The Unbroken Hearts Club
The Unbroken Hearts Club
Ever since Mom died, its like the light meter of life got turned way down to low. Colors are washed out, sounds are muffled, and my feelings – even feelings for guys- are blank. The girls at school can’t understand it. I mean, Cole is hot, and not just hot for our small town. He’s big-city hot, move-star hot… Why am I able to resist the irresistible? Why can’t I return the feelings he has for me.
Forget it. I don’t want to think about it now. As I clip up the prints, I see that I haven’t captured the images quite the way I wanted to. Some parts are underexposed, and the compositions seem a little boring. I’ll have to try again tomorrow.
... We leave my darkroom and turn the corner to head up the steps. The last thing I see is the large family portrait hanging above the rec room fireplace. Snapshot: Mom, Dad, Daughter. Smiling in the sun. Spring flowers. An explosion of bright color. Blossoms on the trees. The promise of the future. Last known photo of Family Flanagan. A technicolor reminder of all we’ve lost.
Our narrator, 17-year-old Logan, is in her final year of high school and approaching the first anniversary of her mother’s death as a result of Huntington’s disease. In spite of the challenges facing Logan and her father (David), they have a strong relationship and are working through their grief in their own way. David belongs to a bereavement group while Logan is working through things on her own with support from her long-time friend and wanna-be boyfriend Cole. Logan’s grief is compounded by the knowledge she could carry the gene mutation that signals she has Huntington’s disease.
Logan uses her artistic talents, photography, to work through her anguish. Taking photos, developing them, and finally using them to complete her final Arts Media course project which ensures she will graduate from high school.
Coming to terms with the unknown, Logan decides to take a genetic test the day of her eighteenth birthday. The results free her from the knowledge she is condemned to end her days in agony from the disease. The news is also a relief to her father. It also opens the door for her to pursue a relationship with Cole.
The Unbroken Hearts Club is a sweet story. As is the case with the “Orca Soundings” series, this novel is straightforward with a direct plot line, characters that move the plot forward and familiar settings and contemporary references. The author, Brooke Carter, has a knack for keeping things simple, yet engaging the reader emotionally. The secondary characters, mostly members of the bereavement group, are unique one from the other, adding emotional and narrative depth to the novel. The information on Huntington’s Disease is frank without being gruesome.
The Unbroken Hearts Club is a welcome addition to the high interest, low vocabulary genre as it is different from the “in trouble with the law” or sports titles in this series.
Ruth McMahon is a professional librarian working in a high school library in Lethbridge, Alberta.