Shattered Dreams by Ellie James is a ghost story that takes place in New Orleans. That was pretty much all I needed to hear to make me want to pick up the book. I love spooky books set in the South! Unfortunately, this book basically failed on every level. I found the plot and characters both utterly ridiculous. I could barely make myself finish – I had to scan through sections of it to make it through.
Before I really get going, I do have to speak positively about the setting. I think post-Katrina New Orleans is showcased very well. There are creepy old mansions and dark corners aplenty, I was very happy with that part of things. Sadly, my good feelings for the book end there.
Trinity moves to New Orleans after growing up with her grandmother in Colorado. When the grandmother dies, she moves to live with her aunt. As she tries to make friends, her life gets pretty complicated when the really scary visions she sometimes had growing up become a lot more frequent. When popular girl Jessica disappears after playing a prank on Trinity, lots of people look at her for the blame. That doesn’t include Jessica’s boyfriend Chase, who pretty much immediately jumps ship and seems to fall for Trinity.
The characters were laughably bad. Emotionally (well, really only relationship-wise), they seemed more like thirty-five year old adults than teenagers. Every time I turned around Trinity and Chase were holding each other and Chase would calmly there-there her as he pulled her into his arms – that immediate intensity came off as very odd. A real class act, that guy. No qualms about becoming involved in a very intense relationship with the girl blamed for making his (very recently ex) girlfriend disappear. Plus, major insta-love alert. Absolutely no character development to make readers understand why they want to be together. No real development otherwise either – I couldn’t tell you anything about Trinity except that she has ghostly visions and likes to whine to Chase about them.
The silliest things kept happening throughout the story. Like for example, Chase offered to help Trinity find out more about her parents, who she knows little to nothing about. He almost immediately has the information about who they are and where they lived – apparently he keeps confidential city records in his back pocket? Then, as they walk up to the creepy abandoned house, he suddenly disappears. Trinity freaks out when she can’t find him and goes running around looking for him. Then, suddenly he is there again and randomly says, “I was adopted as a baby but my parents lied about it and told me I wasn’t.” He then goes on to tell the story about how he discovered this – when they are in a tense situation and Trinity is obviously scared out of her mind. Can you say totally random and out-of-place? I literally laughed out loud in disbelief at the horrible timing.
It has been a long time since I’ve sincerely disliked every single thing about a book. Normally the things I don’t like are plot points I know others will enjoy – but this is one book I recommend everyone pass over. I have already seen positive reviews of it on Goodreads though, so if you were interested in reading it before seeing my review you might look a little further before you completely give up.