, and I’m interested to see where this series goes.
Open door number one; open door number two. Life was about choices. Take a different path–dream a different dream. Even the road not taken led somewhere.
I’ll never know what would have happened if I’d just turned and walked away.
But I’m never good at that.
Determined not to buckle, I stepped deeper into the room–and saw. Lightening flashed in from a cloudless sky, replacing shadows with a harsh silver light. And in that one cruel flash, everything came into horrible focus. Filth littered the warped wood floor. Some kind of greasy grime coated the windows. Dark copper smeared against the walls. And on the mattress, something really red.
A single pink flip-flop lay upside down.
A cell phone in the corner.
On the bed . . .
I gasped. A girl lay limp as a rag doll, long legs barely covered by short denim shorts. And the hair, long, dark–
I recoiled, tried to breathe. My throat burned. My chest hurt–
I grabbed onto the oath, the familiar voice, used it to pull me back. Somehow I managed a forceful blink, returning the shadows to the room and revealing everything exactly as it had been: Jessica and Amber crouched among the candles by the mattresses, a scowling Drew a few steps away, Bethany hovering close to Chase, Pitre beside me. They all stared as if I was crazy.
There’d been no lightening. Not for them.
Only for me.
The Midnight Dragonfly Series:
FTC Advisory: St. Martin’s Griffin provided me with a copy of Shattered Dreams. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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