CJ Lyons before, but I know I will again. I knew she wrote adult thrillers and her latest, Broken, is her YA debut. I went into this book with a certain expectation and was completely surprised by the ending.
What was the surprise? I can't tell you without spoiling the book!! However, I can tell you all what I loved about the book before the ending.
Fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian is finally getting the chance to be a normal teenager. After years spent battling a rare heart ailment, Scarlet is battling her toughest challenge -- high school. Her mother (technically she is her step-mother but in every way that counts she is her mom) has dedicated her life to keeping Scarlet alive, almost to the point of obsession. Her father loves her, but spends most of his time working. They've done all they can to keep Scarlet in a cocoon. But Scarlet desperately wants out. No more home-schooling, no more pills, no more hospitals, no more special diets, and no longer feeling like a freak. Scarlet thinks high school will be the answer to all her problems. The social cliques, the jocks, the nerds, the cheerleaders, the freaks, and the bullies are more than enough to deal with for normal teenagers...and Scarlet wants to be a part of it. Scarlet's parents have given in, but only for a week. If Scarlet can make it through the seven days without a setback, she just might have a shot at being a normal teenager.
Seven days is a long time in Scarlet's world. One moment she could be feeling just fine, the next her heart could skip more than a couple of beats, and worst of all her heart could kill her.
On the first day of school Scarlet makes friends and enemies. Nessa, Celina, Jordan, and Tony are Scarlet's closest allies. They confide in each other and they stand up for each other, which is a good thing. Mitch, a football jock, makes it his mission to torment Scarlet. I just wanted to punch Mitch. He constantly mocks Scarlet's heart condition. I found that to be a stretch of the imagination. I know times have changed drastically since I was in high school. Bullying has gotten worse and more high-tech since my time. But it's so hard for me to accept that teenagers would make mock someone with a deadly illness.
It doesn't get any easier for Scarlet considering her mother is the school nurse. Scarlet always has to have her guard up at school. Her mother could come out of nowhere at any moment. She doesn't mean to embarrass Scarlet, but it always seems to happen. She's afraid to let go of Scarlet. So much of her time has been spent trying to keep Scarlet alive, she doesn't really know how to let her live. Scarlet's mom would rather keep her daughter in a protective bubble, than let her grow up. Scarlet never got to go through that awkward teenage stage. Scarlet never got to develop social skills. Essentially, Scarlet never got to be Scarlet.
High school awakens a rebellious streak in Scarlet. She can defy her mother in little ways and still have a chance at becoming a normal teenager. That rebellious streak leads to Scarlet discovering a long-buried family secret. Just one of the many twists to this book. Plot-wise, Scarlet's struggles with high school would have been enough for me. The twists just made for a more complex and enjoyable read. I can't say more without giving away too much. But I will say that you should read this book!!
Note: I received an e-ARC from the publisher (Sourcebooks) in exchange for an honest review.