Author: Megan Miranda [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Standing: Stand alone novel.
Genre: Young Adult, Speculative Fiction
Published: January 17th, 2012 by Walker Children's
Format: Hardcover; 262 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge
No light at the end of the tunnel. No haloed angels. No dead grandparents.The first time I died, I didn't see God.
To be fair, I probably wasn’t a solid shoo-in for heaven. But, honestly, I kind of assumed I’d make the cut.
I didn’t see any fire or brimstone, either.
Not even an endless darkness. Nothing.
One moment I was clawing at the ice above, skin numb, lungs burning. Then everything--the ice, the pain, the brightness filtering through the surface of the lake--just vanished.
And then I saw the light.
Delaney fell through the too-thin ice on the lake one day. She fell through, and she didn’t come back up. Her best friend, Decker, pulled her out eleven minutes later. Death was definite; she was blue, cold, and not breathing. Even if by some miracle Delaney were to live, she’d be in a comatose vegetative state for the rest of her life. Only she wasn’t. She was fine. Or as fine as you could be when you were supposed to be dead but weren’t, which I suppose is really not fine at all.
Fracture took me by surprise with its intense emotions, steady pace, and overall feel. This was one of those books I was greatly looking forward to, and yet for some reason once I had it in my hands, I let it sit for two months before picking it up. Once I did, I couldn’t put it down. I read Fracture in a single sitting, I think I actually put the book down once when I realized I needed sustenance and went to the kitchen for a snack, but I’ll admit it even made bathroom runs with me.
Fracture instantly grips you into Delaney’s emotional plight, as she miraculously recovers from what should have been death, but despite her being alive, she isn’t the same. Physically, and mentally, there is something most definitely wrong. Her brain scans light up like a Christmas tree with areas that shouldn’t be firing properly, but are. She should have short and long term memory loss, but she doesn’t. She shouldn’t have control over her body motions, but she does. Delaney isn’t in top shape, she has broken ribs, intense headaches, and no short of trauma. She begins to have intense feelings of itch and pull from inside her brain, that draw her to certain places, certain people, as her hands begin to shake. Her parents and the doctors tell her she is having hallucinations, and believe that she is hurting herself, and hurting others. Delaney can’t believe this, and with horror she realizes that the pulls are drawing her to death, and that she’s not the only one.
I was surprised at how moved I was by Delaney’s story. I was expecting an edge of my seat type story, and I got it, but I wasn’t expecting the dive into depression that Fracture took. Both Delaney and her mother experience intense changes after Delaney’s accident, and have to struggle not to drown in their own hopeless states. I went in thinking Delaney’s drowning was over before I started, but I ended knowing Delaney had been grasping for the surface for the duration of the book. She has to grapple not only with her new abilities and physical changes, but with a complete upheaval in her home life, her school aspirations, and her relationships with friends. Delaney has a surprising sense of mortality for someone so young, even beyond the reality that she should by all rights be dead.
It was sad to me how few friends Delaney really seemed to have. It was like she was part of a group, but Decker was really the only one she let herself be close to. While this never hurt before, when Delaney and Decker begin struggling with their own emotions, she has no one else to turn to and Decker basically ‘wins’ their mutual friends by default. This upset me in no small part because I really wanted to love Decker. I totally fell for him in the first chapter, when he breaks down in utter relief at Delaney’s revival, but then his actions through the rest of the book frustrate me to no end, and I ended up despising him and all of their other so called friends. And then, there’s Troy. Troy, the one person who can really understand what Delaney’s going through. I want to hate Troy as much as I want to love Decker, but again, I can’t. More than anything, I pity him. When he meets Delaney, Troy finally feels that he’s no longer alone in the world, and I cannot fathom that kind of relief and intensity of emotion.
Fracture, to me, was an interesting observation on life, death, and healing. It recognizes that often in the face of tragedy, the person whose tragedy it is gets pushed to the side as those around them need comfort. While I loved that Fracture was a stand alone novel, I will say my biggest disappointment was the end. It felt abrupt, and too out of touch with the overall story. I wanted a little more of an outlook to the future, or at least an acknowledgement that there would be a future, however difficult or easy or sad or happy. Fracture was one of those books that I was completely immersed in, and yet liked much less than I expected when all was said and done.
Likelihood that I'll be back for more: I will happily read whatever Megan Miranda comes up with next. Fracture was a solid debut, and judging from it Miranda has immense potential.
Recommended for: People who enjoy unreliable narrators, and some twists to their contemporary reads. I’d say Fracture has a similar set up to If I Stay balance-wise, but reads more like Fury.
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