The Best MG/YA Novels About Death, Dying, or Those Left Behind
Apr 9th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

DEATH. It’s inevitable. And even though DEATH isn’t the biggest fear for MG/YA, (alienation from peers is number one according to a child psychologist friend who conducted a study on the topic) it is still a topic YA think about. Yesterday, I finished reading The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder. It was another powerful read about the main character dying of cancer that left my head spinning and my dreams mingled with images right off the pages. When I woke up, I started thinking about how many MG/YA novels I’ve read on this topic. I searched my Goodreads list and I realized that DEATH is definitely a reoccurring theme. No, I am not DEATH obsessed at all. But it’s everywhere – from the Hunger Games to Under the Never Sky to Across the Universe—all fantastic novels I highly recommend. In those novels, characters are murdered and DEATH is prevalent. But they don’t necessarily address the deeper issues of DEATH. So, I decided to compile a list for readers who are looking for some of the BEST novels that dig into this topic. In no particular order:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, WhoRuBlog post: http://www.whorublog.com/?p=1043

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder, my Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/227446798

Before I Die by Jenny Downham, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/245856732

Winter Longing by Tricia Mills, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/215029968

Fracture by Megan Miranda, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/243297421

Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/151807847

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz, Goodread review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/226657322

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223975181

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223975181

Elsewhere by Gabriella Zevin, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/274770802

Between by Jessica Warman, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/207351225

The Everafter by Amy Huntley, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/162762230

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/174050466

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/150999990

Deadline by Chris Crutcher, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/104403811

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/91838896

If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/115787142

Read and added on April 21, 2012 – after recommendations from several YA book bloggers: The Catastrophic History of You and Me, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/195927203


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (author), Siobhad Dowd, Jim Kay (illustrator), Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/234705851

Radiance, Shimmer, Dreamland (Riley Bloom Series, 1, 2, 3) by Alyson Noel, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223997625

Would love to know your favorites. Feel free to share by clicking on comments. 



Giveaway & Q & A with YA FRACTURE Debut Author, Megan Miranda
Mar 5th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

Fracture, By Megan Miranda

Meet YA Debut Author

Megan Miranda


ENTER TO WIN: For your chance to win a signed copy of Fracture, please leave a comment below-click on comments, it’s that easy!

(US/Canada) An International winner will receive an unsigned copy through the Book Depository. Tweet and/or post on Facebook for an extra entry each – let me know. Giveaway ends on MARCH 19. 8:00 PM CST (WINNERS RANDOMLY CHOSEN – thanks to all who entered!)

A huge thank you to Megan for talking with me about Fracture after her

Megan Miranda

book signing at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL on January 23, 2012. I was fortunate to receive an ARC of Fracture at the BEA and was thrilled to have this opportunity to meet the wonderful (and SMART!) Megan in person.

Here’s a portion of my five star review of Fracture: With a plot woven in death and life, characters that are strong and memorable, and a setting that is easy to imagine, there is nothing broken about the story Megan Miranda wove together to create her hard-to-put-down debut YA novel, Fracture. The book begins with Delaney waking up after six days in a coma, which was caused by her falling through ice and being submerged in frigid water for eleven minutes. She has brain damage, but somehow her brain rewired itself. And even though she shouldn’t be able to talk or walk or remember, she appears to be in great shape – normal. Everything is functioning the way it should. But one thing is different . . . (To see the rest of the review click here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/243297421 )

You’re from North Carolina, so why did you choose Maine for the setting of Fracture?

My dad grew up in Maine, so we would go up every summer and stay at a house on a bay. Even in June the water was freezing. We would dare each other to go in, even though it was way too cold to swim. So I think when I was looking for a winter setting subconsciously I thought about the small quaint town in Maine but took out all the tourists. The setting is a place that I know in my head, but instead of the summer, it’s winter and instead of a bay, I have a lake.

In Fracture the MC drowns in a frozen lake. She’s under water for eleven minutes, but then is brought back to life. She should have suffered from a severe brain injury, but comes out “unaffected” or so it seems. That’s as much as I am going to reveal. Death is a major theme in Fracture. Why did you choose to write a novel that focuses on death?

These were the books that I liked to read and sought out when I was a teen. My mother gave me Edgar Allen Po because she knew I was drawn to stories like this—I always have been. It’s a natural question to want to know what happens after life and what happens in that “gray” area between life and death. I’m not alone in wondering about these things, so when I started writing I was drawn to it.

Have you experienced anything supernatural?

I personally haven’t, other than seeing a cat hissing at an empty space and wondering if it senses something that’s there, but not there. But even though I haven’t experienced anything like that I’m drawn to those stories. I’m also drawn to stories where a person’s had a brain tumor removed and then experienced personality changes. So which person was he? It’s this dichotomy that set up the idea for Fracture—is the person the same or a little different? Do others mourn the person who used to be or do they embrace the person who remains? Who are we? I’m interested in knowing how much of our brain is determined by our DNA. Or how much is influenced by other factors?

Delaney and Decker are best friends. Decker is interested in more. Was this relationship based on any personal experience?

I grew up next to a boy and we were best friends until he moved away in second grade. And now my daughter’s best friend is a boy who lives next door. I have wondered about at what point do these boy-girl friendships become hard. I think this is why we write about best friends trying to figure out how to navigate through those years. It’s interesting.

This question/answer contains a spoiler**

Fractured relationships play a role in Fracture. What can YA learn from them?

Part of the process of growing up is figuring out what type of person is right for you. Sometimes you try the wrong person and then it forces you to decide what’s love, what’s not love. I think that the reason why Delaney was drawn to Troy was because she felt abandoned by others. What pushes you to someone else or what makes a relationship last were questions that I wanted to explore. I also think that you can figure out who is right for you by being with someone who is wrong for you.

Communication and the lack of communication between characters deeply influence this novel. What do you feel is important for YA to learn about communicating with others?

Communication is something that people can struggle with at any age. And that’s a big part of Delaney’s journey—learning to put herself out there, to say what’s on her mind and if it doesn’t work out, oh well. But that’s the whole point of asking the question, “If you had one day left to live, what would you do?”

Fracture, in my opinion, is a brilliant novel that brings up lots of questions. I love that the reader is given the opportunity to think about issues instead of having every idea wrapped up neatly with answers. What were your reasons for this?

 The inspiration for the book was questions I had, not answers. The process of writing the book was my way of trying to explore the questions, not necessarily what I had to say. These questions were the things I was thinking about, wondering about and I wanted to explore them in the story.

This question/answer contains a spoiler**

One of the issues addressed in Fracture is the concept of mercy killing versus murder. What motivated you to take on such a controversial topic?

I wasn’t coming at it from a right or wrong perspective. It was how I developed the plot. I set up Delaney and Troy as opposites. What if the same thing happened to both these people but because of their past experiences, what they do with it is completely opposite – one is trying to speed up death and one is trying to slow it down? Everything came into play around that. I didn’t come at it from my own moral perspective. But it made me think about it.

This question/answer contains a spoiler**

The mother in Fracture is a troubled character and is not based on your own mother. During your book talk you said your mother identified more with the father in the novel. Where there any influences for Delaney’s mother?  

Not for the character, specifically. For me, one of the hallmarks of becoming an adult was understanding my mother as a real person and not just as my mother—the person who will not let me go out with friends—but as someone with her own interests, experiences, history. And with Delaney coming of age she starts to see her mother as her own person and not just as her mother. Polar opposites. On the topic of the mother’s story line, I tried to pull on the theme of opposites again. That the absence of something can be a horrifying thing. Not doing something can have an impact if not a stronger impact on others than if the person had done something. I pulled together a theme that the absence of something can be a horrifying thing. Not doing something can have an impact if not a stronger impact on others than if the person had done something.

What would you want the reader to walk away with after reading your novel?

I think when you put a book out there it belongs to somebody else. Based on your own experiences you’re going to take what you can. But if I had to pick something, it would be seize the day, do what you want to be doing.

Where do you see your characters five years from now?

I like the idea that anything can happen and that’s why I’m not writing a sequel. That’s life, but I also like the idea that they’re happy wherever they end up.

What was the hardest/easiest and part of the process?

The easiest part of the process was sitting down and developing the characters and the relationships. The hardest part was finding an external plot. It took me three drafts and six months of rewrites to get it. And then there were some really hard scenes to write as well. They were emotional scenes and I was like ‘I’m sorry Delaney. I sorry I had to do this to you.’

I trashed my first draft and only saved a few lines. What really surprised me are who my characters are because if I were to sit down and say I’m going to create a character, I don’t think it would be the person I developed in the story. But once I started writing the story, the story built the characters.  They become their own people. You have an idea that something is going to happen and then you get to a point where you say my character wouldn’t do that, my character wouldn’t make that choice. Maybe it’s a choice I would make, but not my character.

Now that Fracture is out in the world, is there anything you wish you could change?

This book went through several major overhauls before becoming this story, but at this point, there’s nothing I’d change. This is its story, and I’m really happy with it.


»  Substance: WordPress   »  Style: Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright 2020 Liza Wiemer