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Review: Fragile

August 17, 2010

In the small town of Hollows, a teen-age girl has gone missing.  It reminds some of the parents of a disappearance and murder that happened years before.   The missing girl (Charlene) was dating Ricky – his dad (Jones) is a police detective and his mom (Maggie) is a psychologist.  The investigation makes Jones remember the past with regret, and at first, suspect Ricky.  Maggie is trying to take care of her mother, her patients and Ricky and makes a discovery of her own about the past.  This secret from the past has a tenuous hold on the people involved and has shaped their whole lives.  In the end, Jones and Maggie have to decide how or if they can live with it.

It’s really hard to describe the plot of Fragile, by Lisa Unger, without giving too much away, but trust me when I say it’s tense and well crafted.  I was anxious to turn the pages to find out what happened to Charlene and to see how the lives of all the members of the community were entwined.

The characters in this book are fantastic – so human and relatable.  No one is perfect and that’s just what made me feel for them so much.  The descriptions of small town life were so vivid, that the town of Hollows became a character for me.  Because I’ve moved around so much and have never lived anywhere that small, I became fascinated with the small-town dynamics and one passage in particular struck me:

He wondered what it would be like to grow up in one place and stay there all your life, to forever be defined by your childhood relationships, to never know if you got to be the person you wanted to be, to always be the person you were when you were young.

Fragile also explores the damage that secrets can cause.  The secret that Maggie uncovered defined everyone involved for the rest of their lives.  It was almost like a poison that came into their lives, and the lives of those they loved.  It made me think about forgiveness – not just forgiving others, but learning to forgive yourself too.

This was my first experience with Lisa Unger’s work, but it certainly won’t be my last.  Fragile is one of those books that was on my mind even when I wasn’t reading it.   It will give you a lot to think about, and I do recommend it since I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Review copy provided by Book Sparks.  I am an IndieboundAffiliate.

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48 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2010 5:07 am

    Wonderful review. It is on my wish list!

  2. August 17, 2010 6:32 am

    I agree with everything you said, but I think you said it much more eloquently! Great review!

  3. August 17, 2010 6:43 am

    I just added it to my TBR list. Sounds like a great book!

  4. August 17, 2010 6:49 am

    Sounds like a wonderful book. I grew up in a small town so I love it when an author gets the dynamics right. I’ll be looking for Fragile. Your review sold me.

  5. August 17, 2010 7:01 am

    I just skimmed the end of this review and I am 1/2 way through, and didn’t want to spoil it. Glad u liked it.

    I’ve read ALL of Unger’s books — she is great! The audio versions are excellent as well.

  6. August 17, 2010 7:08 am

    I’ve read a couple of Unger’s books (not this one) and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them. She has the most effective way of cranking up the tension slowly, making us squirm! I need to get my hands on this one – maybe the audio.

  7. August 17, 2010 8:58 am

    I’ve never read a Lisa Unger book, and was kind of on the fence about this one, but your review has convinced me that I need to put it on the TBR list. Thanks!

  8. August 17, 2010 9:31 am

    Great review, Kathy! I love books that stick with you and that manage to make you think of them even when you are not reading. It sounds like a really great read that I haven’t heard much about. I am going to have to take a closer look at this book! Thanks!

  9. August 17, 2010 9:43 am

    I’ve read some great reviews of this book and I haven’t read this author yet myself. I guess that is one that I will have to add to the list.

  10. August 17, 2010 9:47 am

    Adding it to my TBR list right now! It sounds a little like my review today of I’d Know You Anywhere-suspense, kidnapping, forgiveness. Thanks for the recommendation.

  11. Beth Hoffman permalink
    August 17, 2010 9:50 am

    Great review, Kathy! You know how I love secrets and the damage they can cause … so you hooked me!

  12. August 17, 2010 9:52 am

    I love the quote. I’ve moved countless times in my life; Dave grew up in a small town and didn’t leave until his late 30s. We have very different views of the world as a result. The quote is something I’ve always wondered about too; Dave just thinks people who never left his small hometown have missed out.

  13. August 17, 2010 10:08 am

    This story sounds great and its definitely something that i would enjoy. I’m putting it on my wish list right away : )

  14. August 17, 2010 10:39 am

    I’ve read a review of the book and love it so much. Can’t wait to get my own copy!Great review =)

  15. stacybuckeye permalink
    August 17, 2010 10:45 am

    I loved her first two books and know I’ll be reading this one too. Beautiful Lies is her debut novel and very good.

  16. August 17, 2010 11:48 am

    It sounds great, definitely will keep my eyes out for a copy of this one.

  17. August 17, 2010 11:57 am

    Wow, Kathy, Fragile sounds really good.

  18. August 17, 2010 12:09 pm

    This sounds really good! I’ve been reading some disappointing suspense books lately, but this sounds like one I would like!

  19. August 17, 2010 12:13 pm

    Great review. I’ve never read anything by Unger but it sounds like I should pick this one up.

  20. August 17, 2010 12:51 pm

    I listened to this on audio while in the hospital with Natalie and it kept me riveted! I will definitely be reading more of her work.

  21. August 17, 2010 12:54 pm

    I love the passage you shared, I want to read this one.

  22. August 17, 2010 1:21 pm

    There have been so many books dealing with missing kids lately. It’s a rather disturbing trend but because there are so many books out there, it’s hard for one to stand out. I’m glad this one worked for you.

  23. August 17, 2010 1:25 pm

    That quote is a reason I couldn’t wait to leave home at age 17 to head to college (far away) and never to live there again. Great review and looks like a book I’d like.

  24. August 17, 2010 2:08 pm

    That cover alone caught my eye. I’ve never read anything from Lisa Unger before, but I might have to start with this one.

  25. August 17, 2010 2:14 pm

    Wow! This sounds like such a great and engrossing book!! I really want to read it now!!!

  26. August 17, 2010 2:17 pm

    This sounds like one of those books that would definitely get under your skin and make you think about it long after you’ve put it down. Sounds like a good one to me!

  27. August 17, 2010 3:09 pm

    I’m reading this book right now and I’m very intrigued. Thanks for the great review and not revealing too much! 🙂

  28. August 17, 2010 3:45 pm

    I was reading about this book today in Book News and put it on my TBR list.

  29. August 17, 2010 3:48 pm

    You picked a great quote! I can’t even imagine what life would have been like if I never would have left the small town I grew up in. I sure wouldn’t want to be defined by those relationships forever.

  30. August 17, 2010 4:22 pm

    Adding it to my wish list. Sounds really good!
    Natalie :0)

  31. August 17, 2010 4:30 pm

    Fantastic review…this one is definitely going on my tbr list, might even move it up to the top.

  32. August 17, 2010 4:37 pm

    It was my first Unger book and will not be my last. You are right, it is difficult describing the book without giving anything away. Fragile is definitely one of my top reads.

  33. August 17, 2010 8:09 pm

    I haven’t read any Lisa Unger books, but I will now. I’ll have to check this one out. Great post!

  34. August 17, 2010 8:39 pm

    This sounds pretty good. I read one of her books earlier in the year and it seemed “above average” for sure.

  35. August 17, 2010 9:09 pm

    This one sounds like my cup of tea! I need to get my hands on a copy!

  36. August 17, 2010 10:16 pm

    I really want to try Lisa Unger’s books. This one looks both suspenseful and insightful.

  37. August 18, 2010 2:37 am

    I find small-town dynamics fascinating too. This sounds like a book I’d enjoy.

  38. August 18, 2010 12:53 pm


    I have this and plan to read it soon…I love your description.

  39. August 18, 2010 1:35 pm

    I moved quite a few times during my childhood, too, so that quote hit me as well. I’ve never read this author’s work, but I’ll keep this one in mind.

  40. August 18, 2010 2:02 pm

    I’d love to read this one — it sounds so good. I have another of her books in my pile but haven’t read it yet. I’ve heard really good things about her work though.

  41. August 18, 2010 11:41 pm

    woah, sounds like a great one. I recommend the work of Gillian Flynn…a bit about small towns, murder mysteries, etc. She has two great books.

    This one sounds really interesting though. thanks for sharing!

  42. August 19, 2010 7:35 am

    I’ve been seeing this one around the blogs lately but it was the first time I’ve heard of this author.

  43. August 19, 2010 10:04 am

    I’ve heard about Lisa Unger but haven’t read anything by her yet. Your review certainly has sparked my interest. Thanks!

  44. August 20, 2010 12:22 am

    Oh this one sounds so, so, so good!

  45. August 20, 2010 9:52 pm

    I definitely want to read this one!

  46. August 21, 2010 10:28 am

    I want this book!

  47. August 22, 2010 10:41 am

    wow! this book sounds great! definitely adding it to the list. i hope i can get my hands on it soon.

  48. August 22, 2010 6:46 pm

    This one sounds terrific.

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