As per usual, if you haven’t read the book, look away now, as things here tend to get a little spoilery. Here is the link to my non-spoiler review on GoodReads, if you want to get a feel for the book without having it spoiled for you.
Broken Things – Lauren Oliver Published: October 2nd 2018 by Harper Collins
Firstly, I had to post both covers, the AUS cover on the left, although lovely to look at, I am saddened that I didn’t get the US version. Look at it, it is so much moodier and fits better with the story. Why can’t they just have one cover for everyone… Other than they would be less fun to collect!
Okay into the nitty gritty, if you haven’t read this book, this is your last chance to look away to avoid spoilers.
Wow this book. Wow the characters and wow just everything.
At first, I picked up this book, solely because it was a Lauren Oliver book, I didn’t know anything about it, other than she wrote it and it was about liars. Which seems to be a common theme in Young Adult Fiction at the moment. Anywho…
This story follows two friends who have had their lives torn apart by the death of their best friend. The death that they have been pegged for committing. The town they have lived in their whole lives turns against them, as do their friends, forcing them to move to home-school and to illicit drugs. Now, I have left a lot of plot from that brief summary, but you get the drift, they were accused of murdering their best friend and no one believes that they had nothing to do with it, other than each other and the boy who their dead friend was fooling around with.
This book does take quite a while to get going, very slow to start, but so, so worth it to be told the current story and the back story, before diving into the messy stuff, so if you are struggling with it, or you gave up on it due to this slowness, keep at it, you won’t be disappointed.
I in particular, love Brynne’s character. She is represented as this tough, rough, drug addict who doesn’t care what people think, but she is soft and sweet and undeniably concerned with how other people perceive her. But what I love the most about her character, is she always stays true to herself, even when things are tough or she feels like all hope is gone, she still is herself and I think that is something that we all can appreciate.
Let’s get to the elephant in the room, or the feeling of “hmm I have seen this relationship before”.. Let’s see…. Two completely different girls, from different worlds become best friends due to one, perky, blonde, stunning girl making them all into the best of friends, sounding familiar yet? This blonde girl is also super manipulative, has her finger in all of the pies and likes to play her two best friends against each other.. How about now? No? This blonde best friend also likes to tease her gay best friend saying “i know you want to kiss me”… Answer is, Pretty Little Liars. I feel like Summer from Broken Things is the spitting image of Allison DeLaurentis from Pretty Little Liars. I’m not saying she was copied or the story was copied, just that I am getting serious PLL vibes.
Summer is and was the glue that holds Brynne and Mia together, they were the common ground making their friendship, but she was also the reason they started to fall apart, to feel ashamed of the people they were. Summer made Brynne feel ashamed of her sexuality, Sumer went as far as to tell the whole school that Brynne was gay and that she had a crush on her and it made her uncomfortable, all the while, behind closed doors, was encouraging Brynne to test the waters with her feelings, even staging a kiss between them.
Summer and Mia’s relationship was more innocent in a way, it was more based on Summer giving Mia the opportunity to experience new things, try things she usually wouldn’t try. But Summer pushed Mia outside of her comfort zone and expected her to play along, and for the most part she did. But the fact that Summer was constantly pushing her, made Mia feel as though she wasn’t enough.
This book is such a psychological thriller, but not in the traditional sense. It constantly left me thinking about my teenage years, about the manipulations of my friends that I was blind to, or that I chose to ignore. It is a powerful book in that respect, it really makes you see and feel that this is a very real topic. But the other powerful thing within this book, for me, is that the person who did murder Summer, was a teacher. Someone who is respected and trusted in the community; someone who you would never suspect. But this teacher didn’t just murder her, she supported and helped her with her dyslexia, with writing her fanfiction – Return to Lovelorn.
In the beginning, I thought it was pretty darn cool that the protagonists were writing a fanfiction, it gives us readers some sense of reality within a book? Does that even make sense? I think what I am trying to say is, there are so many of us out there who write fanfic and sometimes feel a little scared to show it, that seeing fanfic being written into a book, makes it okay? Makes it something to be proud of and share? Anyway returning to Lovelorn (see what I did there?) Lovelorn itself is a creepy as heck book, that Summer is obsessed with, to the point that she ends up believing in it, in a dark and cultish way. It truly becomes her life.
Wrapping up, I loved this book, I loved its rawness, I loved the way it left me sitting on the edge of my seat and constantly questioning Summer’s motives. I loved that, although lying is a very popular topic in YA at the moment, this book made it original and created its own little pocket within the genre. I am a huge fan of psychological thrillers within YA fiction, so this book was right up my ally!
Have you read Broken Things? What are your thoughts?