Callum enters Noa’s world and turns it upside down. He brightens her bleak existence, but he brings a whole new kind of trouble too in Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz.
Shattered Blue tells the story of Noa, a young poet who is trying to find her way in a world without her sister. Noa’s sister Isla died three months before the beginning of the novel, and her loss permeates Noa’s part of the book.
The loss of Isla stretches across everything in Noa’s life. Her mother isn’t moving past it, her father finds more and more reasons to go to work rather than spend time with his family, and living at home instead of boarding at Harlow Academy makes every day that much stranger for Noa. The only bright spot in Noa’s life is her baby sister Sasha, and the warmth that bubbles out of her when Noa needs it most. Then Noa meets Callum. She needs boy drama in her life like she needs another nosy neighbor dropping off unwanted macaroni and cheese dishes. She pushes thoughts of him away until it just seems impossible to resist whatever is dragging them toward each other anymore.
Callum guardedly opens up new doors for Noa, exposing her to a world full of magic and possibility, as well as judgement and scorn. Callum’s reality helps Noa to see things in a way she may never have before, but it comes at a price. His banishment to a world where the only way he can gain power is through taking Light from humans is a torture his father couldn’t have predicted, especially when the Light is as pure and enticing as Noa’s. Callum does his best to be a positive influence in her life, despite all the horrible things that have befallen him. It isn’t until you meet the final piece of the puzzle that you understand the story Shattered Blue is really telling. That final piece? Callum’s brother, Judah.
‘Shattered Blue’ book review
Shattered Blue starts off as so many YA novels do. It tells you the story of a girl who, thanks to some difficult circumstances, has more on her plate than any teenager should have to deal with. She’s balancing keeping her grieving family upright with all the normal struggles of a teenager: A best friend who is definitely more interested than she wants him to be, a counselor who thinks she isn’t handling her post-Isla life in the most healthy way, and her unexplainable pull toward the new boy in school. It isn’t until you meet Callum and find out about the world beyond ours that this novel gets going, but those dreary first chapters are completely necessary. You need to understand her family’s loss and despair to appreciate Noa’s relief at Callum’s arrival.
The most surprising part of this book is its greatest strength: Judah. You don’t expect his appearance, you don’t expect his potential role in the series, and you definitely don’t expect the ending. The turmoil that he causes (both directly and indirectly) is what drives you to really connect to each of these characters. His arrival brings a complication you just don’t see coming, especially in the final moments of the story. It would have been easy to cast him off as the antagonist, as the force that exists only to push Callum and Noa even closer together, but when you realize what is truly going on, you can’t help but be drawn further into this world.
Lauren Bird Horowitz has managed to take a trope that the world has all but relegated to the “been there, read that” bin, and make it feel new and interesting in a surprising way. While everything about this book’s early chapters will convince you that you know how it ends, we can assure you, there’s more to Shattered Blue than you think. There are secrets and lies in play that will surprise you before the end, and those final few pages will have you clamoring for more of a story that you didn’t see coming.