Book Reviews

Fragments of the Lost: A Review

Jessa so doesn’t want to clear out her ex-boyfriend Caleb’s room after he dies. It’s hard enough to grieve and dodge questions about how she’s managing. But when his mother asks, she can’t say no. Jessa knows this is her penance—her punishment for being part of the puzzle of Caleb’s last day.

She can’t explain why Caleb was at her track meet that day anymore than anyone else can. She only knows what came after. His drive along the bridge as it flooded, the car crash, the body that was never found.

As Jessa sorts through Caleb’s possessions and begins the tedious, painful work of packing everything away she starts to remember details from the start of their relationship when things were still fresh and there was so much to learn. These pieces of his life also bring back painful memories of the end of their relationship and the distances that eventually grew between them.

As Jessa delves deeper into Caleb’s life she realizes his room might hold secrets to that strange last day and his death. She also realizes she might not be the only one looking in Fragments of the Lost (2017) by Megan Miranda.

Miranda delivers an eerie and atmospheric mystery in this latest standalone. Narrated by Jessa the novel moves through time with chapters marking Jessa’s present weekend project clearing out Caleb’s room and the past with chapters named for items Jessa discovers that bring up memories of her year-long relationship with Caleb. This premise is used to good effect to demonstrate Jessa’s (often self-imposed) isolation in her grief and her desperation to understand what really happened on the day Caleb died.

A taut narrative told over a short span of time amps up the tension as Jessa slowly begins to realize that something is incredibly wrong. While the big twist might be easily predicted by habitual mystery readers, Jessa’s arc throughout the novel is strong enough to still make for a compelling read. Recommended for readers looking for a chilling page turner and fans of mysteries or thrillers.

Possible Pairings: I Was Here by Gayle Forman, Forget Me by K. A. Harrington, Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel, The After Girls by Leah Konen, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Book Reviews

Soulprint: A Review

Soulprint by Megan MirandaAlina Chase has been imprisoned her entire life for crimes she didn’t commit. With soul fingerprinting a chilling reality, the world knows that Alina’s soul belongs to the most notorious criminal of her time. Everyone is terrified that if she is free, Alina will do it all again.

Desperate for freedom, Alina jumps at the chance to escape even if it means throwing herself in with people she doesn’t know let alone trust. But freedom has a cost and it might be more than Alina is able to pay.

Everyone wants something from Alina. All Alina wants is to be left alone. On the run and still trying to clear her soul, Alina will have to follow clues left by her former self to a shocking secret if she ever wants to escape in Soulprint (2015) by Megan Miranda.

Miranda once again offers up her trademark blend of science and suspense in this story where reincarnation can have severe consequences. In the midst of Alina’s daring escape and numerous chase sequences, Miranda raises questions about the inevitability of fate and whether certain traits really can transfer from life to life.

Alina is a great heroine. She struggles to be strong and independent while also yearning for the kind of human connection that is impossible when you have been a prisoner your entire life. It is also worth nothing that Alina’s mother is Hispanic–a culture Alina identifies strongly with as she clings to the memories of her mother.

Although some big twists are broadcast early on, Soulprint remains a nail-biting mystery that will keep readers on their toes as they try to follow the clues along with Alina. With a strong cast of characters and just a hint of romance Soulprint is one action-packed story sure to have wide appeal.

Possible Pairings: Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre, Loop by Karen Akins, The Leaving by Tara Altebrando, Malice by Pintip Dunn, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Pivot Point by Kasie West, Minority Report

*An advance copy of this book was acquired for review consideration from the publisher*

Chit Chat

Miss Print Book Club in March 2012

I hope March is starting off in the right direction for all of you, dear readers. I run an online book club which is getting ready to read a new title for the next two months and wanted to tell you all about it.
For March and April my online book club is reading Fracture by Megan Miranda. I really enjoyed the writing in this book as well as the story and I think it has a lot worth talking about. Fracture is a short book so I hope some of you can fit it in and discuss it a little bit because I really think it has a lot going for it.
If you’re not already familiar with the club and want to see what it’s about (or how to join), you can find the information here: http://missprint.wikispaces.com/
You can find the current book’s page here: http://missprint.wikispaces.com/Fracture
The discussion questions are already posted and ready to, er, discuss here: http://missprint.wikispaces.com/message/list/Fracture
Author Interviews

Author Interview: Megan Miranda on Fracture

Megan Miranda‘s debut novel Fracture came out last month. This month Miranda is here to talk about her writing as well as her first book–a unique combination of paranormal suspense, science, and old fashioned good writing.

Miss Print (MP): Can you tell us a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?

Megan Miranda (MM): I always loved to write, but I spent a lot of time after high school not writing. I loved science as well, and I pursued that through college, eventually working in biotech and teaching high school science. It wasn’t until I was home with my two young kids that I really wondered why I wasn’t taking a real shot at writing. I started writing again, at night, when my kids were sleeping, and haven’t stopped since. I think my writing incorporates my love of science as well—I’m so thrilled to be doing something that I love.

MP: What was the inspiration for Fracture? Did your background as a scientist and teacher (not to mention your BS in biology from MIT) play a part in your vision for the story?

MM: It did, but in a somewhat roundabout way. There is definitely science in Fracture, but the idea for the story came from questions I had about the things that science attempts to explain, but isn’t always able to. In that way, Fracture walks the line between science and paranormal… which is just something that science can’t explain. Yet.

Teaching high school really helped in creating characters. It removed me from the equation, from the way I remembered high school, and helped me see everyone, not just the people I would’ve been friends with. It made me realize that everyone is the main character of their own life. I hope all my characters, even the small ones, seem like real people.

MP: Fracture is filled with evocative winter scenes of Delaney’s small Maine town–I felt like I was really there while reading the book. Is Delaney’s town real or based on a real location?

MM: Thank you! My dad grew up in Maine, and we used to visit in the summers. We’d stay in this small town on a bay, and the water was always freezing, even in June. The setting for Fracture is based on that town, but after the tourists leave, in the winter. And I changed the bay to a lake.

MP: Les Miserables plays a significant role in the narrative. Did you always plan to include that specific book and its musical adaptation in Fracture? If not, how did it come to be included?

MM: I love Les Mis—both the book and the play. The first version of Fracture had a reference to the book, but it shifted through the drafts to be a reference to the play. It did always play a part in the story, but the way it was included evolved over time.

MP: Fracture has elements of paranormal in the story, but one of the most interesting things for me was how well the story dealt with the aftermath of Delaney’s accident. How did you approach writing about this complex topic?

MM: I tried to read a lot about the people side of the science. Researching medicine and details is one thing, but exploring how it affects a person is a different issue entirely. I was really drawn to the dichotomy of the before and after. If a person survives, but is slightly different, how do others treat them? Do they mourn for the person who used to be, or do they embrace the one that remains? In Fracture, this change takes the form of something “other,” but I think it can really be anything.

As far as writing about it, my method was the same as it would be for anything else. I closed my eyes and I tried to imagine being in that situation… with the doctors not trusting me, and then my parents…and maybe even my friends. Would I even trust myself?

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project?

MM: Sure! I have another standalone YA set to come out in early 2013. It’s in the same vein as Fracture in that it walks the line a bit between science and paranormal, but it’s also pretty different. It’s a psychological thriller about the thin line between the real and the imagined.

MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?

MM: Write. Read. Whatever makes you different, throw it into your writing. And don’t be scared to start over.

Thanks again to Megan Miranda for taking the time to answer my questions!

If you want to read more about Fracture check out my review!

Book Reviews

Fracture: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“A lot can happen in eleven minutes. Decker can run two miles easily in eleven minutes. I once wrote an English essay in ten. No lie. And God knows Carson Levine can talk a girl out of her clothes in half that time.

“Eleven minutes might as well be eternity under water. It only takes three minutes without air for loss of consciousness. Permanent brain damage begins at four minutes. And then, when the oxygen runs out, full cardiac arrest occurs. Death is possible at five minutes. Probable at seven. Definite at ten.

“Decker pulled me out at eleven.”

Fracture by Megan MirandaDelaney Maxwell should have died the day she fell through the ice on Falcon Lake. At the very least she should be severely brain damaged.

But when she wakes up six days later, Delaney seems fine for reasons  no one quite understands.

As she tries to return to her normal life it becomes apparent that some things are not the same–especially Delaney. What draws her to the strange boy who met her after the accident? What makes her hands itch near certain people? Why does her best friend Decker keep telling Delaney how important she is only to hurt her?

It all started with a fracture in the ice. But that one crack led to many more in Delaney’s life and friendships. As her physical injuries heal, maybe the other less-obvious injuries can also be mended in Fracture (2012) by Megan Miranda.

Fracture is Miranda’s first novel.

Fracture is a haunting blend of paranormal, suspense and excellent writing. Miranda expertly navigates Delaney’s life after the accident as well as her more conventional problems relating with her friends and finding her own place in her small Maine town.

Immediately evocative, Fracture opens with a dramatic start that will keep readers on the edge of their seat until the very end. Delaney’s wry narration and her well-developed friends make Fracture a frank, refreshing book with a whole lot of appeal.

Miranda is definitely an author readers should keep their eyes on in 2012.

Possible Pairings: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Girl Overboard by Justina Chen, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Where She Went by Gayle Forman,  The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban, But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure, The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver, Falling Through Darkness by Carolyn MacCullough, Damaged by Amy Reed, Vicious by V. E. Schwab, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford

*This book was acquired from the publisher for review at BEA 2011

Don’t forget to check out my interview with the author.

Chit Chat

Miss Print Book Club this January

As some of you might already know, I run an online book club where we read and discuss a new book every two months.

The book club is reading my favorite book from 2011 this January and February: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Discussion questions are already posted on the Scorpio Races discussion tab and waiting for your thoughts.

Our next two books will be:

Fracture by Megan Miranda (March/April)

and

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (May/June)

Hope to see you all in the discussion threads!

***If you would like to join the Miss Print Book Club go to http://missprint.wikispaces.com/ and click join now in the yellow bar near the top of the page. After that I’ll email you asking to confirm and then you’re in and ready to start talking books!