Occasionally, I come across a book and realise how difficult the reviewing process is. Fracture by Megan Miranda was one such book. Despite the amountOccasionally, I come across a book and realise how difficult the reviewing process is. Fracture by Megan Miranda was one such book. Despite the amount of content and drama, I was left feeling thoroughly ambivalent, as though there was something missing, something fundamentally dissatisfying about this tale. All the aspects of this story attempted to make some remark and strike a chord within the reader, but ultimately fell short.
Fracture tells the story of Delaney, a girl who falls through ice and ‘dies’, yet manages to recover from her comatose state and continue living. She is truly a miracle. However, she starts to feel estranged from her life and self. Delaney starts to experience disconcerting ‘pulls’ towards dying and decaying people, sees ominous shadows where they don’t belong, and has awkward, pseudo-romantic urges and tête-à-têtes with Messrs Decker, Carson and Troy.
Megan Miranda introduces an interesting hypothetical. If someone dies and returns, does their essence or psyche undergo some sort of radical transformation? Is Delaney, our beloved protagonist, ultimately a different person than she was pre-drowning? Are we susceptible to change through our unique experiences, or are we static beings? These questions are tentatively proposed in lines such as:
“Words can cut, slice, like a razor. The old Delaney would’ve asked permission. The old Delaney with the normal brain scan. I was someone else.”
However, the ‘someone else’ factor is never given the opportunity to come to fruition. Besides her newly found sixth sense, the reader is rarely exposed to the old Delaney. Instead of the writing itself demonstrating the possibility of the existence of multiple personae, we are told – and that, I believe, is what strikes at the heart of a decent idea and quashes its potential. Instead of experiencing first-hand how Delaney’s rebirth makes her ‘new’, we are only given dull, lifeless lines such as:
“First day of preschool, some girl dipped my pigtail in blue paint. Traumatic. I become decidedly unfriendly to my classmates”
that attempt to elucidate a fundamental difference in self and character. Binary oppositions such as new/old and life/death are almost redefined – almost being the key word. While there was potential for these philosophical musings to break the tiresome mould of YA storylines, they become radically subsumed by the other aspects of the story, unable to truly shine on their own.
Fracture introduces a love-square of sorts. While this is an admirable feat, it comes to a disappointing conclusion because the romantic relationships are somehow devoid of romance. So many boys, which to choose? Delaney’s characterisation, for a start, begs the question of why three such boys are remotely interested in her. Besides being told that she is beautiful and brainy, Delaney is as frigid as the lake she drowned in. While Delaney goes through the motions of her life, I had trouble believing she was truly alive. The only time she deigns to show any emotion is when she experiences her unusual ‘sensations’. Leading on from this, the inevitable romance was utterly unconvincing. The displays of affection were mechanical and unable to create any sort of titillating effect. The display of affection in the line:
‘…leaned over and kissed me, a smacking, wet kiss that landed half on my mouth and half on my cheek. I could feel it, wet and getting colder’
essentially sums up the range of romance offered by Fracture – mechanical and unable to create any sort of titillating or tantalising effect. In fact, this sentiment could be extended to encompass all aspects of this story.
Every story has to have a complication, and Fracture’s anti-hero manifests itself in the form of Troy Varga. As far as ‘bad boys’ come, Troy is unconvincing and somewhat overbearing in his performance of a menace with a God complex. Lines such as:
‘Troy gripped my upper arm. “Why did you do that?” Then he shook me. “How stupid can you be?”’
showcase the sub-par writing and the clunky imagery of depicting evil. I found myself drowning painfully in Troy’s melodramatic anger and desire to one-up Delaney. Instead of invoking a sense of disgust or horror, Troy’s words and actions felt forced and invoked many an eye-roll. I always admire a well-written villain, but sadly, Troy wasn’t one.
This is not where Fracture ends. Besides the aforementioned subjects, it continues on to consider euthanasia, God complexes, family disorders and poor friendships. While all intriguing subjects, the overarching failure of this book was its inability to hone in on one subject and flesh it out satisfactorily. I felt rather disappointed considering the ideas has reasonable potential, but it was simply too difficult to rouse any positive emotion with the story jumping around without direction. Unfortunately, Fracture by Megan Miranda ended up being another lack-lustre YA novel, showcasing mediocre storytelling, characterisation and plot. While I didn’t hate it, it’s the newest addition to the teetering pile of books that will never be read again....more