Review: Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

beautiful broken things

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 realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

Where to begin with this book? I could barely put it down – the story just flowed so beautifully that it was difficult to find a good place to stop reading! I loved that the focus of this book was friendship; there were a few romantic interests included, but they were not a main part of the plot, and linked into feelings between the friends.

It also covered the very important topic of abuse and violence in families. Suzanne was a victim of abuse from her stepfather, but within the novel she was also angry with the rest of her family, and makes the point that they did nothing to prevent it, which was something I’d never considered before. Sara also wrote a post on her blog about why Suzanne never went to the police, another aspect which I hadn’t thought about before. These ideas help to challenge thoughts that lead to victim blaming, which is why I think this book is significant – it can help to be a positive force for good and understanding.

I loved Caddy, the protagonist, as not only was she kind and well-intentioned, she was human too. She brought Suzanne flowers on her birthday, and spent time with her at night when she needed a friend. However, she was initially jealous of Suzanne, as she had struck up a friendship with Caddy’s long term best friend, Rosie. She felt reluctant to let go of Suzanne, even though this was the only way for Suzanne to get the help she needed for her mental health, but accepted that it was how things had to be.

You could see how much the girls all cared for one another, but you could also see how slowly Suzanne’s influence began to have a negative impact on Caddy, building up to the novel’s ending, and acting as the catalyst for greater change. The way in which Caddy could be influenced helped bring her to life as a character, and showed her flaws.

Beautiful Broken Things was wonderfully written, had fantastic characters who were rounded and consistent, and discussed a tricky topic in a sensitive way, as well as portraying the strength of friendships – so I would definitely recommend this book!

Beautiful Broken Things was published on the 11th of February 2016 by Macmillan Children’s Books. You can find out more about Beautiful Broken Things on Goodreads, or purchase a copy on AmazonBeautiful Broken Things was also selected for the Zoella Book Club, which you can find out more about here.

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