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A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetary and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the ...
A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetary and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.
When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she’s intrigued despite herself. He’s an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely…familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel’s. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there’s something very wrong with Alex Franks.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Posted January 13, 2013
When the story opens, Emma is deeply depressed over the death of her boyfriend, Daniel, several months earlier. I appreciated the author allowing teens the same depth of emotion and mourning one would take for granted in an adult relationship. Emma lives at home with her parents and we see a fully-functioning relationship with them; they are present in her life and in the novel as much as in real life, something that is missing in many YA novels. They create conflict, but are loving, involved and protective parents who see their emotionally-wounded child as vulnerable.
When newcomer Alex appears at school, Emma realizes he's watching her and she feels something very familiar about him. But her loyalty and love for Daniel keeps her at a distance. This is a very real conflict for her and very believable and when the couple finally do start spending time together, the catty gossips in school attack her, compounding her guilt. But something within Alex just feels so right, so much like it did with Daniel. She finally feels she can move on with her life and get back to normal. But what's about to happen next is anything but normal.
Emma is quickly drawn into a nightmarish world where everything she thought was real is questioned. Even Alex feels like he is losing his mind as discoveries compound themselves. The pair's growing love for each other make them want to cling together even as what they are learning makes them want to scream. If you hear other readers talk about the scene with the deer, they're right, you will cry and it will haunt you.
I'm amazed the author could create a tender love story with such a lovable and sensitive hero with such horrifying plot elements, but she pulls it off. I am really looking forward to her next book!
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Posted January 8, 2013
~A debut YA novel riveting with a morbid edge that will keep the reader reeling until the very last line~ The story opens nicely, sharing with ease Emma's relationship with her immediate family, BFF, and infectious pain over the death of her boyfriend Daniel. Her reaction to the new boy, Alex Franks, is just as easily understood by the reader: she's noticed him and his similar mannerisms as her dead boyfriend, and she doesn't like it. But for me, the reader, I liked it. Dribbles of intrigue and Alex's strange familiarity to Emma pulled me in deeper, wanting to know who this guy really was. The writing flows and the dialog is especially teen. I couldn't help but chuckle at some of the sassy and quick-witted phrases emanating from these characters. But as snippy as some passages are, there's enough gentleness and depth in others to balance them out. There's a masculinity to the text that I enjoyed, playful but snarky bantering which masks the truth beneath - the brokenness in Emma's heart and what is later discovered to be broken inside and outside of Alex. One of my favorite aspects of the story is the parent-teen relationship. It's raw and real. Mom and Dad are married, live in the same house, work, and have dinner together - family dinners. The parents are not absent in this YA novel. It's fresh and a great sub-plot to the overall storyline and to Emma's character arc. This is the reason I chose those lines from the tale as my favorite passage. Another element which flavored the story was the realistic use of everyday happenings. The connections made between Emma and Alex are not just similarities in opinions, attitudes, and like/dislikes, but go much deeper, using their inner pains, sorrows, and confusions about their attraction. This adds tension and way too much mystery for any reader to ignore. There's a scene as the two struggle to understand their strange and sudden connection, a moment so intimate and gentle that I found my young adult as well as adult heart strings tugged to the extreme. Both fear uncovering the truth that has begun to unfold, but want nothing more than to know. Sinister, mind-bending revelations of what really happened to Alex in turn reveal an obscene and disturbing truth of life over death...death that was cheated. The actual horror is layered with deceit and morbid intent, so arrogant that it could only belong to guests seen but unseen throughout the novel. Rought wasn't afraid of being real, using the harsh reality of what she created. She used creepy, even grotesque descriptions at times, all suited for the telling of this tale. Similar elements from Shelley's original version added texture. Surprising twists engulfed me as the story climaxed. And as a massive Frankenstein fan I couldn't help but think about Mary Shelley and the similarities to her original tale. I believe she'd be proud of this Franken-teen tale of her misunderstood monster and the girl he inevitably loved from the moment electricity reignited his foreign heartbeat.
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Posted June 15, 2013
My Opinion: Emma Gentry is living in a hazy world of pain since losing her boyfriend Daniel in an accidental fall when she meets the new boy at school, Alex Franks, and feels an undeniable pull and connection that she can't fight, and doesn't understand. Unfortunately, since we already know this is a very loosely based retelling of Frankenstein, it's way too easy to figure out why Alex and Emma are drawn to each other. Let me preface this by saying that I love retellings, which is why I was looking forward to reading Broken, but I wish there had been more surprises and twists than there were.
I also had a problem with the length of the book, since it seems like it could have been pared down by at least half without losing any of the important parts. The writing was very descriptive, which isn't a bad thing in and of itself, but when it seems like the same descriptions are used over and over and over, it becomes very monotonous and I, for one, found myself skimming the paragraphs while reading because I was losing patience, which rarely happens to me. I didn't want to give up on the book, but I felt like if I had to read one more time about Emma standing in line for coffee, or arguing with her mother, I was going to scream! Descriptive writing isn't a bad thing, but only when the descriptions vary throughout the course of the book. In this case it seemed like the same phrases were used repeatedly and that got tiring very fast.
I don't want to sound like I didn't like the writing because I did - at first - I just think a lot of it could have been cut out without affecting the story, and maybe even improving the story by making it easier to read.
The ending didn't come as a surprise (again, this is a retelling so we kind of know where it's heading from the get go) but my problem is that this was basically the only action packed part of the story since the first 85% of the book was about the romance developing between Emma and Alex and Emma's confusion regarding this.
I have to give this book 3 stars because I think it could have done with major editing and slashing of repetitive descriptions, but the basic story was good and I think if it had been shorter I would have flown through it and really enjoyed it.
Posted June 8, 2013
Emma's life fell apart the night she watched her boyfriend fell to his death. She is stumbling through life haunted by his ghost and memories when a new boy shows up to her school. Her attraction to him and the joy in his eyes when he meets her both upsets and intrigues her. She has to both fight her guilt about moving on from her boyfriend's death and try to open herself up to the alarming happiness offered by Alex. If she can survive getting to know him, the end result might be worth the risk.
I stayed up until 3 am reading this book last night. While I figured out what the big secret was fairly early on, I still really enjoyed the story. I read a lot of retellings, but I haven't seen one done with Frankenstein before. I found the story to be interesting, though for a thriller or horror book, it was really lacking in the scary department.
I've seen a bunch of reviews likening this story to Twilight, but I honestly didn't really see the comparison. I am a Twilight hater, and if a novel has a bunch of similarities to that franchise, I usually notice. Emma fell into the "instant connection" trap, but for once there was an actual reason for it. Plus, it kinda made sense. She was a fairly strong and developed character, no sitting around wanting to die or waiting for someone to save her. She was walking around doing her thing and trying to move on with life.
If I had children, I would much rather have them read this than any of the Twilight books.
I really enjoyed this story and stayed up way too late reading it. I give it 4/5 - I really liked it .
Posted April 17, 2013
Review originally published on Bookluvrs Haven
This book is not a Frankenstein retelling. If you pick it up thinking that it is, STOP! You will be disappointed. Besides some common denominators, this story stands on its own two feet, and is very different. I would classify it as Frankenstein inspired instead of a retelling of the original story.
I was surprised by how much I ended up liking this book. Not that I chose a book that I thought I wouldn't like. I just had a challenging time in the beginning. Emma is really grieving, and the sole focus of the first few chapters is how dark her world is.
I just wasn't sure if I was in the right mood for this novel.
But I stuck it out and didn't set it aside, because it got interesting very quickly when Alex came into the picture. I am not a huge fan of insta-love, but the connection with Alex is a special one, as the twist in this novel will explain. So I am inclined to forgive the insta-love on this own.
That being said, I wish the book description didn't give so much of the story away. The majority of this book was incredibly predictable, because I already guessed most of the plot twists from reading the book blurb alone. A lot more mystery would have been essential to the twist factor in this story.
Regardless of that, I really liked this! I thought the story was surprisingly original, dark, haunting and 'lose-your-breath' romantic. I was very connected to this story, and feeling all the emotions I imagine the author was hoping to convey. This book really did take me by surprise. If you are a looking for a darker YA with some Frankenstein inspiration, look no further than 'Broken'.
*I received a eBook copy of this book for free to review from the author/publisher; this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.*
Posted April 9, 2013
BROKEN is a paranormal romance, dark and moving, powered by the storm of a teenaged girl's feelings.
When I first saw the cover and synopsis, I was admittedly hesitant. The YA Paranormal Romance genre has more than its share of poorly written books covering young women falling in love with monsters and super beings. But in this case, I am glad I took the risk.
BROKEN is both well written and captivating, setting itself apart.
From the onset, A.E. Rought's tale is birthed in tragedy as teenaged protagonist, Emma, moves through the cemetery of her recently departed boyfriend, Daniel. Life no longer holds meaning and the healing process is stunted from the deep wounds of overwhelming loss. But when her seemingly unbreakable shell of misery is prodded by newcomer, Alex Franks, it fractures in all of the right places... as does her heart. Eerie similarities between the deceased Daniel and Alex spin Emma into a surreal existence where she is forced to confront her feelings, a process complicated by the dark mystery enshrouding Alex and the sudden appearance of macabre manifestations that haunt her periphery.
The plot moves forward with drive and momentum, and the setting and characters are well rendered throughout. Grammatically, the book is finely crafted and a flowing pleasure to read. A. E. Rought captures each moment with concise prose that not only delivers, but sucks you right in. Her vocabulary choice for BROKEN is also a perfect fit for the present tense, first person narrative given from a teenaged girl's perspective, manipulating reader emotion along the way. But for me, the best part was the title-contrasting theme of healing that kept me intertwined with Emma till the incredible resolution.
Posted April 9, 2013
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Author: A. E. Rough
Published By: Strange Chemistry
Age Recommended: YA
Review By: Arlena Dean
"Broken" by A. E. Rough was a different read for me...Frankenstein? I am still wondering why I picked this particular book up but after reading it I did find it rather amusing...especially after going back and looking at the plot and finding out this was a 'Modern Frankenstein'...Oh, well I usually do not like care for horror or these types of books... but I picked it up so I will give you what I think of it. I knew nothing of this story so it just unfolded as I read it. As I am reading I seem to think this novel is more for the YA reader. I believe this author does have some writing ability...sort of creepy and freaky. Now, we find Emma's boyfriend(Daniel) has died and she is in morning withdrawing from everyone. Emma is suffering from 'Survival Guilt' where she sees Daniel everywhere....then she meets Alex and they seemed to known from the first time the saw each other they had a connection. OK, what is going on between these two? This is where I say you must pick up "Broken" to see how this story will play out. Yes, I did find all of the characters and storyline somewhat interesting. As a matter of fact it was that bad story at all and it did hold my attention.
I will say if you are into this is your type of read of the 'Modern Day Frankenstein'... "Broken" would definitely be a read for you giving you a story of 'confusion, pain, anger, the yearning and love.'
Posted March 7, 2013
I loved this book! BROKEN is beautifully written, poetic, and achingly romantic, while at the same time, completely creepy.
Some seem to be disappointed that this isn't an actual retelling of Frankenstein, which I don't understand.
This story is inspired by Frankenstein, and to me, hits the mark exceptionally well.
I loved the Gothic feel, and Emma's journey. Just a lovely, page-turning story - I highly recommend!
Posted February 3, 2013
Loved this! I was torn between wanting to hurry up and read to see what was going to happen and wanting to slow down and savor every detail of it! Loved the story, the characters and the way it brought back so many high school memories! I also appreciate that even the most sensual love scenes were kept "clean" enough for young teens. Cannot wait for a follow-up/continuation!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2013
I am very well acquainted with Mary Shelly's Frankenstein novel. It was a requirement reading that I resisted at the beginning but then devoured. So to say I was excited to read a modern retelling of it is accurate. The synopsis doesn't even tell you much other than hinting on who Frankenstein's creation is and who he was reconstructed from. However I was both impressed by the direction the plot took but also disappointed by how the plot itself was handled. I might not be making much sense but to say it simply, Broken had potential, but towards the end my disappointment took over.
The story revolves around Emma Gentry and the loss of her boyfriend Daniel. Emma really mourns him to the point that she spends everyday after school at the cemetery where she wished Daniel was buried (his parents cremated him). However, Alex Franks comes along and confuses Emma. I liked that she didn't feel guilty about liking someone else but she still remembers Daniel whenever she is with Alex because somehow Alex knows things about her that only Daniel knew. I found that to be a bit creepy and added to the mystery of the novel. However then the romance blooms and the cheesy texts between them that I would rather have not read were written. We also encounter Alex's dad who is supposedly a doctor but I would rather suffer through any sickness than go to him. We also have Daniel's best friend who can't seem to stop harassing Emma, because they are not seniors but kids who show their feelings towards each other by being mean *rolls eyes*. I honestly couldn't stand the dad, the best friend and the cheesy romance, but I did like Alex, Emma, and her best friend.
A pet peeve of mine whenever I read a novel is the amount of detail an author puts in describing inanimate objects. I just tend to skip these unimportant paragraphs that take me away from the novel. The problem is that Broken had a lot of those; I wanted more dialogue but got more repetitive contemplation and worry from Emma. The mystery gets unraveled way too late in the story and by then I have honestly lost my interest and just wanted the story to end. The mystery was well planned but the execution took some of the enjoyment level out of it.
Posted January 19, 2013
Even though I haven’t read the original Frankenstein or even watched any sort of movie related to Frankenstein, I do have an idea of what it’s all about. So how excited was I to delve into this dark tale that was a sort of re-telling of Frankenstein? Pretty excited, let me tell you.
The story basically revolves around main protagonist, Emma Gentry and her attempt in trying to get over the death of her boyfriend, Daniel. With many months having passed since Daniel’s death, Emma still struggles with coming to terms with her loss and continues to hold her memories of him deep within her heart. That is, until a new student arrives at Shelley High by the name of Alex Franks. Every girl is vying for his attention, but he seems to only have eyes for Emma. And somehow, Alex Franks is all that Emma can think about. Torn between her love and loss for Daniel, and her new found feelings for Alex Emma must come to terms with what her heart is telling her.
But don’t think that this is only a story of love. Of course, the main concept is this uncontrollable, undeniable love between Emma and Alex, there is a dark underlying story that surfaces and it is this new information that causes Emma to doubt Alex’s true feelings for her, and also has her questioning what to believe.
I found Broken by A.E. Rought to be a pretty good read, and I really loved the characters found in Broken. It had all the elements of a great story…a mysterious new “bad boy”, the ever trusting best friend, the super over protective parent, and crazed maniac. A.E. Rought did a very convincing job of conveying the pain and loss that Emma felt with the loss of Daniel. It was easily believable that Daniel was this huge part of her life that Emma just is not ready to let go of yet. And with the entrance of Alex Franks into her life, it was very interesting to see Emma’s inner turmoil regarding these feelings she’s feeling towards him.
Alex Franks was a character that I really loved…pretty much instantly. I always have a special place in my heart for mysterious bad boys, and Alex Franks fit the bill. Regardless of his many scars, he was still a very confident, sweet, determined guy. And the way he would say “Com’ere” had me melting!
Even though the story itself was pretty predictable, it didn’t hinder me from wanting to continue reading Broken, and see how it would unfold. And again, although there was whole lotta love in the story, the parts that stood out the most in my mind were the parts involving Alex Franks’ crazy father! What is up with that guy? He totally gave off the creep factor vibe, which is a huge thumbs up to the author.
What I did have problems with in Broken was the fact that Alex Franks was hardly called just “Alex”. It seemed like everyone would string both the first name and the last name together…always. I know, minor details, but still. It was also crazy that this intense love that both Alex and Emma feel for each other spans a total of just a couple of weeks. Now, once a huge part of the story is revealed, up until that point it was very much an insta-love type book…but like I said, that kind of gets blown out of the water once a deep dark secret is revealed. I know how it is with over protective parents. Heck, most all of us have had to deal with one or the other or both! In Broken, I found it very annoying how Emma’s mother kept getting mad at her because of the little things! Such as coming home late from school, being rescued by Alex Franks from an obsessed Josh, breaking her hand, going to the hospital to get a new cast thingy. Like seriously! Not every little thing is the end of the world, and I couldn’t done without her over protective ways. I also couldn’t understand why a certain someone was such a crazy lunatic! Unless I was reading way to fast and had a complete brain fart and forgot, I’d like to know what happened that caused him to turn out the way he did, and does the things he does! Are you curious yet? You’ve got to read the book to find out who I’m talking about!
All in all, Broken by A.E. Rought was a great read. It was a dark love story involving a mysterious past, young love, and the impossible. I would recommend this book to fans of dark re-tellings and for fans of the story of Frankenstein.
Posted January 12, 2013
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Angry Robot and Netgalley.)
Emma is heartbroken after the recent death of her boyfriend Daniel. In fact she still makes a point of hanging around the cemetery where they used to always meet while they were dating.
A new boy at school – Alex Franks, seems to be drawn to her though, and as they spend more time together, their relationship develops, and Emma begins to feel that she might love again.
At times though Alex is suspiciously like Daniel. He instantly knows how to open her sticky locker door, her cat likes him (and he likes nobody), and he even takes her to the cemetery where Emma and Daniel used to hang out.
Why is Alex so strangely like Daniel? How does he know things that only Daniel would know? And where does Emma and Alex’s relationship go from here?
This book was a little odd. In the beginning it was a little weird, and I was thinking ‘3 stars’, then the romance kicked in, and I was thinking ‘okay, 4 stars’, then the stuff about Daniel’s death was revealed, and I was thinking, ‘maybe 3.5 stars?’. Then I got to the ending and I’m just not sure! The ending was pretty good, in fact the ending was one of the better parts of the book, but it still lacked something for me.
This book was just so up and down for me. I found it mildly creepy at the start, and it got a little creepier really late on when Emma realised the similarities between Alex and Daniel, but it didn’t get really creepy until the 80% mark when Emma goes to Alex’s house for the first time, which was a long time to wait for the creepiness to kick in. Plus, this creepiness was almost a side-line to the real storyline which was a bit disappointing.
I also didn’t get Alex’s father’s reaction to Emma when he met her. Why Alex’s surgeon father would feel the need to injure a teenage girl who mentioned his son’s name is just beyond me, and just made the father look a bit psycho (maybe this was the intention?). But even so, his reaction to Emma was a little odd, and I didn’t really get it, how injuring her further was going to accomplish anything I don’t know.
What I disliked most about this book was the circumstances surrounding Daniel’s death. Very little is said about Daniel’s death other than some vague hints that he ‘fell’. When more details are revealed, the incident is still as clear as mud, which bothered me as that is one of the main storylines of the book! I was really intrigued as to what the hell happened to Daniel – it seemed like a pretty valid interest to be honest, but when the actual story came it was just so blah and badly explained it really annoyed me.
There also wasn’t much explanation of Alex’s ‘accident’ that led him to be unwell at around the time that Daniel died. This lack of detail was just really annoying! Even now I’ve finished the book I still don’t really know what was wrong with Alex! This does not make me happy.
I have to say that I didn’t fully appreciate how much of a weirdo Alex’s father was, and how strongly intertwined Alex and Daniel were. These slight twists at the end did surprise me, which redeemed the book slightly, but still I found that I wasn’t 100% happy with the ending, and still had unanswered questions buzzing around my brain.
Another little irritation is the blurb – why tell you that this is a retelling of Frankenstein? It’s not obvious from the book until you’re like ¾ of the way through; that is unless you’ve read the blurb! If you’ve read the blurb, you’re thinking – ‘well who is the monster? Hmm, could it be the new boyfriend who is strangely like the old boyfriend?’ Serious spoiler in the blurb if you ask me!
What I did like was the romance between Alex and Emma, even though there was a kind of instant attraction between them. I liked the little looks and touches between them before Alex admits his real feelings, although Alex’s initial hints that he likes her are a bit odd – he tells her that his heart doesn’t belong to him; it beats for someone else. Slightly weird way of telling someone you like them if you ask me! But the romance was definitely the highlight of the book for me, without the romance I’m not sure I’d have made it all the way through.
Overall; a strange retelling of Frankenstein. It didn’t quite do it for me, but was slightly redeemed by the romance aspect.
6.5 out of 10.
Posted February 21, 2013
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Posted November 8, 2013
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