PUBLISHER: Strange Chemistry
RELEASE DATE: 8th January 2013
FORMAT: Ebook, 416 pages
GENRE: Paranormal, Young Adult
Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all. A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.
When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she’s intrigued despite herself. He’s an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely… familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel’s. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there’s something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks’ estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows. (Goodreads)
From the premise I was interested and excited to pick up BROKEN, a modern day spin of the classic Frankenstein and something a little different from the vampires, werewolves and fallen angels that seem to have saturated the paranormal YA market.
Emma, a junior in high school and the main protagonist is distraught when her boyfriend Daniel died during the summer. Spending her time visiting the graveyard and continually thinking about him, Emma felt that she could never love again. Of course those feelings change when her eyes meet Alex Franks.
Alex is a new student at her school, Shelly High and has the locker next to Emma, Emma struggles to open her locker every day and Daniel had had a special knack for opening it. When Alex opens her locker for her in the exact same way Daniel had it reminds her very much of him and she is instantly drawn to Alex.
BROKEN for me read a bit like a diary, Emma always informed us of her diet, sleep patterns, coffee breaks. We are welcomed into each day with a description of breakfast, coffee and some sort of run in with Josh Mason.
Mom has her famous Walking Breakfast Taco or W.B.T. as I like to call it-crumbled sausage, scrambled eggs and cheese added to a snack bag of corn chips-in one hand, my backpack in the other when I shoot from the stairwell.
Josh is a boy who also attends Shelly High School and wanted to date Emma until Daniel beat him to it, since then Emma and Josh have a difficult friendship that is based on throwing insults at each other, although Josh maybe hiding his true feelings for Emma beneath this façade.
My enthusiasm for BROKEN soon diminished as I felt the plot focused more on the mundane things in Emma’s life, which I found uninteresting and quite repetitive, there are only so many times you want to read about what someone ate for breakfast and follow their daily routine. I found it quite difficult to connect to Emma as she quickly realized there was something different and not quite right with Alex but it took her ages to put the pieces together, leaving me a little frustrated.
Alex has many quirks very similar to Daniel and even his eyes could be Daniel’s, Emma is confused how to feel about Alex and it’s another theme that feels repetitive.
The odd tingle in his touch, Daniel’s eye looking out of his face, all of his scars…Beyond the physical, and way more disturbing, the way he feels so familiar to me. How can I feel like I’ve known him for years? How can he open that damn locker just like Daniel?
I can see how last night’s nightmare makes a sick kind of sense. I’ve been missing Daniel so badly, for so long, that when someone came along the least bit like him I squashed Daniel and Alex into one person.
Emma flicks back and forth between Alex is odd and feels wrong to it’s all in my head and I love him however, once Emma finally realized that Alex was in part Daniel, the story changed focus and picked up pace but it did take about two thirds of the book to get to this point.
I enjoyed the final third as the pace quickened, there were a few twists and some action, we meet Alex’s eccentric and dangerous father and find out what really did happen to Daniel and who was to blame. If only the first two thirds was as good as the end.
I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of BROKEN and I wanted to love this book. I’m not sure why but the book for me seemed to drag, the pace was slow and quite often repetitive. I was annoyed that it took two thirds of the book for Emma to work out why Alex’s eye and personality traits were so familiar and without reading the summery I could tell who would be the Frankenstein as it was made obvious what Alex Franks was from the very beginning, it was just a pity Emma took so long to catch up.
Overall, I thought the plot was a good idea and for once no love triangle, I just felt the execution of the plot didn’t quite flow, which caused me to struggle my way to the end, the ending surprised me and it’s the only part of BROKEN that I enjoyed.
BUY THE BOOK