YA Review and Contest: SHATTERED DREAMS by Ellie James

I was anxious to read this new YA paranormal that is set in post-Katrina New Orleans…a setting I know well, right? So it means I’m going to probably be tougher on it than I would on a book set in, say, Zanzibar or Portland. So, read on to see what I thought of it. And if you’d like to win a copy, leave a comment at the end!

ABOUT THE BOOK: 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.

MY THOUGHTS: Okay, I’ll get the setting out of the way first. For the most part, James got the feel of New Orleans down extremely well. The odd things to me were the references to Spanish moss hanging from the huge live oaks. (How come I lived there for 15 years and rarely saw so much as a drip of Spanish moss unless I got outside the city?) So that bugged me since it was mentioned more than once. There was some falling back on stereotypes, like having Trinity’s aunt call her “cher.” Sure, a few old-timers still do that but mostly you have to get outside the city to hear it. So, those are minor quibbles that made me growl a little but nothing serious.

            As for the story, it’s an interesting “girl-with-visions” tale that ends up being more of a mystery story with a paranormal twist. The empty mansion on Prytania Street is a super-creepy setting (except for the Spanish moss dripping off the tree in the yard. Seriously.) Chase, the sorta boyfriend, is interesting and nicely complex.

            My biggest issues were with the pace of the booknand the main character. The pace felt kind of choppy and slow to get started (an opening truth-or-dare game, which is a great idea, went on for three chapters). As for Trinity, she’s sixteen, so I guess it’s appropriate that she sounds like a sixteen-year-old. Except that I’m a little too old to find that kind of door-slamming, running-away-from-problems drama engaging. I wanted to slap her, set her down, and tell her to get a grip a few times.

Still, it is YA and there’s also a big contingent of YA readers who complain that too often characters don’t sound like teenagers, who—face it—are kind of drama queens and kings. So I say, judge for yourself!  Want to win a copy of Shattered Dreams? You know the routine: just comment to enter. Earn a second entry for blog follow, another for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and another for Tweet or Retweet or a share on Facebook—total of four entries possible!

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

24 thoughts on “YA Review and Contest: SHATTERED DREAMS by Ellie James

  1. Hmm I can see where you are coming from. Sometimes I read a story and the references to make me feel more settled does the opposite. Thank you for your review. I’d like to try this.

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  2. This book seems worth a try

    thanks you for the giveaway


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  3. Well you know how I feel about authors messing with New Orleans. lol

    But this sounds like a cute read for my daughter. She is looking for a new series after reading the last Eragon book.

  4. Sounds like a book I might enjoy.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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