Publication: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Netgalley for Blog Tour
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New York Times bestselling author CJ Lyons makes her YA debut with a fast-paced thriller sure to keep readers guessing to the very last page
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.
One week. That's exactly the time it takes for Scarlet's life to change. She's lived with her heart condition that's had her home bound for some time but now things have turned critical, she wants to experience being a normal teenager by going to school. Of course, her step-mother, a nurse at the school she will be attending wants any opportunity to snatch her away back into the safe bubble that is her home. She's extremely overbearing and fails to see how crippling her behavior is to her daughter. Scarlet is aware that her mother cares for her because she's the one who has been there at the critical moments of life and death but she needs her space and the chance to enjoy this little piece of normal as long as she can. One day will change it all... Scarlet will learn a truth that will blow her mind and she must learn to overcome her fears and be brave or someone will die.
School life isn't what Scarlet expected and her condition makes acceptance difficult. She's bullied and called a freak, some of these students are unnecessarily cruel to her but through her support group that's supposed to aid in a smooth transition into the ways of high school. She begins to learn about true friendship outside her world of sickness and hospitals. Scarlet is a sweet, innocent character and she's very trusting but I found her determination to continue, despite the mean acts against her, a true mark of her bravery. She just wants to live and not fade away and this makes her journey easy to connect with as well as some of the other characters around. These characters may seem "broken" but they are fighters and when they uncover the horrifying truth, they don't back away out of fear. That said I didn't connect with all the characters but the writing builds nicely to the conclusion. Overall, I think this is a good read about bullying and friendship.