Beautiful Broken Things by [Barnard, Sara]

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books; Main Market Ed. edition (11th February 2016)

My review

We meet Caddy who, in her own eyes is very ordinary. Too ordinary! Living in a nice house with a Dad who is a Doctor and a Mum who works with the Samaritans. She goes to a private all girls school, which she knows costs a fortune, and she wants for nothing. Other than a more interesting life.

As she turns 16 she vows that this will be the year she will find a proper boyfriend, lose her virginity and experience a “Significant Life Event”. She shares this goal with her best friend, Rosie. She has been best friends with Rosie for years and they are still the best of friends, despite attending different high schools. They tell each other everything and spend all of their spare time together. That is until Suzanne comes along. Suzanne attends Rosie’s school and they become close, much to Caddy’s annoyance. She’s not used to sharing her best friend. However, over time, she too becomes close to Suzanne. Suzanne is exciting. She seems to not care about school or anything really. For Caddy, Suzanne is exactly what she needs to bring her out of her shell. However, Suzanne has a painful past and one she’s likely to never get over. She obviously needs more help than she is receiving and I felt so sorry for her, despite her destructive behaviour.

As a parent, I could totally sympathise with Caddy’s parents. What parent would want their 16 year old daughter sneaking out in the middle of the night? We don’t want our well behaved children being led astray by so called bad influences. Their reaction to things that go on throughout the story was very believable for me. As much as I respect my children’s right to choose their own friends, I would certainly have something to say if their behaviour put them at any risk.

However, this story does highlight just how we never know what someone else might be going through and that their reckless actions can be a cry for help.

It was interesting how the dynamics of the friendship between Caddy, Rosie and Suzanne shifted over such a short time. Rosie soon became the jealous one as Caddy and Suzanne became close, but this jealousy turned to concern as Caddy took more and more risks just to spend time with Suzanne. I felt sorry for Rosie then as feeling left out is awful.

It was hard to guess where the story might lead. My heart was breaking for Suzanne and I truly hoped she would get the support she needed to start building a new, positive life for herself.

I could totally see why Caddy was drawn to Suzanne. At such an impressionable age, a lot of teenagers are trying to fit in and be what they see as interesting. No-one wants to be the boring one.

They’re having a great time until an accident happens during one of their many middle of the night adventures, and their friendship changes forever.

Beautiful Broken Things is so beautifully written, I was drawn in from the very beginning and it didn’t let me go until the very last page. It’s a very powerful story about friendship, family, child abuse and mental illness. It’s aimed at a teenage/YA audience, but honestly, I have thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult. It is most definitely a book that will stay with me and one I will happily recommend.

Many thanks to the author and publisher for approving my request on Netgalley.

Buy your copy here – Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

Description

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.

About the author

Sara lives in Brighton and does all her best writing on trains. She loves books, book people and book things. She has been writing ever since she was too small to reach the “on” switch on the family Amstrad computer. She gets her love of words from her dad, who made sure she always had books to read and introduced her to the wonders of secondhand book shops at a young age.

Sara is trying to visit every country in Europe, and has managed to reach 13 with her best friend. She has also lived in Canada and worked in India.

Sara is inspired by what-ifs and people. She thinks sad books are good for the soul and happy books lift the heart. She hopes to write lots of books that do both. BEAUTIFUL BROKEN THINGS is her first book and a dream come true.

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