Rated 5 stars ***** 2013. Sourcebooks Fire. ebook. Includes Q & A with CJ Lyons.
Scarlet is 15 years old and starting her first day of school. High school is bad enough if you’re normal but for a freak with Long QT Syndrome, it’s a nightmare. With Long QT her heart beats too fast, which could cause her to faint and perhaps die, so her mother (the school nurse) isn’t taking any chances. Scarlet has spent her whole life enduring multiple operations and hospital stays and has to come to school with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on wheels. She also has to report to her mother practically every hour so she can get checked out. It’s not a great way to win friends and influence people, but is a small price to pay to be normal for a little while.
Scarlet knows she could die at any moment because of her broken heart and will not live to graduate, so wants to be a normal teenager. Ever since 3rd grade, she’s stayed home and learned from online classes. Her mother has finally agreed to allow her to have a one week trial period to attend a real school, and Scarlet will do anything to make sure she gets a chance to stay.
High school is not what she’d expected. Football players make her life miserable with bullying but, for the first time in her life, she has friends. Jordan, Nessa, Celina and Tony accept and support her through difficulties and challenges. Through a school project, Scarlet is soon brought face to face with a secret that will threaten to destroy her life in a way Long QT could never do.
CJ Lyons has woven together a story of a young girl’s desire to live, despite the odds, while tossing in a mystery/thriller plot, which will leave her readers gasping in disbelief.
Recommended for 9th grade and higher.