By CJ Lyons
Available now from Sourcebooks Fire
Read my interviews (old) and (new) with CJ and my review of Lifelines
Sheltered Scarlet Killian wants a chance at the life of a normal high-school girl. But she's barely convinced her overprotective parents that she'll be alright, especially her nurse stepmom. But Scarlet has spent her life in the hospital due to a rare heart disease, and she wants to live.
I loved the depiction of Scarlet's high-school life. It was a nice balance of the better parts of high school and the bad parts. She gets bullied by some jocks due to her portable defibrillator, which she carries in a wheelie backpack, and her mother frequently popping in to make sure she's taking her vitamins. (Did I mention her mom is the school nurse?) At the same time, she makes some friends in her support group and biology class. Two of them are cute boys, of course. But Scarlet talks about her attractions to a friend and decides to pursue only one of the boys.
My main complaint is that the thriller elements take a bit too long to come into play. It makes since on a character level, since Scarlet is quite naive. But when the tension ratchets up in the last quarter, any less naive reader already has a good idea about what's going on. Most of the actual suspense comes from whether Scarlet will reach the police in time.
I enjoyed BROKEN quite a bit, and didn't mind the shift in tone to a thriller too much because I knew it was coming. Just go into the book aware that much of it reads like a straight contemporary. And that's fine, because Scarlet's journey to independence is a good story.