Review: Sara Barnard – Beautiful Broken Things

Beautiful Broken Things
Sara Barnard

Caddie has never had any significant life events. No boyfriends, no sex, and nothing exciting. When the broken Suzanne comes into her life, her friendships and experiences are going to change. Her best friend Rosie is going to be pushed out of the way by a girl who seems larger than life.

25437747I’m going to be honest here, the first couple of chapters were so slow that I considered putting it back on the shelf for another time. But I kept persevering, and I was rewarded with emotional torrents that could pluck heartstrings while also giving a harsh relativity to the main characters.

Caddie is a selfish teenager sometimes. She wonders to herself, if I do this thing… oh wait, she didn’t actually think about it at all, she just did it. And now people are annoyed at her. She makes plenty of bad choices, and doesn’t seem to know how to stand up to people. Sometimes she was so dumb I wanted to slap her.

I’m not sure anyone was taking Suzanne seriously enough. She writes things off as jokes, make fun of her own mortality, but underneath she does need help. Caddie tries to provide that, once she knows what is going on, but Suzanne doesn’t want to accept help. Considering that Caddie’s parents have had to deal with Tarin being bipolar (which is presented in an entirely blaze way), they don’t seem to get depression when they see it.

For all the worry about where Suzanne is, adults are hopeless and the final chapters of the book are heartrending. What is wrong with you people? Why can you not see these things? Isn’t it obvious that something major is wrong?

There was a lot of underage drinking going on in this novel, plus some weed. I don’t have a problem with that at all though, it certainly fit with what I know about teenage girls. As old as Caddie’s parents are, you would sure hope they might have learnt something about parenting. The chip on Caddie’s shoulder about going to a private school has to stem from them, and I can understand where she is coming from.

This is on par with Cam Girl for me. One depicts codependency as horrible, the other as something that can be respected. Two novels about how friendships can break apart and be put back together, but one as a teenage fiction and the other as brilliant, accessible teenage fiction.

4 stars from me.


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