"Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak meets Kathy Reichs' Virals." bookseller Jill Moore, Square Books Jr.
New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons makes her YA debut with a taut, riveting thriller hailed as "an intense page-turner" by April Henry, bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die.
WOULD YOU PUT YOUR LIFE ON THE LINE TO BE NORMAL?
Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, Scarlet has come to terms with the fact that she's going to die. Literally of a broken heart. It could be tomorrow, or it could be next year. But the clock is ticking...
All Scarlet asks is for a chance to attend high schooleven if just for a week-a chance to be just like everyone else. But Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with each slammed locker and vicious taunt. Is this normal? Really? Yet there's more going on than she knows. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does...
Praise for CJ Lyons:
"A great thriller-action packed, authentic, and intense." #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child
"A pulse-pounding adrenalin rush!" #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner
"A high-stakes adventure with dire consequences." New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry
"A compelling new voice in thrillers...the characters come alive." New York Times bestselling author Jeffery Deaver
"Harrowing, emotional, action-packed and brilliantly realized. CJ Lyons writes with the authority only a trained physician can bring to a story, blending suspense and friendship into an irresistible read." New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sixteen novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting-edge Thrillers with Heart. CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) featuring "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday). Learn more about CJ's Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When I first saw this pop up on NetGalley, I knew I had to request it. First of all- how gorgeous is that cover? I have SUCH cover love for this book! Second- that blurb? A book about a girl with a rare heart condition who longs to go to school and be a normal kid for once and experience all the things high school has to offer? I was sold. When I saw there was a bit of a mystery thrown in, that sweetened the deal even more! I have to say- I didn't have any idea as to the direction the book would take until the last 1/4 and I was completely stunned by the turn of events. Scarlet has spent her life being sick. She has a heart condition by the name of Long QT Syndrome (which is real!) and after several close calls, she has not been allowed to go to school and live like a normal teenager. She desperately wants to feel normal and experience the things other kids her age do- going to school, taking classes, making friends... However, with an overprotective stepmother who is also a nurse, Scarlet has not been allowed the chance to do those things. Until now. Her parents have agreed to let her go a few days to school to get a feel for it and try it out. However, Scarlet doesn't want to be the center of attention- or known as the freak girl with the heart condition. She wants to slip under the radar, not drawing any attention to herself. It's difficult to do that when she is forced to roll a backpack around that carries her AED. I was absolutely appalled at how Scarlet was treated by her peers that first day of school. She is instantly pushed around, bullied, and made fun of and if I had been in her shoes, I probably would've taken off and hid out in the bathroom for the day. Scarlet is a trooper though. She is determined to survive the day and not let jerk football players or haughty upperclassmen ruin her experience. Scarlet has been sheltered by her stepmom for so long, that she comes across as quite naïve. She is too trusting of others and she is led to believe her peers are curious about her condition, when really they are looking for more things to use against her-to humiliate her. She does make a few good friends along the way- Jordan, Nessa, and Celina are all part of a Peer Mentoring group and they really stick together. Scarlet is filled with joy that there are people who are willing to stand up for her. I liked Jordan's character, but I thought Lyons would take his character in a different direction that she did. Jordan also shares lockers with her and he is one of the first people to show her kindness in her new school. She finds herself attracted to this boy, yet she can't figure him out either. Nessa was not my favorite friend to be honest. Nessa was a bit back and forth with Scarlet. It bothered me that she blamed Scarlet for things her mom was doing when Scarlet had no knowledge of this. Scarlet blindly trusts her mom- she's been the one person there for Scarlet all these years, taking care of her- making sure she is healthy and taking her medicine. What girl wouldn't trust that her mother knows best? Scarlet definitely wasn't used to this kind of drama and the last thing she wanted was to lose friends. I also really liked Tony's character in the novel. Tony is another person who made Scarlet feel like a normal girl. After watching her take a stand against a bully, he admires her resolve and wants to get to know her. He ends up partnering them up in Biology, not because he feels bad for her or that she almost puked on his shoes, but because he genuinely wants to pair up with her. Tony, like Jordan, will also stand up for her, which leaves her confused about her feelings. Nessa tells her both are interested in her, which leaves Scarlet a little flabbergasted. She's never had to deal with emotions and feelings for boys before and at 15 watching her deal with them is awkward but completely realistic and I loved that. Tony not only stands up for her, but he genuinely wants to help her too. As the two work on a genetics project for history, the two learn more about Scarlet's health history than they ever bargained for. Suddenly, things are not so clear and Scarlet must force herself to look at things from every angle, no matter how much it may hurt her. The coolest thing about this book is that it is set in the span of 5 days. The book is also divided that way, which at first I thought would bother me, but it didn't at all. I felt the pacing was just right and I didn't find myself getting bogged down with the plot. I did feel the ending was a tad bit rushed, though. We have the build up and then it just seemed like everything was resolved rather quickly. I do like that Lyons provided us with a view of what happens after that last day so we can see how Scarlet's story progresses from there. Overall, this is a compelling story about a girl with a rare heart condition that longs to experience the world as normal teenagers do and be able to have those social interactions that she is not getting staying isolated at home. Watching her navigate the storm known as high school is both emotionally heartbreaking and filling at the same time.
I fell in love with the characters so easily. The way Scarlet narrates the story makes it so relatable. The only thing I didnt like was how unrealistic the bullies in the novel were. I dont think high school studentd would or could be so cruel, coming from a high school seinor's perspective. The plot twists were wonderful and I couldn't put the book down.
Look what he's done to you, it isn't fair Your light was bright and new but he didn't care He took the heart of a little girl And made it grow up too fast Now words like innocense don't mean a thing You hear the music play but you can't sing Those pictures in your mind Keep you locked up inside your past This is the song for the broken girl The one pushed aside by the cold, cold world You are hear me when I say You're not worthless they make you feel There is love they can never steal away And you don't have to stay the broken girl Those damaged goods you see in your reflection Love sees them differently, love sees perfection A beautiful display of healing On the way tonight, tonight This is the song for the broken girl The one pushed aside by the cold, cold world You are, hear me when I say You're not the worthless they make you feel There is a love they can never steal away You don't have to be the broken girl, girl You don't have to be the broken girl, girl Let your tears touch the ground Lay all your shattered peices down And be amazed by how grace can take a broken girl And put her back together again This is the song for the broken girl The one pushed aside by the cold, cold world You are, hear me when I say You're not the worthless they made you feel There is a love they can never steal away You don't have to be the broken girl, girl You don't have to be the broken girl, girl No you don't have to stay the broken girl. &hearts
3.5 Stars When I first heard about Broken and read the synopsis, I was intrigued because it was based on the author's own experience as a physician, as well as being based on a condition called Long QT, which she had diagnosed in her own niece. Those two things combined with the fact that the book is labeled a YA thriller quickly captured my attention. I was also a bit leery because I was afraid it might be a tearjerker because of the gravity of the heart condition that the main character had. Let me just say I was surprised on all accounts. While the disease is based on the condition CJ Lyons diagnosed in her niece, she has also noted that Scarlet, the main character, is nothing like her niece. With that in mind and knowing that this was a fictional story, I started the book anxious to satisfy my growing curiosity. Scarlet's story is one that is heartbreaking and tragic, but it's not a tearjerker type story by any means, which for me was wonderful because I don't like those type of stories. They tend wipe me out and give me an "emotional hangover" that can last for days, so I can only take them in small doses. Scarlet is 15 years old, has a diagnosis of Long QT, a life-threatening heart condition, has spent the majority of her life in and out of hospitals, and is now for the first time in her life going to school...high school.... starting 3 weeks late. This fact alone makes her the center of attention, and on top of that she has to carry a defibrillator everywhere she goes in a rolling backpack. What was more heartbreaking to me than the actual condition Scarlet suffered from and the effect thereof, was the way that she was bullied and picked on by some of the kids at school. Despite the bullying and the bad experiences, Scarlet does have some good times also. She's never had friends before, so this is new to her, and she finds she really likes it. She also experiences her first crush and what it feels like to have a guy interested in you, and she learns what it feels like to put your friends needs before your own. As the situation escalates and things get more threatening for Scarlet both with her health and with the bullying, a class project she is working on with her friend and one of the guys she is crushing on, Tony, simultaneously brings to light some very disturbing information. Scarlet is in more danger than she realizes, and she isn't the only one. Now it's up to her and her friends to expose and stop this dangerous and potentially life-threatening conspiracy they've discovered. They race against time and a horde of other obstacles to do just that, but will it be too little to late? I enjoyed Broken. It took me a little while to get into the story, but once I did, I liked it. Scarlet was a bit naive, but given her situation, that was understandable. There are some really important social issues that many teens face that are brought to light in this book, in addition to the bullying, and incorporating them into the novel was an excellent way to bring awareness to them. There is the hint of romance, as well as the mystery and conspiracy that is unveiled, which adds the thriller component to the story. I also was glad to see that the author included what happened with Scarlet and her family in the aftermath of everything that happens, giving you a glimpse into the future and what occurs after the climax, which I enjoyed and thought was a great way to end the book
Amazing book!! Love the characters! The ending was so unexpected and i love it for that! Everyone should definitely read! I couldn't even stop reading! Finished this book in a matter or a few days!
This book goes way beyond the scope of YA literature! I lived every word of it as I read. It dealt with several complicated issues in the story of a high schools girl's struggle to be normal.
I think in life that when u hear a song u compare it to parts of your life and you get closer to the song and feel a conection like i had a boyfriend ethan i loved alot and there is this song let her go and i compared it to me and ethans memories and i got close to the singer and song and i had this bf that cheated on me named jason he cheated on me and i compared it to wasting all these tears he made me feel horrible about myself and my life.......
4.5 stars Set Backs. Near Misses. Just in Case. Risks. Nothing Good. Welcome to the world of Scarlet Killian. Scarlet has been sick with Long QT Syndrome for as long as she can remember. Her heart can go off rhythm on its own and kill her instantly, nothing like living in fear 24/7. Scarlet has been homeschooled her entire life and this year she has persuaded her parents into letting her go to the public high school. Of course, her parents put a stipulation in place for this freedom, she has one week to prove to them she can survive. Scarlet just wants a normal life, with friends and an opportunity to make some memories. Little did she know that when she opened up the door to Smithfield High, her life would change so dramatically. Having a group of mentors, Scarlet finally gets a taste of true friendships but it is the harassment and the bullying that tear away at Scarlet. Being new and different has set her apart and the relentless and painful bullying is something Scarlet didn’t see coming. Scarlet and her new friends try to handle the situation on their own but when the school nurse steps in, Scarlet has a new set of problems to address. The school nurse is Scarlet’s own mother. Once seen as a caring individual, Scarlet sees her mother in a whole different light. Her mother sees this bullying as a reason to abort this school trial but Scarlet is determined to push through the week. Scarlet’s new friend Tony has her facing questions about herself and her past (a past she took at face-value). They formed a special relationship as they worked on a biology project together. Little did Scarlet know how much her week in high school would affect her. I felt sorry for Scarlet as she wanted to live in plastic bubble; she wanted to be sheltered from the world. She feared what the world had to offer until she got out there and lived it. When she entered the high school, it was like a whole different world, all the noises, smells and people. It was overwhelming but she was determined to make it work, she wanted to experience life once she saw what it was all about. The bullying was so vicious and cruel yet she tried to keep her head up and she looked to her new friends for support. Her mother was a different story. So concerned but yet so demanding. I loved the way Tony stood by Scarlet. The gym scene with Scarlet and her peers, how innocent and harmless. How that was taken to the next level, I was not ready for, it was brilliant. As Scarlet becomes friends with her mentors and she learns about their past, she feels a connection. A connection, she hasn’t felt with anyone before, these connections are powerful for her. Yes, one week can make a difference. I received a free copy of this book for an honest opinion.