From the Publisher
""Lyons dives deep into the human soul... Her three dimensional characters resonate with readers long after the final page." RT BookReviews, on Black Sheep " - RT Book Reviews
"CJ Lyons' new YA novel, Broken, heralds a strong new female protagonist whose history counters the challenges and mysteries ahead. Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak meets Kathy Reichs' Virals. " - Jill Moore, Square Books, Jr., Oxford, MS
"Broken is an intense page-turner. Readers will race to the end to see if Scarlet will uncover the truth about herself and those around her before it's too late." - April Henry, New York Times Bestselling Author
""[A] fast-paced thriller" with a "I-totally-didn't-see-it-coming ending."" - Entertainment Weekly's Shelf Life
""The concept of this book is an interesting and fresh one," and promises that readers "will be happy they kept reading." " - VOYA
""Scarlet is a likable character, smart and savvy, sheltered and innocent. Her friends and enemies are well drawn and the tension feels real . . . Readers who enjoy surprise revelations as in Matt de la Peña's I Will Save You will appreciate the twist here." " - School Library Journal
"[A] suspenseful thriller laced with medical intrigue and coming-of-age triumph. " - Booklist
"A chilling medical suspense story-Lyons' specialty-expertly entwines with teen-oriented family drama and the eye-rolling social hierarchy that is high school...Not just for teens, Broken effectively addresses many modern issues, including bullying and the pediatric healthcare system. " - RT Book Reviews
VOYA - KaaVonia Hinton
Scarlet has spent her entire life in and out of hospitals. Now at fifteen years old, she convinces her parents to allow her to attend high school for a week, despite the threat that Long QT syndrome (LQTS), a heart rhythm disorder, could kill her before the big football game on Friday night. When Scarlet arrives at school, she is immediately bullied by the school's football star and is enthusiastically embraced by teens overwhelmed by so many problems that pointing out she has a serious illness makes her seem whiny. For example, Nessa is experimenting with drugs, coping with her sister's recent suicide, and experiencing parental neglect. Celina has a mother battling cancer and a mentally ill sister whom she takes care of all while living under the threat that her family might be reported to Child Protective Services. The concept of this book is an interesting and fresh one, though the one-week story structure makes the plotline a little hard to believe as Scarlet's new friends quickly discover her illness may not be as severe as it appears. Initially, Broken falls short as a thriller, so patient readers will have to wade through half of the book before it becomes a page-turner. Those who are willing to put verisimilitude aside (Why was her father never suspicious of her stepmother?) and be swept up by the unraveling of Scarlet's life will be happy they kept reading. Reviewer: KaaVonia Hinton
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Because of a bad heart that could fail at any moment, 15-year-old Scarlet has been homeschooled all her life. Determined to attend real high school before she dies, she gets permission to try it for one week. On her first day, with "Phil," a defibrillator in a pack on wheels, in tow, she's targeted by bullying jocks but also makes three new friends through a volunteer peer mentoring program. Scarlet enjoys school, despite the taunting, the circulation of an embarrassing phone video filmed in the girls' locker room, and her stepmother—domineering school nurse Killian-who publicly embarrasses her, forces vitamin pills on her, and reinforces the nickname "Freak" among her classmates. Her father offers little comfort since he travels a lot for his job, but is sympathetic and kind when he is around. While working on a life-sciences project with Tony, a potential first boyfriend, Scarlet begins to investigate her health history. She stops taking the "vitamins" her stepmother gives her because she feels better and very much alive. Gradually, Scarlet and Tony realize that Mom/Nurse Killian is not what she appears to be, but the teens have to prove her true intentions. Scarlet is a likable character, smart and savvy, sheltered and innocent. Her friends and enemies are well drawn and the tension feels real once belief is suspended regarding several coincidences. Readers who enjoy surprise revelations as in Matt de la Peña's I Will Save You (Delacorte, 2010) will appreciate the twist here too, unless they figure out the clues early on.—Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, CO
Read an Excerpt
If you want to get noticed fast, try starting high school three weeks late as the girl who almost died.
Unfortunately, attention is the last thing I crave. Give me anonymity anytime. Every time.
I just want to be a normal girl. No one special.
Saw a movie once, don't remember what channel, but it was in the dark hours of the night when it was just me and the TV. My favorite time of day.
It starred John Travolta back when he was young. The kid was so sick he lived in this plastic bubble and he was so excited when he got to leave it.
Me? When I saw the boy leave his bubble, I wanted it for myself. Coveted it.
God, how I'd die for a cozy little bubble to live my life in, safe from the outside world.
Only I'd paint my bubble black so no one could see me inside.