Summary and book reviews of Too Shattered for Mending by Peter Brown Hoffmeister

Too Shattered for Mending

by Peter Brown Hoffmeister

Too Shattered for Mending by Peter Brown Hoffmeister
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Sep 2017, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag

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About this Book

Book Summary

A gripping - and gritty - literary mystery that shines a light on rural poverty.

"Little" McCardell is doing all he can just to keep it together after the disappearance of his grandfather "Big" and the arrest of his older brother, JT. He's looking out for his younger cousin, trying to stay afloat in school, working in the town graveyard for extra cash, and in his spare time he's pining after Rowan - the girl JT was dating until he got locked up. When the cops turn up asking questions about Big, Little doesn't want to get involved in the investigation - he's already got enough to deal with - but he has no choice. Especially not after the sheriff's deputy catches him hunting deer out of season and threatens to prosecute unless he cooperates.

Soon Little finds himself drowning in secrets, beholden to the sheriff, to JT, to Rowan, and to Big's memory, with no clear way out that doesn't betray at least one of them. And when Little's deepest secret is revealed, there's no telling how it could shatter their lives.

wanderer

Rowan smells like water. I told her that once. I said, "You smell like an eddy." I was thinking of the North Fork of the Clearwater. The backcountry runs, rocks and pools, clean enough to see the trout cut to shadow.

Rowan was drinking a Monster in front of the Mini- Mart. She said, "A what?"

She'd sliced the knees out of her jeans, scissored them way back to the side, and I kept looking at all that exposed skin.

I said, "Like an eddy on the river, when you wade in. You know?"

"When I wade in?"

"To fish," I said.

She tilted her head, and the hair she'd pulled up bobbed to the left. "So I smell like a fish?"

"No," I said, "not like a fish. You smell like an eddy."She smiled, already shaking her head, laughing at me.

I said, "Messing with me, huh?"

It was last school year. I was a freshman then, a year younger than her. I'd gotten more work in the cemetery and I imagined that I'd take her out, do something nice for her. Rowan was with JT ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Some books break us a little bit as readers; they force us to walk in the shoes of characters who are so much more than words on a page, who live in an endless mire of challenges, and who still manage to hold on to the slightest sliver of hope without even knowing that this is what they are doing. They teach us, the reader, to be a little bit better at being human. And that is the best thing I can say about Peter Brown Hoffmeister’s third novel: it broke me. The book follows Gavin “Little” McCardell through his life in Pierce, Idaho, where, for all intents and purposes, he seems to be just barely holding things together.   (Reviewed by Michelle Anya Anjirbag).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. [Hoffmeister's] characters are complex and authentic, and his subtle, stripped-down writing changes the narrative in startling ways as the story unfolds and more details come to light.

School Library Journal

Starred Review. A dark, somber novel with an endearing heart and a captivating protagonist, this excellent title is recommended for libraries with fans of realistic fiction. Grades 10 and up.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Proof that even in the darkness, there can be light.

Author Blurb Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King.
The missing link between Looking for Alaska and Winter's Bone.

Author Blurb David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Mosquitoland and Kids of Appetite
A gritty gem of a book.

Author Blurb Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces
A powerful and uncompromising story about survival, loss, fear, and what happens when hope is only the bleakest sliver of light. You will not soon forget Little McCardell or his unwavering spirit.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Food Insecurity and Education

Food InsecurityThere is no question that Little's life is affected by both his circumstances and the environment he lives in – and the Pierce, Idaho in which Hoffneister sets Too Shattered For Mending is not a figment of his imagination, but a real place, which means that it isn't a question of if there are real teens with the same struggles that Little and his peers face, but how many. Hoffman writes in an author's note:

The people of Pierce are engaging…Independent yet mutually supportive…It's strange being in a town where people are generally capable of wiring their own homes, acquiring their own meat, storing up wood for a long winter, and fixing their own cars or trucks, but that's Pierce…...

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