Too Shattered for Mending

384p. Knopf. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553538052.
RedReviewStarGr 10 Up—Gavin "Little" McCardell is fighting to keep his world from unraveling. Little's older brother JT is serving time in prison, and Rowan, JET's girlfriend, is cozying up to Little. Little's aunt and uncle oscillate between being neglectful and abusive toward his 10-year-old cousin Willa, prompting Little to try to at least keep both of them fed. Finally, when Little's grandfather, "Big" McCardell, disappears without a trace and the local deputy threatens Little with incarceration in an attempt to discover Big's whereabouts, the young man's frayed world threatens to tear apart completely. Hoffmeister's follow-up to This Is the Part Where You Laugh, moves with a slow rhythm. Most chapters average two to three pages, detailing small moments, such as Willa's wise observations, or Rowan's routine visits to Little's trailer home, between longer chapters with bolder consequential events. Little's world becomes tangible over time, as the setting and characters quickly fill with depth and believability. These factors coalesce into a novel with a powerful, and oftentimes profound impact on readers. The work deals with family and abusive relationships, as well as drug use, making this more appropriate for older readers.
VERDICT A dark, somber novel with an endearing heart and a captivating protagonist, this excellent title is recommended for libraries with fans of realistic fiction.

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