Published November 5, 2013
Hardcover, 336 pages
Ages: 12 +
Fifteen year-old Scarlet Killian has Long QT, a rare and untreatable heart condition that can cause her to die of a literal broken heart at any time. She has been in and out of hospitals since she was a baby undergoing surgeries and getting over setbacks in which she nearly dies. But now Scarlet wants to attend high school for the first time. She wants the chance to be like a normal teenager even if only for a week, as agreed by her parents.
Even if the teens at school consider her a freak as she lugs her defibrillator with her to class, she revels in the whole high school experience--making friends, getting her first crush and sitting in a classroom. Scarlet is naive about school life and she is bullied, but when her over-controlling mother wants to pull her out, she consents to whatever her mother wants just to be able to continue to attend. But there is more going on behind the scenes than Scarlet is aware of or prepared for.
With that gorgeous cover, I didn’t realize this was a suspense novel until I was one third into the book. Initially, I was so caught up with Scarlet and her medical issues as she’s trying to adapt to high school life. Lyons builds the characters and the mystery surrounding them so well that by half-way through I was hooked and so invested in the story. I was beginning to suspect things but wondered how it could all be. Lyons really knows how to pull a reader in different directions.
Scarlet was a great character. She was smart and tough, yet so fragile and naive. So sheltered. My heart went out to her continuously. Mrs. Killian, Scarlet’s mom who was also the school nurse, was the most interesting character. She was very controlling and sometimes even manipulative, but also very devoted to her daughter. The book explores mother/daughter relationships, high school friendships and how illness impacts families.
I thoroughly enjoyed this YA medical thriller with a twist ending that left me breathless. It’s obvious that Lyons’ former profession as a pedriatric ER doctor adds realism and intelligence to this novel. If you like YA novels and especially thrillers, this one has a unique premise and courageous heroine. And it’s a clean read! Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Laura
Disclosure: Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.
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