Published by Macmillan Children's Books (UK) on February 25th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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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.
Beautiful Broken Things had the potential to be great but, unfortunately, I was completely underwhelmed and frustrated with the story and its characters. While the book did have some good moments, I couldn’t get past the annoying characters and slow-moving plot to enjoy it.
In this book, we meet 16-year-old Caddy, a girl who thinks of herself as boring and dull because nothing exciting has ever happened in her life. Her older sister has bipolar disorder and her best friend, Rosie, has suffered the loss of a baby sister. Caddy wants to experience a Significant Life Event just like the two of them and she’s determined to have one before she turns 17. Enter Suzanne, a girl with a dark past. She’s quickly taken under Rosie and Caddy’s wing and they come a group of three. To Caddy, Suzanne is exciting and fun, and she finds herself immersed in Suzanne’s troubles before she knows it…
The main reason why I didn’t enjoy this book at all was because none of the characters were likeable. Caddy is probably the most frustrating, annoying and stupid main character I have ever encountered. She was under the impression that something tragic needed to happen to her in order for her to be interesting. Her obsession with having a Significant Life Event really got on my nerves at the beginning of the book. Why can’t people just be happy with the good life that they have? Caddy was also a very insecure character, and the way that she acted really frustrated me. It bothered me that she just couldn’t stop prying about everything and acting like she was entitled to know everything about her friends. She got angry when Rosie and Suzanne didn’t tell her things or when they lied to her about things that they didn’t want her to know about. She read people’s private notes and manipulated them into spilling their secrets before they were ready to share them. I just could not find a single thing that I liked about Caddy, so the book was really tough to get through.
I also wasn’t a fan of Suzanne and wasn’t enamoured with the mystery that surrounded her, like all the characters seemed to. I didn’t see what Caddy and Rosie saw in her because, to me, she just seemed like a very troubled teen. I don’t think there was anything special about Suzanne and she came across as a very typical troubled teenager who disobeys adults and sneaks out of the house every night. Rosie was probably my favourite character of the three but she also behaved in ways that I didn’t like. She was very hot and cold when it came to her friendship with Suzanne. There were times when she was very chummy with her and other times when she just didn’t seem to care about her at all. Overall, I couldn’t connect with any of the main cast of characters in this book and, being a very character-driven story, not a lot could have redeemed it for me.
The plot of this book was quite predictable, especially if you’ve read a lot of contemporary novels. It was a classic “goody-two-shoes who wants to be interesting befriends troubled girl and does stupid things until something significant happens to her” plot. It felt like something that I’ve read many times before and it just didn’t seem fresh. There also wasn’t as much character development as I would have liked, for such a story. The resolution of the book was more about Suzanne than it was about Caddy, and I was just kind of disappointed with that. There were some good friendship elements in the novel but it was just far too dramatic at times for me to handle. I liked that the author explored the negative aspects of friendship but a lot of what I saw in the book was the three girls being mean to each other and being jealous of the friendship between the other two girls. The friendships just weren’t very healthy, and while I do see what the author was trying to do, it could have been explored further.
The pace of the book overall was quite slow. It was a complete snooze for the first 200 pages and the remaining 100 pages featured Caddy being a complete idiot. She was pretty much helping Suzanne self-destruct, while doing the same thing to herself. She also felt no remorse at being caught doing things she wasn’t supposed to be doing. Basically, the book either made me bored or uncomfortable with what was happening.
I was disappointed with Beautiful Broken Things. The characters were dislikeable and the plot wasn’t very original. I felt no connection with the characters and couldn’t relate to any of their thoughts and actions. The book just needed more depth, in my opinion, and overall I just found it to be lacking.
Rating: 2 out of 5
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing a review copy of the book!
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