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.
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I have no words to describe how much I loved Beautiful Broken Things. It captures the messy, nitty gritty reality of a teenager’s life. It was a breath of fresh air in a world full of contemporaries where it’s all about love and finding that perfect guy. Beautiful Broken Things focuses on the ups and downs of teenage friendship. And it tells no white lies. Friendships can be messy. Best friends fight and argue, but that doesn’t make them bad friends, which is one the important things this novel portrays. Friendships are often overlooked in YA, in favour of romance and those that do feature tend to be flat and unrealistic.
I loved the dynamic between Caddy, Suzanne and Rosie. At different points throughout the novel, I could relate to each of them. Any teenage girl that says she hasn’t experienced at least some of these girl’s feelings is lying. That’s one thing I loved about this novel, I could relate to the girls, even when they were being frankly quite horrible. Every fight they had I feel as if I have already had with my friends, but at the end of the day, they were still friends. I find in YA, friendships tend to either be perfect or completely terrible, resulting in the friendships ending. I appreciated the realistic balance that this book portrayed, no friendship is perfect and they all involve working for.
Regarding the issue tackled in this book, which is abuse, I think it is handled very sensitively and carefully, which is really important as this is a difficult topic that shouldn’t be taken lightly. This book mainly focuses of after effects of the person who has been abused but it also looks at why abuse isn’t stopped or reported, which I found really interesting. Despite the fact that her brother never stopped the abuse, he loved her and she loved him, which is something I find a bit tricky to get my head around. This book looks at the often forgotten impacts of abuse on young people, such as having to move to live with another relative, not wanting to tell new friends and still being in contact with your family. These are aspects of abuse I and I’m sure many others have never considered so it was really interesting that this is what Sara decided to write about.
Moving on to the different families portrayed in the novel. First off, we have Suzanne’s family, where her Dad abused her, but her Mum and brother did nothing to try and stop but still love her and she loves them. Then you have her aunt, who she stays with for the duration of the novel who seems to care about her, but by the end of the book is sending Suzanne into care, claiming she is too hard work. There is also Caddy’s family, her parents who are protective and try to shield her from everything, discouraging her friendship with Suzanne becuase they think she’s a bad influence. You also have Caddy’s sister Tarin, who seems to be a wise soul who cares about Caddy and her friends and wants the best for them. She has her own back story though and I’d absolutely love a novel all about her. Despite being a minor character, she is one of my favourites now I think about it. I loved the range of different familial relationships shown in this book, which is yet another thing to applaud Sara on.
Overall, I’m so pleased this was my first ever ARC. I absolutely loved reading it and am super happy to award it with five stars.