Author: Ellie James
Publisher: Macmilam/St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: 12/06/2011
Have you ever noticed how just about every paranormal book set in New Orleans has a built-in spooky feel to it? The city itself has such a strange and interesting energy that I think you could set a happy-go-lucky romance there and it would still feel like a ghost story. In Shattered Dreams, author Ellie James takes full advantage of the New Orleans atmosphere to craft a hauntingly rich tale of a girl who sees the future but has very little knowledge about her own past.
Trinity Monsour really wants to try to live a normal life. She moves to New Orleans to live with her aunt after her grandmother passes away unexpectedly. For most of her life, she lived in the Colorado mountains, where her grandmother homeschooled her and taught her to never speak of the dreams she had about future events. Now, she’s just trying to fit in, make some friends, and get through her last two years of high school without any major drama. But when she’s invited on an outing with some of the most popular kids in school, and that outing turns into a terrifying game of truth or dare in a house with a reputation for being a very bad place, Trinity’s dreams of being a normal teenager shatter.
Jessica, the head cheerleader and snob extraordinaire, devises a plan to punish her ex-boyfriend and Trinity for their blossoming feelings towards each other. What is supposed to be a simple, yet nasty, prank ends very badly when Jessica goes missing the next day. Trinity’s abilities allow her to see what the future has in store for Jessica, but every time she’s tries to help, she just ends up looking guilty. Throughout the story, Trinity is also on a journey to discover more about her own past, and finds out that when it comes to visions of the future, the proverbial apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree.
I usually don’t like to use trite terms such as “haunting” and “mesmerizing,” to describe a book, but in the case of Shattered Dreams, I think they actually work. Like I said, the New Orleans atmosphere alone lends an ethereal quality to the style, and James’ beautiful writing kept me completely sucked in to the story. Trinity is a well-drawn character, a mix between regular teenage girl and otherworldly being, although she’s entirely human. She’s a much kinder soul than I am, if someone pulled such a horrible prank on me, I don’t know that I’d be looking for them if they went missing.
The only issue I had with the plot is the relationship between Trinity and Chase (Jessica’s ex). There didn’t really seem to be a lead-in for it. One minute I thought he was still dating Jessica, and the next he’s holding Trinity and calling her “baby.” Other than that, the teen romance angle was good, I just felt like there really needed to be a little more of a segue there. This is the first book in the Midnight Firefly series, and I’m looking forward to reading more. I recommend Shattered Dreams to any fan of the YA paranormal genre.
Note- I read this book for free through Netgalley.