Cassandra Page's Reviews > Divided

Divided by Sharon M. Johnston
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Edited after rereading the new edition (mostly 'cause the name of the book changed)...

Divided sits somewhere between YA and NA; the main character, Mischa, is eighteen and about to start university, but the themes sit closer to the more-typical YA fare of self-discovery. And while there’s a lot of kissing there’s no graphic detail in here that might make some teens (or parents of teens) uncomfortable. There's also no swearing.

After her heart transplant, Mischa finds that she’s traded being a “freak” with an illness that means she can’t do the things her peers can to being a freak in the truer sense. Although the doctors warned her she’d feel different, she’s pretty sure superhuman speed and strength weren’t want they meant. (Watch out for the scene on the beach where Mischa explores the full extent of her powers—it made me giggle. Poor girl!) She’s determined to fit in, though, and just wants to enjoy her new lease of life and being able to do things without worrying her heart may give out.

Mischa is easy to relate to and the romance between her and Ryder develops in a natural and realistic way that I enjoyed (though I do wonder how a mining magnate comes to call his child "Ryder"). He’s a likeable character, and when Mischa starts having eyes for another man, Colin, I got a bit grumpy with her—because Ryder. But it was obvious from the start that there was something weird going on in Mischa’s attraction to Colin, so her love at first sight didn’t irritate me the way it usually does in fiction. In fact, the attraction kept me guessing and made the plot more interesting. (For the record, I didn’t guess correctly either. The plot twist is a good one.)

Another thing I liked about Divided that you often don’t see in YA fiction is that Mischa's parents are not only present in her life but are responsible adults who actually take an active interest in their daughter’s behaviour and activities (though her dad is a bit of an ass). I think it’s easier for Johnston in this case because, at eighteen, Mischa is an adult with her own drivers license—if she was fifteen it would be harder for her to get away with the things she does, which is often why YA writers have their characters’ parents either dead or chronically negligent.

My absolute favourite part of the book was the epilogue. Beautiful stuff.

The only thing I found a bit jarring about the story was that the book is set over the course of a full year. I found a couple of the time jumps a little surprising. But this was only a tiny niggle, especially as it would’ve been unrealistic if the story had played out over a shorter timeframe.

(Also, there are some grammatical errors—little things that most people wouldn't notice but that tripped me up. I don't blame the author for that one, but I am disappointed in the publisher.)

The sequel comes out this weekend, and I'm keen to see if the story develops on the overall X-Men vibe I got from Divided!
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Reading Progress

April 23, 2013 – Shelved
January 24, 2014 – Started Reading
January 24, 2014 – Shelved as: australian
January 24, 2014 – Shelved as: speculative-fiction
January 26, 2014 –
January 27, 2014 – Shelved as: science-fiction
January 27, 2014 – Finished Reading
February 4, 2014 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 4, 2014 – Shelved as: reviews
January 1, 2015 – Shelved as: aww2014
September 29, 2016 – Shelved as: aww2016
October 23, 2016 – Shelved as: urban-fantasy
November 26, 2016 – Shelved as: superhero

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