Author: Megan Miranda
Length: 264 pages
My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ¾
[6/15 novels in November]
Delaney Maxwell should not have survived her accident at Falcon Lake, even though her best friend Decker managed to pull her out of the icy water. But Delaney does survive, and despite what her CAT scans say, she seems to suffer no ill effects from her brush with death. However, everyone she knows treats her differently, and she feels inexplicably drawn to people who are themselves about to die. Confused and afraid, Delaney turns to a mysterious young man who also survived against the odds as the rest of her world falls to pieces around her.
Fracture was a fascinating and terrifying read, and I think the number one reason is that Delaney was such a sympathetic narrator. So alive. Stuck in her head, I could feel her terror and her pain and her despair. Everything was so vivid that I could almost taste it. And oh, did I feel for her. In the lake, she heard a voice urge her to “rage against the dying of the light,” so she rages against all the injustices—great and small, real and imagined—in her life after that.
The length of this brief novel lends it a certain intensity, almost an urgency, that helps make Delaney’s thoughts and emotions even more tangible to the reader.
And while you will find cliches here, debut author Megan Miranda does avoid some predictable YA plotlines. Kudos to her especially for how she handled Troy, the other character who should be dead but isn’t, and his relationship with Delaney. I’m glad she had the courage to portray him in the way that she did. I also liked Decker, though sometimes he seemed a little…flaky? Cowardly? I’m not sure. Maybe h was realistic, but half the time, I wanted to shake him.
I will say, though, that Fracture is kind of a bummer, and also full of melodrama. Delaney’s angst is to be expected, given the situation, but a lot of it is typical teen angst just the same. There are also several situations which seemed abusive (on her parents’ parts and others’), but were then written off and excused, that made me a little uncomfortable. And I wish that the setting—northern Maine—had been more apparent, more a part of the story. Instead, it almost felt like Delaney and her friends lived in Anywhere, USA (only in the winter). But those are pretty minor quibbles.
So is this one:
I handed him Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. Decker’s eyes widened. “Nevermind, joke’s on me. This is a joke, right?” … Decker fanned the pages. “This is, like, twelve hundred pages!” (86)
What high school English class would ever in a million years assign the unabridged Les Mis as required reading? To last-semester seniors no less? The copy I own is actually fourteen hundred pages, but either way, it’s a long, long book. And admittedly I was reading it in college on the side, but it took me a year and a half to finish—and I wanted to read it.
That’s such a nitpick, but when things I love and know well are referenced in books—especially YA books—I tend to take a microscope to them.
Anyway, I did like Miranda’s style. It was fast-paced, vivid—as I said before—and highly readable. There were some funny moments and some quotable ones, but this commentary on parental abuse really hit home for me. For all the other mixed messages in the book, this one struck me as very important to acknowledge, so I’ll end with this:
“[My father] was awful, it’s true. He’d lose it over the smallest thing—the way I emptied the dishwasher, the way I left clothes hanging over the end of the hamper, anything. It was hell. … But that’s not why I left. It was my mother. She watched, she did nothing, she didn’t defend me, she didn’t take me away and leave. She was just complicit. And that was far, far worse.” (117)