Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yay for YA: Fracture

It has been noted by various people that there has been a disturbing amount of dead girls on YA book covers.  (For a good take on the subject, visit this blog.)  While I completely agree that it's creepy, macabre, and probably objectifies women, I think there's a companion trend in male-oriented YA fiction: zombies.  What's the connection between pretty dead girls in art, and horrific zombies shambling around?  Death.  Whether it's about girls falling for Hades (such as in Abandon, reviewed last fall) or a young man coming into his own by fighting zombies (such as in Rot & Ruin and Dust & Decay, respectively reviewed last summer and last fall), literature has taken a turn toward facing death in whatever form best appeals to its audience.

This bit of pondering was spurred by a book I read this past week, after a copy was graciously given to the library by the Superiorland Preview Center.  Here is my review of that book, Fracture, by Megan Miranda.
Checkouts: New to the library
Source: Superiorland Preview Center

Synopsis: One early winter's day, Delaney Maxwell falls through the ice while walking across a lake with her neighbor and best friend, Decker Phillips.  He and their friends rescue her, but she was dead eleven minutes.  She lay in a coma for a week before shocking everyone by waking up and seeming completely normal.  Or is she?  She is now pulled toward dying people, and she meets Troy Varga, a young man who has the same "gift" after a similar near-death experience.  What will they do with this strange power?

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars (3.5, really)

This is a decent debut novel.  The writing is of good quality; the prose kept me engrossed.

The characters are well-rounded and fleshed out.  Through the course of the book you learn a lot about Delaney and her friends, and their positive and negative attributes.  The friendship/relationship between Delaney and Decker is complicated, confusing (for them at least), and certainly realistic.  The dynamics in their group of friends felt natural for the most part.  There was one part where many really piled the survivor's guilt onto Delaney that felt over-the-top, but otherwise the interactions between Delaney and her peers were realistic.

That's not the case so much with the dynamics of Delaney and her mother.  Her mother is certainly complex, with plenty of baggage, but her actions bordered on hyperbole.  Then again, there are mothers out there who don't actually deal with their children's problems and force-feed them pills to address the situation, as she does.

The plot is the sticking point of this review.  It's been done before.  Not necessarily verbatim, but someone with a near-death experience gaining death-related powers is something that's been the plot of plenty of books, movies, TV shows, graphic novels, and so on.  Is this a bad thing?  Your mileage may vary.  Personally, I didn't feel that this was a different enough story to call it good.  But you might like how it's handled in Fracture.

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