May 5, 2015

REVIEW: A Shattered Moment (Fractured Lives #1)

A Shattered Moment (Fractured Lives #1), by Tiffany King
Publish Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: ARC, provided by the author
Genre:  new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble 

Rating: 5 STARS

(From Goodreads) In the new series by Tiffany King, the USA Today bestselling author of the Woodfalls Girls novels, six friends—fresh from high school graduation—discover that the future can come at you from out of nowhere.

This is Mackenzie’s story…

Mackenzie Wilson once had hope for what life had to offer, but everything changed on the night of her graduation. A year later, the only way she can find comfort is by keeping her head down and hoping she remains unnoticed at college.

When Bentley James discovered Mac in that twisted SUV, he was just a newbie EMT on his first call. It was a gut-wrenching moment that made him realize not everyone can be saved—and sometimes they don’t want to be.

A chance encounter on campus brings Bentley back into Mac’s life. Despite her initial resistance, he sets out to discover the girl hiding beneath a shield of seclusion. He evokes painful memories in Mac—but also feelings. As the spark between them grows, Mac must decide if she can let go of the past and believe in something as fragile as love…

Seriously, Tiffany King. The tears. I had lots of them. Well done, my friend. 

Mac was in a tragic accident that killed her best friends and left her forever changed, both physically and mentally. She's trying to move on with her life as best she can in college, but she's really not doing well with that plan. Until she meets Bentley - for the second time - and he forces her to face things she'd rather just stay hidden. 

So, I mentioned tears, right. Well, let's talk about the fact that six friends, as close to each other as blood, are in a horrific car accident because of a drunk driver. On graduation day. If that doesn't just punch you right in the feels, I don't know what will. The details of the crash and what happened to these kids immediately before and after the accident are revealed slowly throughout the book in the form of Mac's flashbacks. They're all from her POV, and all heartbreaking, knowing what happened to all of them eventually.  And there were a lot of unresolved things between these friends that didn't get a chance to work out, which heaped a lot of guilt on Mac's shoulders, in addition to her injuries.

My hesitation that night still festered like an open wound, leaving me to forever deal with if only. Two words that should be stricken from the English language. If only we would've stayed at the beach a little longer, or if only we would've left just a few seconds earlier... The thought of it keeps me up at night in a cold sweat, haunted by the rattling chains of guilt that bind me.

I've seen Tiffany King use this way of extracting the whole story before, and I have to say, I kind of love it. The book bounces back and forth between present day and the past as we slowly uncover the reasons why our characters are the way they are today.  Nothing is revealed too quickly, which ensures that the questions we have aren't answered too quickly either. It drives you through the story, in search of those answers.

Not that the drive through the story is hard or anything. I read A Shattered Moment in one day. I was completely caught up in Mac and her struggle to become alive again. I can't even imagine what she went through. Not only did she lose her friends, but she has a physical disability now that makes walking difficult. Her own view of herself is severely skewed - she thinks no one could want or love her anymore. And, to make matters worse, her parents are smothering her. 

Bentley comes on the scene unexpectedly. He was the EMT who saved her life at the accident, and then all of a sudden, he's there on campus at her school too. They remember each other, and Bentley has enough tact to know to tread lightly. She fascinates him and he petrifies her. Bentley was sorta awesome. He was so, so patient with Mac. He watched over her without causing her to lose her pride. He lifted her up when she needed it. And, he caused her to see that her self-imposed prison was shutting her off from all the wonderful new friends she could be making, but had been scared to, in case she lost them too. 

"You changed me, Bentley. I don't know if you know that, but you helped me believe I could live again and be happy. For a long time I didn't think that was possible. And even if it were possible. I thought it would be unfair to the memory of my friends, so I kept throwing up walls. Most of all, I was terrified my heart wouldn't be able to handle another loss."

I think the thing I liked best about Bentley was that he never coddled Mac. When she was being a jerk, he called her on it. When she was being irrationally afraid, he made her face her fears. And, he didn't shy away from his feelings, even though Mac made it really hard for him sometimes. I also loved how Bentley's own inner circle of dorky friends accepted her without question, and stood in for him as her protector whenever Bentley couldn't be there. They are completely awesome guys, and I sincerely hope that we see more of them in future books. 

This is a spectacular start to a new series. It ends with questions still to be answered, but not about Bentley and Mac. Their ending is everything I needed it to be. I can't wait to see what comes next.


Brandie said...

I'm really glad to see how much you enjoyed this one. I am excited to read it!

Val said...

I agree. And we are review twins today.