Friday, September 12, 2014

Review - Fracture

Fracture (Fracture #1)
by Megan Miranda
Date: 2012
Publisher: Walker Publishing
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 273
Format: e-book

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. 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.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

If you've read my blog, you'll know that I'm a big fan of Before I Fall and that I was less than impressed with If I Stay.  So I went into Fracture not knowing if I would love it or hate it (or if my feelings would fall somewhere in the middle).

After finishing the book (and the prequel novella, Eleven Minutes), I've come to the conclusion that this story was begun at the wrong point in time.  Delaney falls through the ice within the first few pages of the book.  This leads to a very big problem: we don't know what Delaney was like before the accident, and so we have no way of knowing how she's different after.  Delaney constantly tells us (which is one of her more annoying traits... more on those in a minute), and we can see how those around her react to her, but since we don't know how they reacted to her before, it's confusing.  I kept thinking that there must have been something else going on, and that was why everyone around her was acting so strangely.  As it turns out, there wasn't anything else going on.  The story was started in the wrong place, and the characterization was too weak to help the book overcome that major error in judgment on the part of the author.

The characters were another big problem.  I didn't mind Decker, Delaney's friend/neighbour; unfortunately, he was about the only decent character in the whole book.  Troy was underdeveloped and not all that believable.  And Delaney herself... wow.  I don't think I've disliked a main character this much since I read Paige Harbison's Here Lies Bridget.  Delaney is one of the most messed-up heroines I've read in a while... and not in a good, thought-provoking way.  I mean that she was written so badly that it was really difficult to read a whole book from her point of view.  She's quite immature for seventeen, and tended to be socially inept; she makes a number of comments to people throughout the book that had my jaw dropping because they were just so rude.  She also needs finite answers to everything, she hates hugging, she misinterprets others' words and actions, and she has very few friends... which made me suspect that she actually has Asperger syndrome.  I wouldn't have had a problem with that... had it been addressed.  It wasn't, so instead Delaney just came off like a massive jerk.  A massive, stupid jerk.  Despite the fact that she tells us over and over again how smart she is, she rarely shows it.  Smart people don't go slinking around the snowy neighbourhood in their nightgown and boots because they see a prowler.  Non-jerky people don't call those with neurological illnesses "not quite human".  She really is an appalling character, and I couldn't wait to be done with her.

I wasn't impressed with the writing in Fracture, either.  In some places it tried too hard to be deep and/or artsy, and it just came off as odd (see the quote below).  This is also the second YA paranormal in a row that I've read where the author seemed to have trouble conjugating verbs.  Both books were written in the past tense, which makes me wonder if the preponderance of present-tense YA novels has started to adversely affect people's brains.  Aside from that, there were continuity problems, inappropriate word choices, info-dumps that conveniently appeared just at the right moment, and a pat resolution to the storyline with Troy that was less than satisfying.

I wanted to like this one.  I hoped it would be like If I Stay, but with more of the paranormal flavour that might've made me like that book more than I did.  Fracture had the paranormal stuff, and it wouldn't have been a terrible story... if the writing and characterization had been a lot better than they were.

Quotable moment:

He patted my hand, so I could feel his logic.

Recommended to: fans of paranormal YA who don't mind obnoxious heroines and confused writing

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 1/5
Pace: 2/5
Writing & Editing: 2/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 ladybugs

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