The small town of Hollows (about an hour outside of New York City) is disturbed by the sudden disappearance of teenager, Charlene. Early in the story of “Fragile” written by Lisa Unger, we are introduced to the Cooper family, which consists of Mom, Maggie (a psychologist), Dad, Jones (a detective) and their son, Ricky (who is Charlene’s boyfriend). Their family is deeply affected by the disappearance of Charlene, because Jones has a lot of leads to make him believe that his son is involved in why Charlene has suddenly gone missing.
What really gives the novel some dynamic is the fact that another disappearance took place back when Maggie and Jones were in high school. The tragedy lead to the death of a young girl named Rachel. Because Hollows is so small, everyone fears that what happened to Rachel, will parallel what is currently taking place with Charlene. When she and her mother argue one night and she runs away, many believe that it is more than than just a runaway situation. Hollow’s doesn’t want to repeat the same mistake twice, so they take every action possible to locate Charlene as soon as possible. With the help of Facebook updates and leads from town folk that believe they saw her before she went missing, the whole town sets out to discover her whereabouts.
What the town doesn’t realize is that the current mystery they are trying to solve ultimately drudges up some of the mystery that happened way back in the day. We hear from many different people in the town, the misfit, the former police chief, Maggie’s mother, even the town exterminator. Each person has a different standpoint and there were times when at the beginning of a new paragraph or chapter, I had to read the name and say to myself “Okay, Elizabeth is Maggie’s Mom”. I read the novel in three days and even then, I had trouble keeping track of the many characters we meet. That said, the novel was well written, it was predictable at times, but I really liked Lisa Unger’s style and it seems that 2010 is a year of mysteries for me, so I’d put this novel at the top of the list.