Thanks to Pan MacMillan, I am delighted to announce that I am going to be taking part in their Young Adult Book Blog Tour for 2016. The first book of the year is the debut contemporary fiction novel by British author; Sara Barnard called Beautifully Broken Things; which I am here to share with you today.
Wherever you are in the world, grab a cuppa, get comfy and let’s see what this book is all about…
Caddy and Rosie are best friends, and have been inseparable for ten years. While Rosie is confident, interesting and sarcastic, Caddy is the polar opposite in every way; and their differences forged a bond that they have no idea is about to be tested in a very big way.
Suzanne is beautiful, mysterious and haunted by the demons from her past. It is no surprise that she and Rosie are immediately taken by each other and the two become friends instantly, leaving Caddy feeling like an outcast. However, as Suzanne’s past is revealed and things start to unravel alliances shift, and Caddy is absorbed by the trouble that follows Suzanne everywhere she goes. As the two cling to one another, they leave a messy trail in their wake and neither of the girls could foresee the devastating consequences of their recklessness, that the world around them saw coming.
Let me start off by saying that my reading was at a total stand still this month. That was until I picked up this book and became so engrossed by the story that I could not put it down. It was a lovely surprise.
Beautiful Broken Things takes on the dynamics of female friendship and the changes people go through when outside forces come into play. Sara Barnard vividly captures the complexities of female relationships by bringing in a new character to disturb the balance that Rosie and Caddy had as best friends. At first we see that Caddy has a hard time accepting Suzanne and she feels as if this new comer is stealing her best friend away. This situation reveals a whole new side to the nice, passive girl that Caddy is supposed to be, and her jealousy brings forth someone entirely different. But as time goes on and she warms up to Suzanne, we see innocent, naive Caddy is looking for something she believes she can get from her new friend that Rosie just cannot provide. And in turn, Suzanne latches on to Caddy’s friendship, in a way that becomes almost suffocating. Because of the new friendship between Caddy and Suzanne, we start to realize that these two are actually reckless together. While Suzanne might be considered a bad influence, Caddy can be seen as an enabler; which makes these two a frightening combination.
As the story starts to build and we learn more about what Suzanne’s been hiding, we also see that Caddy is desperate to break out of the shell she’s created for herself, and destroy the image of a picture perfect girl she’s been expected to be all her life. While all this unfolds, you get the sense that something is going to happen, and it is going to change everything. Something with devastating consequences that will alter the lives of everyone involved. Sara Barnard managed to get this across flawlessly. And the anticipation for this tipping point never really goes away, which is what made this book so gripping for me.
While I was reading this book, there were certain points in the story where I became annoyed, and most of these times it was because of something that Caddy said or did. I had to remind myself that I was reading a Young Adult book that was about 3 teenage girls who were all facing their own personal battles. When I look back at my teenage years, I cannot help but cringe at how petty and self absorbed I was, and I think that each and every one of us have similar cringe worthy moments that will forever be seared into memory no matter how hard we try to remove them. This is what makes the story and the characters so realistic to me. During those frustrating teenage years, life can be confusing. You’re in that awkward phase where you’re trying to figure out who and what you are, which may lead to moments where you haven’t got a clue what it is that you want. I didn’t always understand or agree with the behavior of the girls and there were quite a few times where I felt like screaming “WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT RIGHT NOW???”. However, all this confusion and frustration played a vital part in the telling of the story – it makes one remember what an uncomfortable time that is for all of us.
Overall I think this book is a pretty good reflection of what it can be like to be a young adult. It touches on so many important, difficult issues in a realistic, not-too-over-the-top way that I came to enjoy and appreciate. I can totally understand why it’s part of the Pan MacMillan YA Book Blog Tour, and therefore it should be no surprise that I recommend you read this soon.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Pan MacMillan as part of the YA Book Blog Tour for 2016.