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"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Book 339: BROKEN Review, Author Q&A and more

Broken by C. J. Lyons
ISBN:  9781402285455 (hardcover)
ISBN:  9781402285462 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00ENQEMJW (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 5, 2013 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire


For Scarlet Killian, every day is a game of Russian roulette - she has a 1 in 5 chance of dying... 
The only thing fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has ever wanted is a chance at a normal life. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, she has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. So when her parents offer her three days to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now...or never. Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But this high school is far from normal. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does.


Scarlet Killian has spent most of her life in the hospital. She only attended elementary school for a few years before she was taken out and home-schooled. Scarlet has several "near misses" where she's been on death's door only to be revived to survive another day. Now that she's fifteen, she's asked her parents if she can attend school. She knows that it will be difficult simply because her heart could give out on her at any time, but she wants this chance to be "normal." Her parents agree to allow her a one-week trial and then they will reassess the situation. Scarlet feels as if she's won the lottery, one whole week to experience being a teenager outside of her home or the hospital. Scarlet doesn’t know what she's in for . . . 

Scarlet's first day at school begins with problems. She immediately makes an enemy of a member of the football team, so (of course) his teammates and others go out of their way to treat her like a freak. If that wasn't bad enough her mother (actually her stepmother), the school nurse, intrudes on Scarlet's lunch on the first day and attempts to take her vitals in the cafeteria in front of other students. The horror! The only plus to the first day is that Scarlet has made some new friends; namely her peer mentor support group consisting of Celina, Nessa and Jordan. She is also befriended by a student, Tony, in one of her classes after she is set on fire by her lab partner (the aforementioned football player), and she throws up on Tony after he tries to help her out. What a first day and talk about first impressions.

All of the action in Broken takes place over the span of five days. It is filled with the normal teenage angst and drama, but it is also filled with friendship, budding romance, and a heart-stopping mystery (pun intended). It seems like the more Scarlet looks into her past medical history the more questions she finds that require answers. Ms. Lyons has incorporated quite a bit of mystery, suspense and thrills into her first foray as a YA author. Of course I haven't been a "Young Adult" for quite a number of years, but I enjoyed reading Broken as much as I've enjoyed her other contemporary suspense thrillers. The action gradually builds, as did my tension while reading, and most of the suspense and thrills take place in the last 20-25% of the book. Broken is a well-crafted mystery-suspense-thriller that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, so don't be off-put by the YA classification. Read it and you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

To read a few of the first chapters of Broken, click here: http://cjlyons.net/wp-content/uploads/Broken_excerpt.pdf

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


About the author:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-one novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart. 

Winner of the International Thriller Writers' coveted Thriller Award, CJ has been called a "master within the genre" (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as "breathtakingly fast-paced" and "riveting" (Publishers Weekly) with "characters with beating hearts and three dimensions" (Newsday).

Learn more about CJ's Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net

Connect with the author:     Facebook      |      Goodreads  



The character of Scarlet and the story Broken was inspired by Ms. Lyon's niece Abby, a teen with Long QT syndrome.

How is Abby coping with Long QT?

CJ: Abby's great, thanks for asking! She's totally opposite of Scarlet, fiercely independent and refuses to let her heart condition hold her back from anything she wants. She rides horses, raises Rottweilers, is a straight A student, and a budding fashionista.

You can see for yourself in this video my publisher produced:


Abby has never allowed her heart condition to define her life. I think a large part of the credit for that goes to her parents—they were always open and upfront with Abby about her Long QT. By the age of three she could explain what Long QT was (including a short summary of the genetics!) to anyone who asked about her MedAlert bracelet.

Since then, she's grown into a smart, independent young woman who is the first to jump in to defend a friend (or tell them they're making a mistake), confront a bully, or lead a cause she's passionate about.

If I sound like a proud aunt, it's because I am!


Psst...pre-order the ebook before November 5th and you'll qualify for special ebook pricing at only $4.99!

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