Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Family Saga , Thriller
Format: Chapters – Split by characters
First Line: “When Jones Cooper was younger, he didn’t believe in mistakes.”
Description from Book: Everybody knows everybody in The Hollows, a quaint, charming town outside of New York City. It’s a place where neighbors keep an eye on one another’s kids, where people say hello in the grocery store, and where high school cliques and antics are never quite forgotten. As a child, Maggie found living under the microscope of small-town life stifling. But as a wife and mother, she has happily returned to The Hollows’s insular embrace. As a psychologist, her knowledge of family histories provides powerful insights into her patients’ lives. So when the girlfriend of her teenage son, Rick, disappears, Maggie’s intuitive gift proves useful to the case—and also dangerous.
Eerie parallels soon emerge between Charlene’s disappearance and the abduction of another local girl that shook the community years ago when Maggie was a teenager. The investigation has her husband, Jones, the lead detective on the case, acting strangely. Rick, already a brooding teenager, becomes even more withdrawn. In a town where the past is always present, nobody is above suspicion, not even a son in the eyes of his father.
Topics Covered: missing persons, family relationships, secrets, haunted pasts, mental health, family dynamics, murder
My Review: “Fragile” by Lisa Unger is a story about family, secrets, and facing the past. The main character, Maggie, works as a psychologist in the small town of The Hollows. Her husband, Jones, works at the police department and spends much of his down-time being at odds with their gothic son, Ricky. Before long, Ricky’s girlfriend goes missing, bringing back uncomfortable memories for many of The Hollows’ residents. Twenty years earlier, a similar case occurred in The Hollows, ending with the missing girl being found mutilated. The residents come together to stop a tragedy from re-occurring and in the process must face their own pasts and hidden secrets.
After reading this book, I have to say that Lisa Unger has a new biggest fan. Her writing style exactly matches my reading style, offering a multitude of back story, character building, and interesting twists and turns. Outside of my graduate school work, I couldn’t put this book down.
When you first begin reading this story, you may be slightly overwhelmed by the amount of secondary characters (Ricky’s girlfriend, the girlfriend’s family, town residents, police officers, etc). In no time flat, Unger quickly builds a multitude of characters and begins showing the links that lay between each. Typically when I finish reading a book, I reminiscently think about the main character. After finishing “Fragile”, I can’t help myself from thinking about the entire town. Which works out perfectly because there is a follow-up book to “Fragile”.
Overall Rating: 5/5
People who stay in the same town with the same friends for their entire lives never get a chance to find out who they can really be, because they will always be considered as who they were.