If you only had one day left to live, what would you do?
Delaney Maxwell never got a chance to answer that question. In the span of eleven minutes, she found herself trapped underneath ice, unable to breathe, and eventually dies. However, against all odds, her heart starts to beat again and she regains consciousness after six days in a coma. But she has not emerged completely unscathed. She now has the ability to tell when people are going to die. In fact, she is drawn to them. She eventually meets a boy, Troy, with abilities similar to hers, and he has her questioning her mentality and morality of life and death. All the while, relations with her family become strained, and her friendship with Decker turns rocky as they try to sort out their feelings for one another. All these problems have Delaney really examining her own life and what it means to be given a second chance.
My favorite thing about this book was how deep it was. It delves into the complexity of the human mind, and it really made me wonder. The brain requires ~20% of our daily energy, and it basically controls all functions and senses, so how is it we use so little of it? How it is possible for people to see feelings as colors or have a sense of when someone is about to die? There is so little known about the brain, and I like how Miranda asks these questions and made me think. Something else I loved was how Delaney thinks about what it really means to be alive. By defying all odds and surviving her accident, she constantly wonders why she is alive and what it means to really die. No one knows what awaits us after death, but instead of fearing the unknown, we should live every day like it was our last. Miranda expresses these thoughts and ideas magically, and I loved reading them. There was also a wide range of emotions present in this book: guilt, love, fear, sadness, happiness. These emotions were deeply compelling, and they moved me beyond words. They were clearly expressed, and this book was all kinds of beautiful and heart-wrenching.
I have two (minor) problems with this book: the ending and the character development. I liked the characters for the most part, but I did not fall in love with any of them. I feel like Troy especially got the short end of the stick. Mysterious, depressed, captivating Troy was the most interesting character in the book, in my opinion. However, I did not like what happened to him in the end. Never once did he seem suicidal to me, so when he took his own life, I felt like it served more as a way for the author to tie-up loose ends than anything. Also, Tara was not needed. Her sole purpose in the book was to serve as a love interest/rival wedging her way between Delaney and Decker. There were plenty of other characters with that role, so her presence was more of an annoyance than an addition. Now onto the ending. I felt like it was too abrupt, and I still have quite a few questions. What ever happened between Janna and Delaney? What becomes of Delaney and her ability? The book ends with Decker and Delaney getting together, but there were so many other issues that were never resolved. I would have liked something a little more conclusive, but I will have to take what I can get. There has been no mention of a sequel for this book, but I am hoping for one!
Overall, this was an excellent debut from Miranda. This book is thought provoking, original, and intelligent, and even without strong characters or romance, it is thus far one of the better reads of 2012. You should not miss out on it! There is also an exclusive tie-in story out, called Eleven Minutes
. It is told from Decker’s point of view, and I am excited to check out his version of the story!