Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thriller Writer CJ Lyons Goes YA: BROKEN

Well known for her Lucy Guardino FBI thrillers (like Snake Skin), CJ Lyons is also a physician -- and she brings her expertise front and center in her newest book, BROKEN, written for the young adult (YA) market.

BROKEN opens as Scarlet Killian begs for a chance to stay in school for a whole day -- it's her first day there, it's high school, and she's stunned by what the in-person version is of friends, boys, class discussions, even hallway bullies.

And it's easy to bully Scarlet, as she tugs with her a heavy machine called an AED -- an automatic external defibrillator. It's to restart her heart, as needed. Scarlet has a diagnosis of "Long QT Syndrome." To the other kids, though, she figures she is just "the girl who almost died."

In fast-paced thriller mode, Lyons provides multiple threats to student lives for her gutsy protagonist to sort out. If you're a Jodi Picoult fan, you'll know the twist pretty early. But if you haven't yet read Picoult's medico-legal thrillers, BROKEN will open new terrain for you. Racing alongside Scarlet, you can discover why she's at risk -- and why a simple day at school has pushed her chances of death way higher.

Full disclosure: I like Scarlet so much that I peeked at the ending ahead of time, just to make sure the worst wasn't finally going to happen (whatever you consider the worst to be). See if you can read it straight through, instead.

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