Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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.
A huge thank you to Bea Cross and Macmillan’s Children’s Books/MyKindaBook for the copy of this book!
First things first, the cover is GORGEOUS – it can be hard to tell from the internet, but the cover is a beautiful dark teal, with gold and rose-gold detailing.
Beautiful Broken Things is the story of Caddy (Cadnam), a teenage girl who feels like nothing interesting every happens to her – and desperately wants to be interesting. She’s been best friends with Rosie for years – despite Caddy going to the local private school, and Rosie attending state school. They spend hours on the phone each night, and are virtually inseparable. Then Rosie meets Suzanne at school, and Rosie and Caddy’s friendship starts to change – and Suzanne’s secrets start to be revealed.
I’ve long said that friendships are often neglected in YA – the classic Mary Sue who meets the boy of their dreams at the tender age of 15 and quickly eliminate all other aspects of their lives is a character most of us have probably met more than once. When discussing whether YA is an accurate and realistic reflection of real life, the lack of meaningful friendships is a topic that often comes up. The vast majority of teenagers do not, in fact, meet the love of their life at 15 (who often just so happens to be a vampire/zombie/werewolf). They do, however, usually have at least one friend, whoever that might be. This is a book that focuses on female friendship, and the drama and jealousy that often occurs between teenage girls (and probably teenage boys, for that matter)
It’s not just the topic of female friendship which features in Beautiful Broken Things, the book also features mental health issues and abuse. These topics are becoming more featured in YA, but we still have a long way to go, and BBT treats these issues with care.
One thing I loved is the lack of romance. It seems, nowadays, that a book isn’t complete without an earth-shattering romance, when, realistically, a lot of teenagers (including myself) don’t come face-to-face with one – but complicated friendships are much more common. I’d like to see more books stand without a romance, especially when a romance feels forced or unnecessary. Less romance, please! (If you’re looking for another romance-less YA novel, Radio Silence by Alice Oseman is a great read)
Overall, Beautiful Broken Things is a pioneering, realistic, relatable tale of female friendship, and I can’t wait to read Sara Barnard’s future novels.
Have you read Beautiful Broken Things? What did you think? Comment below or tweet me at @annalisebooks!