Publication Date: Feb 11th 2016 from Pan Macmillan Childrens.
Here’s my theory on Significant Life Events: everyone has them, but some have more than others, and how many you have affects how interesting you are, how many stories you have to tell, that kind of thing.
I was still waiting for my first one.
After yet another typical summer where nothing of any significance happens, Caddy vows that now she’s sixteen this year will be different; she’ll get a boyfriend (a real one), lose her virginity and experience a Significant Life Event. If only Caddy knew what was just around the corner – a whirlwind of wild spirit and fury with a dazzling smile and sad eyes by the name of Suzanne – and a significant life event that no one could have predicted.
Beautiful Broken Things was a gorgeous read – totally heartbreaking, totally heartwarming, happy, sad and all the things inbetween. Yep up and down like a yo-yo I was during the reading of this one. And boy did I cry great big fat tears at the end. I’m going to miss Caddy, Rosie, Suzanne et al.
Caddy and Rosie have been friends forever – despite going to different schools they have their own rhymes and rhythms and know each other inside and out. Enter new girl Suzanne – Rosie introduces her into the mix and things start to change – Suzanne is bold, beautiful and funny but also damaged – and Caddy gets caught up in it all in unexpected ways.
The theme of female teenage relationships is examined within “Beautiful Broken Things” as are the subjects of mental health and abusive situations. Sara Barnard captures it all pitch perfectly in a deeply engaging character study with some wonderfully resonant prose that enthralls – these girls, their changing relationships and challenges upon each other are absolutely authentic and absolutely absorbing. I simply could not put it down. I went through the entire emotional spectrum whilst reading it and came away with a sense of both melancholy and happiness, in fact I’d find it hard to separate one from the other right now.
The author herself in her notes afterwards calls it “A love story without a romance” and that is spot on – it is a tale of the deepest friendships we know – the mutual support and sometimes, even if not intentional, the more destructive fallout of feeling things so deeply at a time we can be impulsive. It shows us aftermath and consequences and is probably one of the most intense yet realistic stories I have read that speaks to mental health issues in young adults. Suzanne is an incredible character, deeply sympathetic – also in a lot of ways unlikeable yet you would want to know her. Rosie and Caddy’s deep seated friendship is truly a beautiful one that you absolutely believe in and even as the foundations falter you sense that it will never fall.
Overall this was a simply remarkable story – full of heart and soul and with characters that will remain with you, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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Happy Reading Folks!