Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda
Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?
Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?
For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.
Here’s a tip: when you’re reading Fracture make sure you have some fluffy blankets or a nice animal or two to curl up on you because between the descriptions of the icy lake and the Maine winter, you’re going to want to warm up!
Much of this book felt like an adaption of a Hitchcock movie - suspenseful and cinematic with an overall feeling of dread even when chocolate chip cookies are baking in the narrative. The writing is incredibly evocative both of the cold of the winter and of the bleakness of Delaney’s situation, and the cinematic qualities had me picturing cold winter light dulling every color it touches - except for the bright red of Delaney’s parka.
I tend to enjoy character-driven books more than plot-driven, but Fracture is definitely an exception to that rule. Though I have to admit, it’s not entirely plot-driven either. There’s a Major Event - which is referred to in the synopsis so this isn’t a spoiler! - and the rest of the book is how Delaney reacts to it. All of that is a roundabout way of saying that in some ways, I found that watching the characters’ reactions to the situation more interesting than the characters themselves.
Which isn’t to say I didn’t find the characters enjoyable! I empathised so much with Delaney and her focus on grades and uncertainty about her standing with her best friend Dexter and the friends that are more his than hers. She’s a smart girl, stuck in a situation where intelligence has to give way to feelings and intuition. Learning that sometimes intelligence can’t fix things is a hard, hard lesson when for a girl who’s always gotten A’s (yeah, I’m totally speaking for myself here, but for Delaney too). I liked her best friend Dexter and his easygoing approach to life which was nearly shattered when his best friend fell through the ice, and I felt so much for both Delaney’s parents as they struggled to come to terms with the fact that their daughter before her accident may not be the same girl who woke up from the coma.
I think there may be criticisms of this book for being too slow or uneven pacing, but I didn’t find it so. When the book slowed down to examine the day-to-day minutia of Delaney’s post-accident life, I felt it served both to give greater insight into these characters and to build tension about what was happening and what might happen. Certainly it allowed Delaney to slowly but fully comprehend everything occurring around her.
I found the climax a bit confusing, and there were questions raised that we never really got answers to especially in regards to Troy. What really was going on? But the overall message really touched me and makes me rather think that sometimes questions don’t need answers even when we really want them. I very much want to talk about the conclusion, but I don’t want to spoil everyone so I’m going to avoid it. Suffice it to say...I liked it.
This is a tense, suspenseful book that I’d recommend to anyone looking for a cinematic read with touches of horror. I really enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to see what the author writes next.
Thanks to Walker Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read this eARC!