Amelia Kahaney’s The Brokenhearted is her debut young adult novel about a girl who goes through an ordinary situation and ends up in extraordinary circumstances. Sounds familiar? Not quite. Anthem Fleet is the only daughter of the Fleet family, one of the richest and most well-known in Bedlam city, a city divided by economical status and rife with crime. She gets involved with Gavin, a boy from the other side side of town and through a chain of events, gets her heart broken…and reawakens to find she has a heart of steel in her chest. Now, Anthem is different; she’s quick to anger, fast and can do more than what the average person can. She decides it’s time someone tried to do something for Bedlam city and something that can help put her broken heart at rest.
The Brokenhearted was everything it promised and more. The world building is imaginative and fresh, hinting at a future that might not be too far from now. The descriptions were crisp and just enough to give the reader an idea without bombarding them with details. The book even gives a little history on the city so the reader can understand how it got to be the way it is. Bedlam was well-constructed and it’s a vital part of the plot.
Anthem is an interesting character that goes through some changes in the book. She starts out doing everything her parents tell her because it will keep her safe in a city where tensions run high and students get drills on how to deal with the different gases the police uses when necessary. Then she meets Gavin, and her world is turned upside down. She starts stepping out of the perfect little world she was easing into and then…her heart is broken. At this point, the story veers into a completely new direction. The Brokenhearted doesn’t focus on a romantic relationship, its hardships and then some; it’s much more than that. It’s about someone learning to pick up the pieces, get on with her life and go beyond. Anthem empowers herself through her steel heart and even though the changes are scary, she embraces them. I enjoyed seeing how she struggled but pushed herself to follow what she felt was right.
The cast of characters that show up in the book had their quirks and defining traits. Their backgrounds and histories influenced who they were and I was glad to see The Brokenhearted put this into view where not many books put much focus on this. This book is all about actions and consequences, about situations shaping people and pushing them into what they are or will become.
The Brokenhearted is a great read; it throws the readers in new directions and makes them keep an eye out on what Anthem is trying to do and how Bedlam is changing. One of the two big plot twists took me by surprise and has me waiting for the next installment. My only critique is that though the characters had defining qualities, they felt a little flat to me. Despite this, I still enjoyed The Brokenhearted.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Mara Delgado Sanchez, the Young Adult Reviewer at Girls in Capes, is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in fiction. She draws inspiration from writers such as Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf and is an avid reader of young adult novels, science fiction, and fantasy.