Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fracture

"What would you do if you only had one day left to live?" This is the question that haunts Delaney Maxwell after she spends eleven minutes under a winter lake. Her heart and brain stopped working; Fracture's protagonist dies in the first seven pages of the novel, but somehow she doesn't stay dead. Despite all medical reason, Delaney survives as good as new. Almost.

After drowning, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the dead and dying, and she's not alone. The mysterious Troy, an outsider who also came out of a coma, always seems to be around when someone is dying. Troy is the opposite of Delaney's lifelong best friend, Decker, who saved her from the lake and is suddenly unrelatable. The distance increases between Delaney and all her loved ones, but when Troy reveals himself to be less noble than he seems, she has nowhere to turn.

Wintertime in Maine is the perfect setting for this story about isolation, where Delaney is frozen out of the life she once had. Author Megan Miranda is skilled at creating a cold atmosphere in the local hospital and Delaney's home. Rather than giving her characters the warmth and celebration that should follow a near death experience, Miranda keeps her characters metaphorically trapped beneath ice.

Delaney can be a frustrating character. While she has been given a second chance at life and spends much of the novel asking others what they would do if they only had one day left to live, she does not live her words. She expresses herself poorly to Decker and her parents, and is paralyzed to act when she knows a situation is wrong.

Fracture is far darker than the plot synopsis implies. When I started reading, I expected a paranormal plotline, but it is more of a thriller than anything else. There are few bright spots for Delaney, so much of the narrative feels like a heavy weight on the reader's chest. Still, I could not stop reading, hoping that the ice would thaw for Delaney.

Read this view and more like it at Young Adult Books Central.







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