________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 1. . . .September 4, 2015


Shattered Glass. (Secrets).

Teresa Toten.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2015.
235 pp., trade pbk., pdf & epub, $14.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-0671-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4598-0672-6 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0673-3 (epub). A “Secrets” Boxed Set is available for $79.95. ISBN 978-1-4598-1082-2.

Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15.

Review by Kay Weisman.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



“There are no provisions for the Seven aside from what I have been able to save for you over the years. You are of age.” She sighed and paused. “I have set aside a sum of money to help each of you on your way. If you’re careful, it should take you to your destination and aid with food and lodging for quite some time.”

“My destination? Excuse me, but...”

“What I am about to give you, Toni, is highly irregular and quite possibly illegal.” Mrs. Hazelton raised her hand as if to ward off more words. “You see, I have items from when each of you came to the orphanage. They may hold clues to your identity, perhaps to whatever family you have left out there.”


When fire destroys the Benevolent Home for Necessitous Girls in early June, 1964, 16-year old Toni and the other six older girls learn that they are to be sent off into the world to make their own way. Toni is given an envelope containing some cash and three items from her past: a release form from Toronto General Hospital, a menu from a restaurant called the Noronic, and a playbill from a Toronto club known as Willa’s. Petrified, because all she knows is the sheltered world of her small-town orphanage, Toni decides to leave immediately for Toronto in order to avoid painful goodbyes with her friends. Once she arrives at her destination, she finds a room, secures a job waitressing at a folk club called the Purple Onion, and attempts to uncover the secrets of her past that seem to be causing her terrible nightmares.

      This entry in the new female-centric “Secrets” series endeavors to duplicate the success of Orca’s earlier male-focused “Seven: The Series.” Toni is a likeable, although unbelievably naïve, protagonist who encounters many big city evils in her early months in Toronto. Her glamorous landlady, Grady, abuses alcohol, as does the upstairs boarder, Professor Zeigler; Cassidy, a young man who takes an interest in Toni, turns out to be grooming her for life as an escort; and a woman who knew Toni’s mother is serving time in a penitentiary. Throughout, Toni misunderstands the slang terms used to describe the seedy behaviors she encounters. The story is at its best when Toni sifts through the clues to her past—uncovering the identity of her father, determining the sad truth about her mother, and finally learning details of the fire that left Toni emotionally and physically scarred. By her side throughout all these experiences is straight-arrow Ethan who protects Toni even when she is unaware of his presence. Song titles from popular Sixties’ hits are used as chapter headings, apropos to the many musical references in this story. Orca is also publishing six other stand-alone titles that reveal the secrets of Toni’s orphan friends. Fans of this title will do doubt want to read those as well.


Kay Weisman works as a youth librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library.


Shattered Glass. (Secrets).

Teresa Toten. Narrated by Elizabeth Phillips.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2015.
5.5 hours, CD (4 discs) & mp3, $29.95 (CD), $19.95 (mp3).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1096-9 (CD), ISBN 978-1-4598-1097-6 (mp3).

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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