Tuesday, 24 May 2016

This book will break you: 'Beautiful Broken Things' review

'Beautiful Broken Things' by Sara Barnard
Review by Christopher Moore

I was brave.
She was reckless
We were trouble.

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie - confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne's past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.


Beautiful Broken Things is one of those books that comes around once or twice a year and doesn't just tell an addictive story but rather, it makes you feel every ounce of pain, laughter, sadness and fear. Suzanne is a wild card, who I adore her, and changes everything. What's great about Suzanne is not so much what happened to her, it's the way it's portrayed in every moment. Abuse affects mental health and the consequences of that abuse are clear in her character. So many authors explore these issues but they disappear as quickly as they appear; suiting a need rather than spotlighting an important issue. Barnard gives a true representation of mental health, ensuring it encompasses the the sensitivity it demands.

It's a thought-provoking, lingering story of power and female friendship. The main characters are all girls. The males are background characters. They might be interesting in other circumstances but it's Caddy, Suzanne and Rosie that make the story. It's their story and in terms of friendship, it's one of the best stories I've read. It doesn't dwell on bitchy, gossip types. It doesn't centre around cosmetic surfaces. It doesn't trivialise friendship. It's a three-way friendship that is equal parts love and sisterhood; a see-sawing power dynamic between three striking characters. 

Reasons you should read Beautiful Broken Things:

  • A book title that excites you (and one that sums up the story beautifully);
  • A B-E-A-utiful cover - seriously though, tell me you don't want this bad boy (girl?) sitting on your shelf;
  • Characters that leap off the pages and into your hearts;
  • A story that will live in your head and your heart for years to come;
  • It covers some really important and sensitive issues but it doesn't detract from the Brighton setting, the memorable characters and the pulse-pounding story;
  • Did I mention it's se in Brighton? BRIGHTON;
  • It will break and destroy you;
  • It will make you laugh out loud and possibly cry;
  • It's my joint favourite 2016 read so far this year (along with Lisa Heathfield's Paper Butterflies).

I can already see this on the Carnegie and Waterstones Children's Book Prize shortlists for 2017. Do you really need anymore convincing? Get a copy, devour it and tweet me and Sara your thoughts.

Rating: 5/5 Stars  ★ ★ ★

Christopher Moore:

Christopher is a co-founder of the YAfictionados blog and is best known as the YAblooker. He is a twenty-five year old book blogger who has previously worked in marketing and consumer insight for various publishing houses and writes in his spare time. He loves to travel and will read anything YA-related and some general fiction and fantasy.

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