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Karen Healey

Karen HealeyKaren Healey was born in Whangarei, New Zealand, and has lived in lots of places since, including Oamaru, Christchurch, Tokyo, Fuchu, and Melbourne. She is the author of the award-winning young adult urban fantasy, “Guardian of the Dead”, “The Shattering”, and the forthcoming “When We Wake.” She likes baking, “World of Warcraft”, and tripartite sentences. She used to want to be a dinosaur-hunting cowgirl, but being an author is sufficient compensation in its combination of excitement and terror.

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When We Wake: I could do with more YA like this

When We Wake by Karen Healey

I read some great YA novels last year, but also a few less than impressive ones. In my reviews, I explained my reservations about the novels I didn’t like in some detail. At one point, I started to wonder whether I was being too hard on them, because, after all, those books are aimed at a younger audience. Is it fair to set the same expectations for YA as for books aimed at mature readers? Looking back, I even mentioned in some reviews that I clearly wasn’t the target demographic for these novels and that someone who is closer to the YA age range would probably enjoy them more.

So, thinking about those reviews now, I’m wondering: was I just making excuses for poor writing? Shouldn’t a novel feature interesting, complex characters and an original plot whether it’s YA or not? There are good books and bad books in any genre. Letting YA get away with predictability, poor characterization or sloppy plotting m... Read More

More by Karen Healey

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsGuardian of the Dead — (2010) Publisher: “You’re Ellie Spencer.” I opened my mouth, just as he added, “And your eyes are opening.”
Seventeen-year-old Ellie Spencer is just like any other teenager at her boarding school. She hangs out with her best friend Kevin, she obsesses over Mark, a cute and mysterious bad boy, and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. But then everything changes. The news headlines are all abuzz about a local string of serial killings that all share the same morbid trademark: the victims were discovered with their eyes missing. Then a beautiful yet eerie woman enters Ellie’s circle of friends and develops an unhealthy fascination with Kevin, and a crazed old man grabs Ellie in a public square and shoves a tattered Bible into her hands, exclaiming, “You need it. It will save your soul.” Soon, Ellie finds herself plunged into a haunting world of vengeful fairies, Maori mythology, romance, betrayal, and an epic battle for immortality.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsThe Shattering — (2011) Publisher: Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn’t prepared for her brother’s suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna’s brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers. As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year’s Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most. As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves?