Have you ever started a book and thought “wow, this is going to be good?” then happen to turn the page and realise no, this is terrible?
I read Every Shattered Thing in one evening, mostly because once I’d started it, I just wanted to get it over with. I can’t leave a book unfinished.
Stephanie is 17, a straight A student, girlfriend of a football player and harbouring a dangerous secret. Which is spilled in the first few chapters. So, not that much of a secret then. I really wanted to like this book. The theme alone is more sinister than a lot of YA/NA books and really captured my interest.
But, my first problem was way before we even go to the actual point of the book. The writing style was fucking annoying. Maybe I’m one of those people who likes to know every single movement a person makes in a story, but it felt like I was missing sentences, while they probably weren’t very important, it drove me mad. For example: one second they were standing outside her bedroom window talking, the next they were walking into a cafe? Where is the transition here? The language is quite frankly, overkill. Sorry, I meant poetic *throws up*. It felt like it was written by a 14-year-old. It was kind of patronising to be honest. Plus, talk about over-dramatic. It seems like some YA/NA authors can’t go 5 pages without their characters fawning all over each other. I know they’re supposed to be teenagers, but seriously?
Okay, so Stephanie has been “dealt a rough hand” (which she manages to mention 15 or so times). Her mother is a useless drug addict or alcoholic, it’s never really clear, who is having an affair with someone who is in the first 3 chapters or so, then never mentioned again. I mean, what was the point of him at all then? Her father beats her and has forced her into prostitution, beginning at aged 12. It involves the local law enforcement so she can’t go to the police for help and she’s also basically taking care of her 4-year-old brother. So she says. Don’t see much of that going on.
Here’s where it started to become unbelievable. Major spoilers ahead.
Her father has somehow conned every family in town into believing its okay for their teenage cheerleader daughters to have sex with high school boys for money. Apparently because it’s been going on for years, it’s all fine and dandy. He’s started some huge paedophile ring and a website because, almost every man in this book is a rapist who loves little girls. He also somehow has dozens of people watching Stephanie all the time. Come on, really? How big is this town that he can have 10,000 people stalking her but it takes 14 seconds to walk from one side of town to the other? He locks her in a room at his workplace (near his workplace? I’m not sure because the writing was so unclear) so she can receive “clients” every 20 bleeding minutes without anyone noticing.
Her boyfriend Kevin. Sigh. Football team star and the most uninteresting male protagonist I’ve ever read (even Edward Cullen had more going for him), knows all of this and does literally nothing but try to sleep with her. Which she doesn’t seem to have a problem with. I find it extremely difficult to believe that someone who has experienced such horrors would find it so easy to differentiate between rape and sex. At this point she’s been raped on the reg for 5 years and we’re expected to believe that she can get over that so quickly to have sex with her boyfriend of one month?
At one point, CPS swoop in and take her brother but not her. This is explained away vaguely but still doesn’t make that much sense. Her brother is promptly fostered by her surrogate parents Emma and Jude, because he has a “friend in government” or some shit like that. I’m sorry, but even as a naive teenager I wouldn’t have believed that. And instead of actually involving CPS to help her get away from her father, they just let her go back and pretend like nothing has happened for another month or so.
At one point, she gets taken to hospital where – despite telling everyone that her dad put her in that situation – they still insist on contacting him. What kind of doctor would find out a 17 year old was forced into prostitution by her father, and then bring him into the hospital to take her home? It’s….stupid.
Then when she finally gets rescued, it turns out that her 17 year old boyfriend is working for some kind of non-profit that deals with children in the sex industry (or something like that) because one time he was accused of rape when he tried to help his friend.
I can’t even address all the things that were ridiculous in this book because I’ll be sat here all day.
Honestly, it was probably one of the most irritating books I’ve ever read. Mostly because it was just SO over the top. One or two of these story lines would have been enough but Ramirez manages to pack so much in there that it becomes unrealistic and started to annoy me pretty quickly.