The Brokenhearted

352p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062230928. ebook available. LC 2013014336.
Gr 9 Up—Anthem Fleet, 17, has everything going for her: a wealthy family, a dreamy boyfriend, and a budding ballet career. But just like the dystopian society in which she lives, the teen isn't as perfect as she seems. One night, she and her friend leave their pristine neighborhood and head to the dangerous South Side. There, at a nightclub, Anthem meets Gavin. After an intense, brief romance, they sleep together. In the morning, though, her world changes forever. Gavin is kidnapped and Anthem wakes up in a filthy, blood-soaked laboratory with a jagged scar down her chest and a bionic heart that gives her special powers. But will her new abilities be enough to confront Gavin's kidnappers and save herself? Kahaney has created an uneven package here. On one hand, there are clichés and plot contrivances at regular intervals. For example, Anthem discovers she can float/fly and yet she only uses the talent when it's convenient to the plot. There is also a melodramatic moment when the heroine declares, "I would gladly die here and enter the next world with Gavin." It's rather silly. On the other hand, there are many excellent moments in the writing. For instance, when she is pathetically pining over Gavin, Anthem's friend bluntly tells her, "The world doesn't need another brokenhearted girl." The scenes of Anthem's mother dealing with the grief of losing a child are also particularly moving. Faults aside, with the dystopian angle, the fast-paced action, and the stellar cover, this novel is bound to float/fly off the shelves.—Laura Lutz, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City
Rich-girl ballerina Anthem nearly drowns escaping the thugs who kidnapped her boyfriend Gavin, but a chimeric--part-human, part-hummingbird--heart transplant saves her life and (bizarrely) gives her superpowers. Ransoming Gavin, revenge, betrayal, and ultimately altruism drive Anthem to follow in the steps of a legendary vigilante who challenged the corrupt leaders of her dystopian city. This dark sci-fi/suspense novel is action-packed if utterly implausible.

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