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A Broken Yesterday Review by Brandi Tesreau

By Laura Simula
Tate Publishing
127 East Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064

Thirteen-year-old Carrie Foster is caught in the middle of a dysfunctional family. When tragedy strikes and tension mounts, she decides to leave her mother and stepfather's home in New York to live in Michigan with her biological dad, whom she barely knows. What follows is a whirlwind of events, including yet another heartbreaking trial.

First of all, I think it's pretty amazing that a busy 14-year-old had the determination to write and publish a novel. A teen with such dedication has a bright future, I am sure. However, there are a few problems I have with Simula's debut novel that keep me from being able to give this book a five-star rating.

Plot: From start to finish, A Broken Yesterday's plot moved too fast for me. Too many events were crammed into 130 pages, and it didn't flow as smoothly as I would have liked. Even though there was plenty of action, the story lacked clarity and suspense.

Characters: In order for me to truly love a novel, I have to love the characters. I know I have read a good book when I wish I could meet the characters in person. I just didn't feel this way about A Broken Yesterday's characters. I had a hard time liking or connecting with Carrie. Though she suffered many hardships, her erratic behavior left me confused rather than sympathetic. The book lacked strong supporting characters as well. I definitely think more time could have been spent on character development.

Writing Style: The overuse of transitional words such as then and soon along with poor word choice e.g., "She rapidly sprinted toward the window," reveals the author's age and inexperience.

On a positive note, the ending surprised me. My interest was revived around chapter 19 when a little mystery was introduced--a link that perhaps tied a certain character to some of the unfortunate events in Carrie's life. I think the entire book would have been more interesting and suspenseful had this character been more developed and had there been subtle clues dropped throughout the story hinting at his possible involvement.

Also, I thought the few scenes right at the end between Carrie's mom and stepfather were well written. Simula leaves the reader hanging and wondering what could possibly happen to Carrie and her family next. Had the entire book been as compelling as the ending, I would have no problem recommending it, but I personally wouldn't spend $10.99 on a book I didn't love.

Product review by Brandi Tesreau, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2010