What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Broken, prolific writer CJ Lyons' YA debut, is a teen medical drama with frequent but not gory mentions of blood and other anatomical subjects. Episodes of violent and sexual bullying punctuate the story. Infrequent strong language includes "s--t," "ass," "bitch," and "hell." There are several incidents of sexual harassment, including leering, and two brief kisses. Sporadic drug references include one mixture that induces heart attacks. As the story develops, protagonist Scarlet discovers dark secrets involving her family, including a mysterious death.
What's the story?
Fifteen-year-old Scarlet has spent her life in and out of hospitals after being diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that affects her heart rhythm. Entirely homeschooled in the past, she's finally allowed to attend public high school as BROKEN opens. Scarlet wants nothing more than to be a "normal" teen but struggles to fit in after she's quickly branded a "freak." When research for a biology project starts to raise questions about her past, she'll have an even tougher struggle to learn the truth about her family and her illness.
Is it any good?
In Broken, author CJ Lyons effectively uses the backdrop of a serious medical condition to highlight common teen issues. Fitting in and being perceived as "normal," wanting to become independent, needing supportive friends, standing up for yourself, and wondering if you'll ever find true love -- all of these are explored.
The suspense builds nicely to an exciting finish, but a lot of the dialogue between the high school kids doesn't ring true. Scarlet's inconsistent, contradictory observations may be realistic for a 15-year-old, but the flat narration and romance-novel dialogue detract from the character's credibility. Young readers may not notice, though, and shouldn't have a problem identifying with and rooting for Scarlet as she strives for a normal life.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why people are so fascinated with medical dramas. Would Scarlet or her story be less compelling if she weren't diagnosed with a heart condition?
Is there bullying at your school? Is it anything like what happens to Scarlet and her friends? What should you do if someone bullies you or if you see it happening to someone else?
Do you know anyone who needs to keep life-saving medication or equipment with them at all times? How does it affect their life? Did this story change how you might view someone with special needs if you were meeting them for the first time?
|Genre:||Coming of Age|
|Topics:||Friendship, High school, Misfits and underdogs, Science and nature|
|Publication date:||November 5, 2013|
|Number of pages:||336|
|Publisher's recommended age(s):||12 - 17|
|Available on:||Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle|