BOOK REVIEW: DIVIDED by Sharon M. Johnston

There are two kinds of books, when it comes to characters staying with you after the final page: the ones who wrap themselves so deeply into your brain you’d swear that just for a moment, they were real…and the ones who are stuck there as your brain keeps trying desperately to figure out what the hell just happened.

DIVIDED is 100% in the second category.

I love the premise–it’s one of the reasons I picked up the ARC from NetGalley to read. Mishca Richardson is a young woman in need of a heart transplant, made more difficult by the fact that Mishca was adopted, and in a way that keeps any biological information about her and her birth family rather hidden. In the early pages of the book, Mishca receives word she’s gotten a transplant match and is rushed off to the hospital–where everything starts getting strange.

The beginning is excellent. The new heart seems to have given Mishca superpowers: she’s super fast, incredibly strong, and has an internal voice with the instincts of a super soldier. Add in an attractive young man in the shape of Ryder Madson, and you have all the trappings of a lovely story.

But that’s were the book starts falling apart.

I won’t go into details for fear of spoilers, but my overwhelming feeling is that there are too many plot lines going on at once. If we’d stayed with just Mishca and her super-heart trying to balance the oddity of her existence with wanting a normal relationship, I would have enjoyed it more. But we get a side plot with Mishca’s heart, a side plot for Ryder, one for his roommates, and so by the end for the big reveal on Mishca’s main story, I was so confused by everything else that I’d run out of suspension of disbelief. Add on that it blatantly ran up to a sequel, and I couldn’t manage to be impressed. I was just lost.

Also, as is so often the case, Ryder and Mishca’s relationship moves WAY too fast. Given that Mishca is written to be someone who’s never had a relationship before, has no basis for any of that, and has been a bit shy for most of her life, I can identify very strongly with that–though I’ve never needed a heart transplant. So speaking as someone who’s been somewhat in her shoes, it all seems a bit much to believe. However, this isn’t specific to this book, so it’s more a frustration with the genre.

I edged it up to a three-star review because while I wasn’t overly impressed, it was relatively well-written, and I did enjoy Mishca and Ryder. I’d be interested in seeing how the myriad plot lines pan out–though I may wait until I can borrow it somewhere, given how small my book buying budget is.

Overall, this is a cute little NA romance with good potential, if a bit buried.

Rating: *** (Worth a Look)


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