by Sara Barnard
Release: 11th February 2016
Genre: Contemporary, UKYA
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
"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 realizes, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own."
Beautiful Broken Things has everything that I’ve been craving in YA Contemporary for the last few years. It’s a love story like no other between three best friends without a serious love interest in sight. Finally, a YA Contemporary has come along where the most powerful relationship is between friends. It’s a book that showcases the intensity of friendship in your teens and how it has the power to both destroy and rebuild.
The book follows Caddy, and where there’s Caddy there’s also her best friend Rosie and that’s how it’s always been. When a new school year begins, Caddy is expecting another uneventful year of getting good grades, hanging out with Rosie and meeting the expectations of her parents. Caddy’s life is safe and ordinary and she’s yet to experience a significant life event. But sometimes things happen in your life beyond your control…
When Rosie befriends beautiful and mysterious new girl Suzanne, Caddy feels like she has been replaced. Gradually the twosome becomes a threesome and it’s a hard adjustment for Caddy to make.
Suzanne is a girl with a tragic past who’s trying to make a new life for herself after suffering years of physical abuse from her stepdad. But Suzanne has a tendency to self-destruct – will Caddy and Rosie get shattered in the fallout?
For me, what made Beautiful Broken Things shine was the honest portrayal of Caddy, Rosie and Suzanne’s friendship. I could see my own friendships and experiences reflected in the three girls and that made the book a very powerful and emotional read for me. The strength of the relationships was incredibly represented as this book shows what it means to be a best friend.
My favourite friendship was between Caddy and Rosie, which may come as a surprise to those who’ve read Beautiful Broken Things because it’s probably the quietest relationship in this book but to me it was the perfect representation of true, selfless, unbreakable friendship.
The mental health aspect was also beautifully handled. Abuse and trauma are topics very close to my heart and I thought that Sara Barnard did a great job showing the mental scars that are left after the abuse has stopped. Suzanne wasn’t the most likeable character but I still felt my heart breaking for her. I also loved how this book showed what it means to be a good friend to someone with a mental illness and how best to support them.
The ending to this book left me a beautiful broken mess! I wanted to hug my best friend and tell her what she means to me (and also scream at her to read this book!) There’s also a lot of hope to the ending and a strong message about loving someone unconditionally. I’d recommend Beautiful Broken Things to fans of Jennifer Niven and Holly Bourne and to anyone looking for a different sort of story about love.