Broken

Broken - CJ Lyons 3.5 star read

Scarlet Killian has spent most of her life in the hospital. She only attended elementary school for a few years before she was taken out and home-schooled. Scarlet has several "near misses" where she's been on death's door only to be revived to survive another day. Now that she's fifteen, she's asked her parents if she can attend school. She knows that it will be difficult simply because her heart could give out on her at any time, but she wants this chance to be "normal." Her parents agree to allow her a one-week trial and then they will reassess the situation. Scarlet feels as if she's won the lottery, one whole week to experience being a teenager outside of her home or the hospital. Scarlet doesn’t know what she's in for . . .

Scarlet's first day at school begins with problems. She immediately makes an enemy of a member of the football team, so (of course) his teammates and others go out of their way to treat her like a freak. If that wasn't bad enough her mother (actually her stepmother), the school nurse, intrudes on Scarlet's lunch on the first day and attempts to take her vitals in the cafeteria in front of other students. The horror! The only plus to the first day is that Scarlet has made some new friends; namely her peer mentor support group consisting of Celina, Nessa and Jordan. She also is befriended by a student in one of her classes after she is set on fire by her lab partner, the aforementioned football player, and she throws up on the kid that tries to help her out. What a first day and talk about first impressions.

All of the action in Broken takes place over the span of five days. It is filled with the normal teenage angst and drama, but it is also filled with friendship, budding romance, and a mystery. Ms. Lyons has incorporated a lot of mystery, suspense and thrills into her first foray as a YA author. Of course I haven't been a "Young Adult" for quite a number of years, but I enjoyed reading Broken as much as I've enjoyed her other contemporary suspense thrillers. The action gradually builds, as did my tension while reading, and most of the suspense and thrills take place in the last 20-25% of the book. I was left on tenterhooks while reading because after everything is revealed it is possible to go back and see the small clues left pointing toward a possible ending. Broken is a well-crafted mystery-suspense-thriller that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, so don't be off-put by the YA classification. Read it and you'll enjoy it as much as I did.