Too Shattered for Mending
Too Shattered for Mending

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Annotation: With his grandfather missing and his older brother in jail, Little McCardell finds himself drowning in secrets that will shatter lives.
Catalog Number: #151871
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 376 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-553-53805-5 Perma-Bound: 0-605-99857-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-553-53805-2 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-99857-5
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
As in This Is the Part Where You Laugh (2016), Hoffmeister's latest depicts a teenager trying to endure his relatives and life in poverty. Sixteen-year-old Little is trying to survive after his grandfather Big disappears. He looks after himself and his cousin while also controlling romantic feelings for his brother's girlfriend, Rowan. Believing Little knows something about the disappearance, police continually try to glean information from him. It's not long before Little is smothered in the secrets of others, all of whom want his loyalty. This is a raw and gritty book depicting someone attempting to thrive in harsh conditions. It is deliberately paced only until one becomes accustomed to the structure, wherein sporadic flashbacks provide information about what happened to Big, and readers begin to put the pieces together to understand what occurred. Hoffmeister's Mexican heritage is reflected through the main character. A compelling new work by Hoffmeister.
Horn Book
Little McCardell is treading water in his poverty-stricken rural Idaho hometown; his grandfather is missing, his older brother jailed for domestic abuse, and Little's schoolwork is understandably suffering. Told in short, vignette-like chapters with unadorned poetic language, Little's story is bleak and heartwrenching but quite moving, with an eerie tension slowly building to a surprising conclusion.
Kirkus Reviews
When 16-year-old Little McCardell's grandfather disappears, it is up to him to clean up the mess tha
Publishers Weekly
Gavin -Little- McCardell attempts to navigate life in his small Idaho town, but it-s not easy with his dysfunctional family, learning disability, and crush on his imprisoned older brother-s girlfriend, Rowan. It seems as though everyone in town has secrets, including why his grandfather, the infamous Big McCardell, has vanished, and why the cops are so interested in his disappearance. When the sheriff starts blackmailing Little, he has no choice but to seek out his wayward relative, and the answers he uncovers aren-t what anyone expects. Meanwhile, Little grows closer to his classmate Zaylie, only to discover she has her own struggles, and Rowan seems hell-bent on self-destruction. In this gritty, complicated drama, Hoffmeister (This Is the Part Where You Laugh) draws out the harsh realities of living on the edge, and of attempting to stay afloat when things get messy. His 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. Ages 14-up. Agent: Adriann Ranta, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 10 UpGavin "Little" McCardell is fighting to keep his world from unraveling. Little's older brother JT is serving time in prison, and Rowan, JET's girlfriend, is cozying up to Little. Little's aunt and uncle oscillate between being neglectful and abusive toward his 10-year-old cousin Willa, prompting Little to try to at least keep both of them fed. Finally, when Little's grandfather, "Big" McCardell, disappears without a trace and the local deputy threatens Little with incarceration in an attempt to discover Big's whereabouts, the young man's frayed world threatens to tear apart completely. Hoffmeister's follow-up to This Is the Part Where You Laugh, moves with a slow rhythm. Most chapters average two to three pages, detailing small moments, such as Willa's wise observations, or Rowan's routine visits to Little's trailer home, between longer chapters with bolder consequential events. Little's world becomes tangible over time, as the setting and characters quickly fill with depth and believability. These factors coalesce into a novel with a powerful, and oftentimes profound impact on readers. The work deals with family and abusive relationships, as well as drug use, making this more appropriate for older readers. VERDICT A dark, somber novel with an endearing heart and a captivating protagonist, this excellent title is recommended for libraries with fans of realistic fiction.Matisse Mozer, County of Los Angeles Public Library
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
When 16-year-old Little McCardell's grandfather disappears, it is up to him to clean up the mess that's left behind. Hunger, violence, drugs, and hopelessness haunt the citizens of his impoverished Idaho town. But Little is determined to break free from his family's legacy. Desperate to find stronger roots, he even begins learning Spanish in hopes of feeling closer to his estranged Mexican father. He is determined to graduate and find a way to care for his young cousin, but his dyslexia is a constant battle. When an obsessed sheriff's deputy begins asking questions about his grandfather's whereabouts, Little must dig for information or risk becoming entangled in a dangerous world. Drugs, abuse, child pornography, casually crude language, drinking, and rape orient readers to the ample challenges that Little faces. But the unfolding mystery, lyrical language, and empathy for the characters make Hoffmeister's a story worth investing in. Little's determination, passion, and genuine love for the broken people in his life keep this narrative from falling into despair. Short chapters, a sparse setting, and evocative characters combine to create a story that is more than the sum of its parts. Proof that even in the darkness, there can be light. (Fiction. 14-adult)
Voice of Youth Advocates
Life is unraveling for Little who, at sixteen, is living alone in a trailer trying to look out for his young cousin, Willa, whose parents are strung out. The constant adult figure in his life, Big, is missing, and his older brother is soon to be released from a stint in county. Things get worse for Little as a deputy sheriff catches him on a poaching charge. Willa has asked him for some meat as the food supply is running low. This prompts Little to shoot a doe out of season. In exchange for turning a blind eye to the crime, the sheriff has given Little a few weeks to come up with information on the whereabouts of Big. Drugs, booze, and bad choices abound. Yet, somehow, amazingly, Little tries to stay true to his moral compass, help those in need, and hold on to a shred of hope. The brief chapters are revealing snippets into the life of this small Idaho town and the struggles of the people within it. The sparse writing compliments the novel beautifully. It is depressing and desolate. Little tries to hold onto normalcy, frequently struggling with his math homework while everything else is falling apart around him. A similar foil is drawn between his two love interests as Zaydie is dealing with angsty problems with her parents while Rowan is spiraling toward tragedy. Jumps in time help give a broader picture of Little and the whereabouts of Big as the truth slowly emerges.—Erin Wyatt.
Word Count: 78,613
Reading Level: 4.2
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.2 / points: 11.0 / quiz: 505337 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.2 / points:19.0 / quiz:Q71693
Lexile: HL680L
late october

in the wilderness

I know the smell of pine loam moldering in the fall.

Watch a coyote hunt a house cat in the Chinese cemetery.

Native rainbow trout shake their heads at a 1⁄8 Rooster Tail spinner at midday, swallow it come evening.

I know that Rowan loves JT, even after he beat her.

the 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 but I tried to ignore that.

Rowan finished her Monster and threw the empty down on the cement. "I'll see you around?" she said, and made a fish motion with her hand.

Excerpted from Too Shattered for Mending by Peter Brown Hoffmeister
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

The missing link between Looking for Alaska and Winter’s Bone.” —Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King. 

“A portrait of the heart and will that's so tragic and beautiful it singes. . . . Enough to launch a thousand of those tweets that say 'I'm not crying, you're crying.'"
The New York Times Book Review

“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 sherriff'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.

A powerful and uncompromising story . . .You will not soon forget Little McCardell or his unwavering spirit.” —Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

★ "A story that is more than the sum of its parts. Proof that even in the darkness, there can be light." —Kirkus Reviews, starred

“A gritty gem of a book.” —David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Mosquitoland and Kids of Appetite

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