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Shattering Glass [Paperback]

Gail Giles
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

4 Oct 2004
Simon Glass is a nerd. Clumsy and awkward, he's a loser who occupies the lowest rung of the high school social ladder. Everybody picks on him, making jokes at his expense - until Rob Haynes shows up. Rob, a transfer student with charisma to spare, immediatly becomes the undisputed leader of the senior class. And he has plans for Simon. Rob's mission: To turn the snivelling Simon Glass from total freak to would-be prom king. But as Simon rises to the top of the social ranks, he shows a new confidence and a devious side that the power-hungry Rob did not anticipate. And when Simon Glass uncovers a dangerous secret, events suddenly darken. The end result being disquieting, chilling ...and brutal.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (4 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689860463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689860461
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,055,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"A dark, finely crafted, on-the-money coming-of-age, suspense story."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shattering Glass by Gail Giles 26 Nov 2004
This novel develops quickly from its deceptively stereotypical premise - popular jock and geeky computer type battling it out in the public arena of a highschool canteen - into a sinister and gripping tale about power and trust.
The shrewd depiction of a gang of teenage boys is combined with endless chilling twists in the plot to make this a fabulous read. Gail Giles, as wonderfully devious as some of her creations, teases the reader by introducing each chapter with a brief monologue made by one of the characters years after the events of the novel have unfolded. So the reader is challenged into predicting - and re-predicting - the nature of the conclusion, but ultimately this is a frustratingly impossible task.
Highly suitable for adolescent girls and boys alike, this will also be enjoyed by adults with a love of a good story and well-drawn characters. Also, anybody who enjoyed the film 'Heathers' should appreciate the similarly dark feel of this book. Enjoy!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  85 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glass menagerie 14 Sep 2004
By E. R. Bird - Published on
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. The question isn't what happened so much as it is, "Who was involved?". It's more, "To what extent was Young involved?". Giles is the master of the slow reveal. She gives us just enough information throughout the story to be interested. Then she'll toss in the occasional tantalizing detail just to suck us deeper into the story. Best of all, Giles never creates a character without there being some kind of backstory involved. If someone does something cruel or unfeeling, you can probably bet they've their own problems hidden away somewhere. What I liked best of all was the character of Glass himself. Simultaneously a victim and a victimizer, the object of everyone's attention turns out to be far cannier than anyone ever suspected. In a way, I saw this book as a kind of updated "The Chocolate War". In both cases a charming teen at the height of his school's society feels a need to keep himself at the top of the pecking order through the rigid control of others. The only difference is, in "The Chocolate War" the villain decides to destroy a fellow student. In this book, he aims to recreate him. And the results are almost identical.

Giles has debuted with a powerful first novel. The book isn't, for the record, actually as good as "The Chocolate War", but it is the rare young adult novel that makes you think. There's a lot of power behind Giles' words and her characters are a fascinating study. As a former substitute teacher, she's aware of her subject matter and their social constraints. Best of all, the book never falls into that old trap of an adult writing for teens and including lots of "hip" teen slang. The closest this book ever comes to slang is the occasional "Yo!". I can live with that. In the end, "Shattering Glass" deserves its praise. It may not be the nicest book about teen popularity out there, but it's certainly not the cruelest.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It will keep you guessing until the last page...literally! 8 Feb 2004
By Alyssa Nolan - Published on
"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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ!!! 7 Jan 2004
By Elyssa - Published on
Shattering Glass, written by Gail Giles, was a terrific teen book. The book touches on topics such as love, lies, and a follow the leader type of feeling. The story takes place in a south western town, and is about a group of teenage boys who chose to take the "geekiest" boy in the school and attempt to make him "the class favorite" by the end of the year. Young is one of the main characters of the story; he faces a lot of hardships, because of the way his friend Rob wants things to turn out with Simon Glass, the nerd. Young discovers that Rob has been lying to them, about who he is and where is from, this gives Young a sense of betrayal, but he tries to understand, and doesn't say anything to Rob about it. The way the book is written has you wanting more until you reach the end, but then you still want more.
The book is interesting because of the way it is written, you think one thing will happen and another thing does. It also keeps you guessing. The book shows a darker side to highschool students. The book is overall very interesting and fun to read, however, in the beginning it is a little slow, but it picks up momentum quickly, however, and nothing major happens till around the last three pages of the book. It is however, catching, and an excellent book. The only problem is it takes too long to get to the most shocking part, but it is as I have said overall a good book.
The author does a great job at describing the life of a teenager, the fact that there is a major "social class" in highschool was depicted in the book in a perfect light. The book shows how peer pressure is a major way of the typical teenage lifestyle.
I love to read books, but I am very picky on which books I read, if a book doesn't grab my interest with in the first chapter I don't finish it. Shattering Glass grabbed my interest within the first few pages. The book affected me in many different ways, it showed how far some people would go for friends, and it shows the pressure of highschool, which I can really relate to, but it put it in a different point of view. My opinions on the topic in this book has not changed at all, I agreed with everything the author wrote, and the book was everything I thought it would be and more.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading books that hit on real subjects, for someone who wants to read what really happens in the world but in a fictional viewpoint. This was a great book and I highly recommend it. It would also make a great movie! I hope you like the book, and enjoy reading it!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simon's Road to Popularity 27 Aug 2003
By ChristaLauren33 - Published on
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!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars cute title, powerful story 23 Sep 2004
By E. M. Bristol - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Shattering Glass" is a powerful examination of what it takes to become popular, and what happens when the power structure of a society/school is dramatically shifted.

The narrator's best friend decides to give the school "loser" a makeover in order for him to become popular and eventually be voted Class Favorite for the seniors. His three pals warm to the task, but the narrator is repelled by the outcast, especially after he senses that the boy is more manipulative and rebellious than he lets on. The boy also has an uncanny ability to ferret out secrets and weaknesses that others would prefer to keep hidden. When he uses this power against this group of friends, tragedy ensures, in a very Y2K way.

Unlike one reviewer, I did not find the profanity gratuitous but used for effect in very specific scenes. However, I did feel the author at times was trying to hard to be colorful, coining the kinds of phrases that are used in movies like "Clueless" but not (often) by real life teens.
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