Publisher: Walker & Co.
Released: January 17, 2012
Genre: Magical Realism
Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine — despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?I really love when an author can just throw me into a story and capture my attention with the very first line. Megan Miranda not only managed that, but she kept me invested in the story even when things got a little weird.
Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?
Delaney barely escapes death and wakes up from a coma even though no doctor understands how. Science can't explain how Delaney survived the impossible, so she doesn't even tell the doctors about what's happening to her now that she's awake. She attempts her return to school and everything else normal in her life, but it soon becomes clear that normal is in the past. Things get even more unbelievable when she meets Troy, a stranger who apparently has the same "talent" as Delaney. She pushes her family and friends away as she tries to get closer to Troy and figure out what's happening to her.
I loved Delaney's relationships with her parents and Decker. Although they frustrated me at times, her overbearing mother reminded me of my mom, and although Decker made some bad decisions, so did most teenage boys I used to know. I also really enjoyed Delaney's other friends from school. Janna was sweet, Carson was worthy of several eye rolls, and I wanted to punch Tara. I thought the entire supporting cast was well fleshed out, and love them or hate them, I appreciated them and their actions.
When Troy entered the picture it got a little weird for me. I understood Delaney's attraction: if he couldn't help her, he could at least understand her. But I got a total creeper vibe from him from the start, and it only got stronger as the story progressed. About three quarters into the book, I started to get restless, wondering where exactly things were going. Thankfully, things started moving in the right direction, and the ending completely redeemed the story from the bit of trouble I had with the middle.
Megan Miranda took an amazing idea and executed it well. While there were a few issues for me, it was overall a great debut. Her writing was so descriptive, I felt myself shivering at the unbearable cold she described. I felt all the angst between Delaney and Decker during their arguments. I felt all of the things that I love to feel while reading a good contemporary. I'm very interested in what Megan comes up with next.