Beautiful Broken Things:
A Beautifully Crafted And Powerful Read

Caddy just turned 16, and in the following year she wants to reach three goals: get a boyfriend, lose her virginity, and to experience a Significant Life Event. Only one of the three events is going to happen ...

Roz introduces Caddy to the new girl from school: Suzanne. She appears funny, witty, and quickly befriends Roz. She is cool and confident, everything that Caddy feels she isn't. It soon becomes evident that Suzanne is not just the cool girl who moved here. At times she acts erratic, never talks about the reason she had to move here, and other times she won't leave the flat. Soon Caddy discovers that this behaviour comes from mental problems caused by year long domestic violence.

However, not everyone is aware of this, and so Suzanne is branded as a trouble maker, while Caddy is warned to stay away from her. She does not listen. As Suzanne and Caddy become closer friends, they move away from Roz. Caddy's parents approve less and less of her behaviour until one night everything goes awry.

I considered for a while if I should review this book and how I should tackle it, since it is very powerful and complex. When you pick it up, you are tempted to think that it is an easy teen-flick. However, it tackles a lot of heavy topics: suicide, depression, and trauma.

While reading, you can tell that Barnard spent a lot of time crafting the plot and the characters. Suzanne, Roz and Caddy are not two dimensional characters. Instead they have complex reasons why they act like they do - just like real people would. As the story progresses you can see how especially Caddy grows up and learns to cope with the "real" world. Thus it gives the story a realer feeling.

Suzanne's trauma cannot be cured by the "power of friendship" and neither is she a stereotypical manic pixie girl. The ending reflects this sentiment as well. Barnard steps away from producing unnecessary drama for the shock value, or even a cheesy happy ending.

Another positive aspect was that there was no unwanted and unneeded love story. In stories like these it is easy to fall into the trap of having a love interest that can magically cure all mental problems. Admittedly this can be done with class and seem natural - but more often it is not. While Suzanne has a boyfriend at some point in the story, he is barely mentioned and only a device to show what motivates her actions.

Even though, the book has a small slump in the middle, it is one of the best reads I held in my hands in January. The story is well balanced and beautifully crafted. "Beautiful Broken Things" shows the strength and complexity of friendship but also its undoings. It even touches on topics other authors wouldn't dare to get within a ten-foot pole.

On top of this, it has the prettiest cover of the year.

Beautiful Broken Thingsby Sara Barnard 
Published2016by Macmillan Children's Books
Pages: 328
Goodreads:Add to shelf


  1. Sounds wonderful. I'm dying to get my hands on this now.

  2. This sounds great! And I know you shouldn't judge a book by the cover, but the cover looks pretty great too. So pretty! x



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