Her heart, as delicate as glass. His love, as strong as steel. Can either survive life and death?
Hardy Bradford is an eighteen year old football phenomenon who has the girl, the school, the town and the future in the palm of his hand. His life is all mapped out for him, right down to who he’ll marry and how he’ll become a professional football player. It doesn’t seem to matter that Hardy would’ve chosen a much different life if it was up to him. But it’s not. At least not until his Miracle comes along.
The first time Hardy laid eyes on Miracle St. James, he didn’t know who she was, but he knew she was something different and that he’d never get her out of his head. And he didn’t. Now, months later, Hardy’s world is turned upside down when Miracle shows up in his class, stealing his heart and forever changing the course of his life.
Miracle’s sick. Very sick. And Hardy might be losing the only thing in his life that has ever mattered. How much is too much to sacrifice for the one you love? For just a little more time? For just one more chance? Can Hardy be the hero Miracle needs? Or is it Hardy that needs saving?
In Fragile, readers watch as Hardy the all-star football player, with every step of his life planned, breaks free of his restraints and forges his own path. M. Leighton gives Hardy a miracle in the form of Miracle St. James just when he realizes his life doesn’t have to be made of pointless rituals and shallow friends. Miracle is a kidney cancer survivor who believes that her life may not be long and plans to fulfill every task on her bucket list. As Hardy discovers Miracle’s caring, care-free personality, he comes to learn what it means to truly feel love for another person.
Fragile is not Leighton’s best story, but there are reasons that make it a worthy read. It’s not often that male leads actually see below the surface of their romantic interests, and make mature decisions about them. Hardy is an easy character to follow because he knows that his ex-girlfriend, Cheyenne, is a vindictive mean girl with no shame. He sees more than Miracle’s sickness, but her actions that make her someone he can truly care about. Leighton does an excellent job when it comes to dialogue between characters. Hardy and Miracle speak easily with each other, bantering back and forth to keep the story light in light of the background fear of Miracle’s sickness coming back.
The story’s plot is a little uneven in terms of intensity and pacing. Fragile seems to be more about relating Miracle’s story, than focusing on Hardy. His family problems are major, but they’re pushed to the background in lieu of Miracle’s insecurities and delicateness. She’s a kidney cancer survivor who puts others before herself, she believes life’s too short to hold grudges, but a person doesn’t have to be a cancer survivor to have that kind of outlook on life. Hardy takes in every little action she makes and puts her on a pedestal, but he never praises himself for going for what he believes in or standing up for himself.
Reaching the conclusion is a bit of an anticlimactic experience. There’s no breath of relief or ecstatic shout of joy. Leighton seems to write very mechanically in Fragile, plotting the story without deviating far from reality. Fragile isn’t as tragic or sad as the premise would have readers believe, but it is a light read for any reader to enjoy.
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