Review: Shattered Souls

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey will be released in the U.S. on December 8, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available online to pre-order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Philomel, a division of Penguin Group, the print edition is 336 pages.

Shattered Souls is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at

Goodreads description:

A thrilling debut story of death, love, destiny and danger

Lenzi hears voices and has visions – gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can’t help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she’s a reincarnated Speaker – someone who can talk to and help lost souls – and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn’t make a decision soon.


What if all of a sudden you started hearing noises inside your head? The sound of static growing louder and more persistent each day, becoming even more distracting. And what if one day those noises turned into voices? Voices pleading for your help. Clamoring to be heard. What would you think?

You’d think you were going crazy. Because there couldn’t possibly be another reason. Anything else would be even more insane.

So, the only conclusion Lenzi could reach was that she was losing her mind. There wasn’t any other answer that made sense. Not when her father heard voices, too. Voices that drove him to end his life as his only means of escape from the torment.

But when she meets Alden and he offers her a different explanation, she’s not so sure that she’s the only one who’s crazy. Because what he suggests is certainly not a part of any reality she’s ever known.

Reincarnation? Past lives? Speakers and Protectors who help ensure that lost souls find their way? And that she is supposedly a Speaker and Alden is her Protector and has been for many lifetimes? None of this could be anything more than some deluded fantasy. It has to be. And he must be even more insane than she is.

Besides, how could she even think of believing him when she can’t remember anything? And if they’ve had lifetimes together, as he suggests, why doesn’t she remember him?

With only these two options before her – admit that she’s crazy and live a life filled with hospitals and doctors and medication or accept what Alden is telling her and spend her days resolving unfinished business for Earth-bound spirits – Lenzi is not thrilled with either choice. But she knows how things ended for her father. And Alden is sort of gorgeous….

Maybe being a Speaker wouldn’t be so bad after all.


Shattered Souls is an incredibly imaginative and refreshingly original debut novel from author Mary Lindsey. The story and characters are exciting and surprising and just brilliantly written.

The story gets right to the point and brings the reader immediately in. There is no long wind-up and no immediate mystery. Readers are thrust into Lenzi Anderson’s life just as the trouble for her begins. She starts hearing voices and is afraid that she is suffering from the same ailment that took her father from her less than a year ago.

Her boyfriend Zak is initially understanding and supportive, until she meets Alden who suggests that what she’s going through is not the same as what happened to her dad. Alden tells her that her name is Rose and that she has been reincarnated in order to help the Hindered – souls with unresolved issues that remain Earth-bound.

Alden claims that the two of them are connected and that they have been reincarnated again and again to serve this purpose – she as a Speaker and he as her Protector. As Lenzi struggles with this newfound information, Zak fights to keep her by his side.

But even though she doesn’t remember her past lives, her feelings begin to grow for Alden, taking her further and further away from the life she’s known and the boy she thought she loved.

Shattered Souls is an all-consuming and truly unputdownable book. Even though this story has a paranormal focus there is such a realness to it that comes from the characters. They are genuine and their actions, reactions and responses are very believable.

Mary Lindsey has done such a remarkable job in crafting her world and each of her characters. And because the world centers around the main character, Lenzi, it allows readers to engage with her in a much more personal way, letting them really get to know who she is as the story progresses.

Shattered Souls has everything that readers of this genre will enjoy – a slightly less than perfect heroine with a wickedly sarcastic sense of humor, who develops her strength and courage over the course of the book; a gorgeous, strong and fiercely loyal hero; an immensely flawed and incredibly jealous boyfriend; and a gripping paranormal storyline involving a past shrouded in mystery, a ticking clock, and a malevolent spirit seeking vengeance.

This story is not only a must read, but a must re-read.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=6]. Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

On a personal note:

When I first heard of this debut book I fell in love with the title. When the cover was revealed I fell in love all over again. But much, much harder. When I actually got a copy and had a chance to read it, which I did long before release date, I fell so completely in love that it became one of those “forever” books.

I loved this book from first word to last, from cover to cover, and every single thing in between. This is another one of those books that I have an instant connection with. I connected with the story and the main character. And my connection wasn’t simply to the love story – which I did love – I was connected to the entire story, and to Lenzi.

This book felt like a totally new and different story. One that I hadn’t read before. One that was fresh and exciting. And it felt really real.

Lenzi is just so awesome. There was no immediate acceptance of her abilities. She didn’t just nod her head and follow blindly along when Alden came around and told her what she was. She fought it. She held on to her disbelief. She continued to mistrust until she just had to believe.

She didn’t fall in love at first site with him and ditch her boyfriend. There was definitely an attraction, and something more, but she fought that, too. The timing on everything just felt right.

Lenzi wasn’t the perfect heroine. She was relatable. She was real. She wasn’t the world’s best girlfriend, she didn’t keep her room spotless, and she didn’t always make the best decisions. These and so many of her other characteristics actually made her even more likable. And as the book went on she grew stronger and braver and learned to believe in herself.

And she was funny. Oh was she funny. Practically every single note I took was because of some quirky way that Lenzi thought of something. This story, told from her point of view, was just so perfect. I kept putting down the book after reading something that Lenzi said or did, so I could just say out loud how much I loved this book. To anyone listening. Or to a completely empty room. It just had to be said – audience or none.

I really hope that this is a series. I really, really do. I am not ready to say goodbye to Lenzi and to Alden. And even though there is no cliffhanger, that last line hints at something seriously awesome to come, so I am hoping there will be more. Much, much more. Those few loose ends could become the start of at least two more books. Books that I would definitely read. No question. I’m a fan for life of this author.

I want to talk more about the story, but I don’t think I can without seriously giving away spoilers about Lenzi and Alden. I will just say that the Goodreads description doesn’t do justice to this amazing book as it only hints at its awesomeness.

Just one of my favorite Lenzi passages:

He was waiting for me to say good-bye, looking as nervous as I felt. Should I shake his hand or kiss him good night on the cheek? Maybe I should act like Spook and just lick his face.


To read a short excerpt on the author’s website, CLICK HERE.

This review is based on a combination of an ARC I received through a trade and one I received through an ARC tour.


About the author

Mary Lindsey’s debut young adult novel, SHATTERED SOULS, is scheduled for release December 8, 2011 from Philomel/Penguin.

Having received a B.A. in English literature with a minor in drama from the University of Houston, she currently teaches acting to children and teens at a private studio in Houston, Texas.

Mary lives with her husband, three kids, two dogs, her daughter’s pet rats, an Australian Bearded Dragon, and dozens of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.

She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette from the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Where to find her

On her website, on Twitter @MaryLindsey and on Facebook

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