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Shattering Glass (Single Titles) Hardcover – March 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Fat, clumsy Simon Glass is a textbook geek, and all three of Rob's posse hates him, each for his own reasons. But Rob is driven by the need to prove his power, and so he decrees that they will take on the seemingly impossible task of making Simon popular. They take him shopping for a better look, get his hair styled, teach him how to behave. Rob extracts painful sacrifices and uneasy moral compromises to achieve the goal, but each of his followers has a hidden empty place and a related secret that holds them in bondage to his manipulations. Soon Simon is on his reluctant way to becoming Class Favorite, but then he begins to show a dark, cruel side, and an ability to do what the others can't--defy Rob. The complex interlocking motivations of these five move the story inexorably to a startling bloody catharsis.

In an enthralling first novel that evokes William Golding's Lord of the Flies and Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War, Gail Giles's Shattering Glass employs a brilliantly original structure to layer present and future in an exploration of the consequences of following a charismatic but amoral leader. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell

From Publishers Weekly

In this suspenseful, disturbing debut novel, a high school clique's plans to make over a social outcast go tragically awry. Quotes at the opening of each chapter foretell the disaster to come. Thaddeus R. Steward IV, nicknamed "Young," who is an aspiring writer, narrates the tale. As it opens, Rob Haynes, an out-of-state transfer student with good looks and seemingly unshakable confidence, quickly ascends to alpha male, ousting reigning king of popularity, Lance Ansley. But, as Lance puts it, "[Rob] wasn't happy to have it all, he had to make sure I didn't have anything." By contrast, Rob wants to position Simon Glass, a "textbook geek," so that his peers will vote Simon "Class Favorite." Simon appears to go along with the new clothes and haircut, but he has some ideas of his own. When Simon and Young discover a secret about Rob's past, one of them seeks to use it, the other to protect it. Unfortunately, the novel follows so many characters that readers do not get to know any one of them well. Ronna, Young's girlfriend, provides the most insightful commentary; speaking of Rob's plan to transform Simon, she says, "Instead of making Rob more, doesn't it just make all of us... less?" Such probing questions are overshadowed by the novel's larger events and the sheer number of characters. Still, the thriller plot and breakneck pacing will keep readers hooked and on the lookout for this author's next book. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Series: Single Titles
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761315810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761315810
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,507,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
There are plenty of books out there in which a group of high school students end up accidentally, or otherwise, killing either a classmate or a schoolteacher. Usually there's a great amount of build up to the event. Maybe it's a mystery that you reach at the end. Maybe the kids are innocent of the crime and it's all about clearing their names. In the case of "Shattering Glass", however, the protagonist Young Steward does away with any and all misunderstandings right from the start. "Simon Glass was easy to hate. I never knew exactly why, there was too much to pick from. I guess, really, we each hated him for a different reason, but we didn't realize it until the day we killed him". And we're off!

Four good buddies, Young, Rob, Bob, and Coop are the top of the pecking order at B'Vale High School. They're handsome, popular, and all around respected fellows. Rob is the unquestioned leader of the group, so when he proposes a crazy quest nobody raises any objections. Rob has honed in on one Simon Glass, the resident loser of the school. Glass is fat, uncool, and socially backward. For Rob the ultimate challenge becomes the success of Simon Glass. He becomes obsessed with it, using all his charm and resources to persuade people to help him in his crazy scheme. Ever the follower, Young doesn't question Rob's goals. Not even when he discovers the dark secret hiding in his best friend's past. By the time the book reaching its horrifying conclusion you've already learned what happens to the four friends and the unfortunate Simon Glass.

The book isn't a whodunit. It's a towhatextentdunit. By reading the little quotes that appear at the beginning of each chapter the reader begins to get a sense of what happened the night of Simon's death.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa Nolan on February 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Shattering Glass" is a suspenseful novel written by Gail Giles about the murder of a high school senior named Simon Glass. The book is narrated by a straight-A student named Young Steward. He's one of the most popular boys in Simon's school, but only because he's a close friend of the even more popular and charismatic Rob Haynes. Simon is a geek who's hated by just about the entire student body, but Rob has other plans for him. He decides to make it his mission to turn Simon into the most liked kid in the whole school. Simon goes along with it at first, but it isn't long before the newly confident Simon starts coming up with some devious plans of his own.
On the very first page of the first chapter of this book, Young admits that he himself and his friends are the ones responsible for murdering Simon. So a book can't be very exciting when you already know the ending, right? Well, you'd be surprised. "Shattering Glass" has an incredibly suspenseful storyline filled with twists and surprises that I never even saw coming! You'll be so anxious to know when, how, and especially why the murder occurred that it will probably be hard to put the book down! Young retells the events leading up to the killing with such emotion and detail that you might even find yourself feeling more pity for him than for Simon. At the beginning of every chapter are quotes from people somehow associated with the murderers or the victim. The quotes are from many years after the incident occurred, and by reading these statements and opinions you can slowly piece together exactly what happened on the fateful day of Simon's death.
"Shattering Glass" is a very entertaining book that I would recommend to everyone. A lot of the issues dealt with in this story can really make you view people in an entirely different way. It gives you a first-hand look into the darker side of high school popularity, while constantly reminding you that nothing is ever as it appears.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ChristaLauren33 on August 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Life's not always fair, I think that we can all agree with that. Someone may do something totally wrong and not get in trouble for it, while you on the other hand get blamed for everything and do nothing. This is how Young Steward felt in Shattering Glass. Young and his friends make a huge mistake that they never intended on doing. This is an easy-to-read book that will keep you turning page after page, it's lesson is one that you will never forget.
Young Steward is a part of Rob's posse. Rob Haynes moved to B'Vale their junior year, Young and himself became fast friends and stayed that way. Now it is their senior year and with assistance from their two buds, Coop and Bobster, they plan on transforming the class reject into Mr. Popularity. Simon Glass is overweight and a dork, constantly being bullied around by Lance, the used-to-be popular one, until Rob came along. While the gang helps Simon to become the stud of their senior class, Simon helps them along the way.
However, through all of this helping and generosity, Young, Coop, Bobster, and Rob begin to hate Simon just as everyone else does. They vent their anger towards him one night during the homecoming dance in the equipment room. The outcome is horrific, and not planned at all.
Shattering Glass is full of action, language, and has a twist of romance that will keep you turning pages until you reach the end. Life's not fair, no matter how many times we say it, it'll always be true, no matter how hard we wish, it'll always be true, no matter what... it will always be true. This story of how four boys totally wrecked their lives during their teen years is heartfelt and tragic, but contains that perfect life lesson. Life's not fair, but sometimes you just gotta deal with what you've been dealt.
This book is wonderful for high school students who have that certain enemy that they wish weren't there. It's also a great book for adults to draw that life lesson from and to always remember. Enjoy!
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