Broken by C. J. Lyons
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
The only thing fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has ever wanted is a chance at a normal life. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, she has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. So when her parents offer her three days to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now… or never. Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But this high school is far from normal. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does.
The inspiration for this novel is C. J. Lyons’s niece Abby who actually has long QT syndrome. Since Abby and I have the same name (but with different spelling!) I thought it would be awesome for Ms. Lyons to tell readers more about this disease that is pretty much the centre of the story.
CJ: I diagnosed my niece, Abby, with the same congenital heart condition, Long QT, when Abby was only twenty minutes old and BROKEN is dedicated to her.
Watching my niece refuse to allow her disease to define her was such a contrast to some other patients’ parents who would insist on making their child’s disease (most not life-threatening) the center of the child’s world that I couldn’t help but wonder what would it be like to grow up being treated as a “patient” all your life, or worse as the “dying girl,” rather than ever having the chance to figure out who you really were, dying or not.
What better disease to give a character like that than something rare and hard to diagnose and treat like Long QT?
By having Scarlet start the story as someone unsure of who she really is as a person, it makes her struggle and transformation as she faces the truth behind her illness all the more powerful.
After all, it’s easy for someone who is already strong to stand up to bullies or uncertainty or injustice…but how does a kid who has lived all her life in a hospital, basically just waiting to die, learn how to be a hero and find her destiny?
My niece, Abby, is totally opposite of Scarlet; fiercely independent and refuses to let her heart condition hold her back from anything she wants. She rides horses, raises Rottweilers, is a straight A student, and a budding fashionista.
You can see for yourself in this video my publisher produced: http://youtu.be/_Jk7ojHyd_o
Abby has never allowed her heart condition to define her life. I think a large part of the credit for that goes to her parents—they were always open and up front with Abby about her Long QT. By the age of three she could explain what Long QT was (including a short summary of the genetics!) to anyone who asked about her MedAlert bracelet.
Since then, she’s grown into a smart, independent young woman who is the first to jump in to defend a friend (or tell them they’re making a mistake), confront a bully, or lead a cause she’s passionate about.
If I sound like a proud aunt, it’s because I am!
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-one novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.
Winner of the International Thriller Writers’ coveted Thriller Award, CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).
Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart by clicking here.