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Fragile: A Novel Audiobook, by Lisa Unger Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Lisa Unger Narrator: Nancy Linari Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Hollows Series Release Date: August 2010 ISBN: 9780307715401
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,862 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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A thrilling novel from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger about the hunt for a missing girl and one community’s intricate yet fragile bonds. 

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 Rick, already a brooding teenager, becomes even more withdrawn.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.  

As she tries to reassure him that Rick embodies his father in all of the important ways, Maggie realizes this might be exactly what Jones fears most. Determined to uncover the truth, Maggie pursues her own leads into Charlene’s disappearance and exposes a long-buried town secret—one that could destroy everything she holds dear.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Best-selling author Lisa Unger has made her mark with a string of successful thrillers —Beautiful Lies, Black Out, and Die for You. While her new novel, Fragile, has a mystery (or three) and often unfurls with page-turning suspense, it also mines the more intimate territory of family and community dynamics, inspired by the disappearance and murder of one of Unger’s own schoolmates more than two decades ago... In the style of Jodi Picoult, Fragile tells its tale through the real-time action and freighted recollections of a diverse cast of characters living in fictional The Hollows, a small town 100 miles outside New York City with a reputation for quaint charm. In reality, The Hollows is rife with dysfunction, full ofugly memories and buried secrets. Boston Globe
  • Fast-paced action coupled with marvelous character development. Roanoke Times
  • Lisa Unger writes with sharp psychological insight and bone-deep understanding of her characters. Luanne Rice, author of Last Kiss and The Geometry of Sisters
  • The book’s characters are fully formed, and the action is depicted with satisfying breathlessness. . . . So well executed. San Francisco Chronicle
     
  • Unger skillfully builds suspense by alternating point of view from chapter to chapter... Too many thrillers rely on coincidence or outlandish twists to connect the dots in a crime investigation, but Unger makes that process organic by using the interconnectedness of her characters' lives over the decades — these people really do know each others' secrets. Even apparently unrelated threads — like the chapters about the exterminator called in to trap the raccoons in Elizabeth's attic — are cleverly woven into the plot. Unger is also adept at drawing believable characters and relationships. Much of the emotional weight and considerable tension of Fragile have to do with families, with how parents and their children relate (or don't) and how husbands and wives can think they know everything about each other — and then find themselves surprised. St. Petersburg Times
  • If you're a fan of Jodi Picoult's family chronicle storytelling, you'll enjoy Fragile, too. It's set in a small affluent town outside New York, where everyone knows someone who kissed the pizza guy once and many have ugly memories and buried secrets. When a teenage girl goes missing, the lives of all who knew her unravel. Unger balances nicely the suspense of her missing person story (a layered one when the vanishing of another teenage girl 30 years earlier is connected) with deeper sentiments. How do you live in the present when the past has broken you? Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Compulsive reading. New York Daily News
     
  • [A] nail-biting nuanced whodunit. People
  • A complex and gripping story about the dark side of the best of intentions. St. Petersburg Times
     
  • "Folks in a small town descend into darkness and revisit long forgotten memories when a young girl disappears....[A] simmering, tragic tale. Fans of authors like Jodi Picoult will want to read this one in a nice comfortable chair....Unger's fans won't be disappointed. Associated Press
  • This one is a stunner...Unger’s genius is in plotting the story so that the reader never knows what’s coming next...This is a read that will stay with you. New York Journal of Books Review
  • The never forgotten, complicated, and sometimes dangerous entanglements that can arise from growing up in a small town are compassionately and insightfully portrayed by this new suspense thriller from Unger. Perfectly balancing the need for independence from one's past and the indelible ties that persist regardless of any attempt otherwise, Unger creates a tale that's full of realistic characters that will remind readers of either someone they know, or perhaps even themselves. And filled with perfectly written passages that are worthy of being read twice also serve to make this read an intense journey that evokes a surprising amount of emotion. As does the beautifully written side-story involving the man (and his new love) who will eventually provide important clues in the case. Unger reminds us with a persistent grace that while the past is physically over, it remains a part of who we are. Poetic at times, heartbreaking at others, and suspenseful throughout, this is easily the best book of the year and comes with the strongest recommendation we have. New Mystery Reader
  • Lisa Unger writes psychologically in-depth stories with great characters. The plot is fast-paced and has many twists. Daily American
  • While Lisa Unger shows amazing skill at plot development, pacing, and projecting a rich sense of place, her talent in characterization - in plumbing the depths of her characters' inner circumstances - is truly exceptional... Though something of a departure from her recent thrillers, Lisa Unger's FRAGILE shines with her signature talent and generates plenty of suspense. Florida Weekly
  • Lisa Unger brings this little town alive with flourish, probing the tragedies and the victories of the citizens of The Hollows. Each character has a multi-layered complexity and his or her own dangerous flaw unseen in most novels. Unger, the bestselling author of BEAUTIFUL LIES, SLIVER OF TRUTH, BLACK OUT and DIE FOR YOU, has a rare talent for exploring the vast pallet of human emotions, and she wraps that talent around a highly intriguing story. Bookreporter.com
  • A rich tapestry of psychological wounds...Cleverly plotted and emotionally engaging. Kirkus Reviews
  • "Compelling and true to life characters...highly recommended. Library Journal
  • Unger’s taut and edgy tale stealthily plumbs the depths of desperation that grow more dangerous with the passage of time. Booklist
  • FRAGILE delivers everything that Lisa Unger's readers have come to expect — a thrilling story that affects complicated and nuanced people. But it's also a sensitive meditation on the very nature of family and community and the ties that bind us to one another. Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of LIFE SENTENCES
  • Perfect pitch, characters we can recognize as versions of ourselves, a plot in which a vague sense of suspense almost instantly appears and then grows with the speed of a waterslide . . . Lip-smacking good. —Chicago Tribune

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tfalcone | 2/18/2014

    " Typical Lisa Unger story, easy read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abby | 2/15/2014

    " My least favorite of her's, but still really good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ivy | 2/14/2014

    " Engrossing story about a girl who goes missing in a small town. Interesting relationships between the characters, many of which grew up in this same town and now have teenage children who are friends with the missing girl. The story alternates between the past and the present. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robin | 2/12/2014

    " This was a good book, but I personally prefer more twists and turns. I guess because my life has plenty of the kind of drama you just can't make up, i like books that are really beyond what might happen in real life. This book seemed to be something that could have really happened somewhere in a small town. It was a good story though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 1/11/2014

    " So much to this story. Really had to pay attention or you could get lost. Quite dreary and depressing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karyn | 12/19/2013

    " Hate hate hate books that provide a prologue letting you know something terrible will happen or a character will do something awful. Ruined it for me, couldn't finish. Was a pretty major downer right from page one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andra | 12/4/2013

    " an intertwining tail of murder, disappearances and the lives affected by lies and omissions. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelli | 11/28/2013

    " Nothing spectacular (yet I could not put it down---that is how I am with mysteries, I HAVE to know). Good plot, interesting characters, some disturbing parts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darlene | 10/13/2013

    " Loved this book it was a good one!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenni | 9/4/2013

    " Enjoyed this book, and think you develop an affection for the characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brashears | 8/9/2013

    " Great character development and enjoyed the story completely. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alexandra | 7/13/2013

    " A haunting novel that will keep you guessing and wide awake way past midnight. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Debra | 6/16/2013

    " This book captures the small town atmosphere well. The mystery was pretty good but seemed to drag on a bit at the very end. I did enjoy the read but I'm not sure that this is a book that will stay with me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joyce | 6/9/2013

    " A girl was missing, and though she's run away from home, it brought back memories of another girl who'd gone missing a couple decades before and was found murdered. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Annie | 4/17/2013

    " I thought this book started out as a fairly interesting and engaging novel. Once the "mystery" was solved, the book dragged on for an additional 100 pages, at least. There was just too much- too many characters, too many perspectives, too many sub-stories, too many loose ends to tie up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christie | 9/26/2012

    " Great book. I related to the mom and her emotions of letting go of a son who is just growing up, the fear you always have that you did not do or could not do enough to keep your family safe and happy. The plot was interesting and kept me wanting to read the book every chance I got. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeny | 6/24/2012

    " Extra .5 star for keeping me entertained at the in-laws "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sharlene | 3/20/2012

    " Listened to audio version and it was good road trip material--enough to keep you from falling asleep, but not a must-read by any means. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth | 3/14/2012

    " really good mystery and psychological examination of the ways people's lives intersect. How making choices good/ bad, have ripple effects we sometimes don't realize or understand. Great book to read during a hurricane! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rhonda | 2/15/2012

    " Slow start, finish is much better "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vonda | 12/10/2011

    " I would rate this book a 4.5 if I could. The novel is complex and multilayered with a very satisfying conclusion. It kept me reading well into the wee hours of the morning. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amanda | 9/19/2011

    " The number of characters/points of view in this book drove me crazy. Many of them were completely unnecessary and barely would have affected the plot at all if they'd been removed. However, I give this one three stars because it did keep me interested enough to read it in two days! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne | 9/19/2011

    " It was good. Had a bit of a twist in the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Colleen | 8/13/2011

    " Overall a good book. Starts you thinking of all of your own "what if's" and "if only's". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 6/25/2011

    " As a graduate of the New York School for Social Research, Lisa Unger always invests her novels with so much more than mystery! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Louise | 6/15/2011

    " I liked this book and recommend it as entertaining. It reads quickly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jill | 5/27/2011

    " This is the first book I have read by Lisa Unger and it was a wonderful story. The characters were full, complicated and oh-so human. I will definitely be looking for more from this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Charlotte | 5/24/2011

    " I really give this 3 1/2 stars. I like some of her other books better. Her writing is good, the story is almost over developed and the ending is too tidy. But I am glad I read it. Entertaining read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joanne | 5/23/2011

    " Unger does such a good job of creating dread in the first thirty or so pages that I know I don't have the energy to read this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennelle | 5/19/2011

    " Lots of twists and turns and everyone seems to be connected in one way or another in this small town. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caroline | 5/9/2011

    " Wrapped up a little too neatly at the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 5/3/2011

    " Loved it, I was hooked from the first page "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Newett1att.net | 5/2/2011

    " I really liked this story. It was hard at first to determine which character she was talking about when she would change chapters. Once you firgured that out, the reading got easier. I would give this author another chance. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dorothy | 4/20/2011

    " This book was just what the doctor ordered, after all the long, long books I've read this year. A quick moving plot and every question satisfyingly answered in the end. Perfect! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 4/9/2011

    " I liked this book but found way too many instances of circumstances that were beyond belief. Some of the emotions and motivations just did not ring true to me and took away some of the enjoyment I would have felt reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 4/4/2011

    " This book had lots of twists and turns. About small town life and how the people there can be and are interconnected in so many ways, both good and bad. Good mystery with lots of different characters that all grew up and went to high school together. Secrets and lies that can end up coming out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 4/2/2011

    " I listened to this book and really liked it a lot. Kept me guessing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 4/1/2011

    " This book stuck with me for awhile after reading. It can be slow, but the ending is worth it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 3/31/2011

    " Nothing too original in the premise, but an engaging read anyway. "

About the Author

Author Lisa Unger

Lisa Unger is an award-winning internationally bestselling author. Her novels have sold over two million copies and have been translated into twenty-six languages.

About the Narrator

Nancy Linari is an actress and Eaphones Award–winning narrator. She has appeared on Fringe, Brothers and Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, and General Hospital. Her theater credits include I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road, and I’m Not Rappaport.