Beautiful Broken Things
Author: Sara Barnard
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Originally Published: February 11th 2016
Format: Paperback (322 pages)
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.
My Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Beautiful Broken Things is a story of teenage friendship, more specifically female friendship. This is originally what drew my attention to this book (aside from the beautiful cover, that is). I am a sucker for a book about female friendships as I think they are so dynamic. This book certainly did not disappoint on that front.
This is a story about best friends Caddy and Rosie, whose lives change dramatically when Rosie introduces new girl Suzanne into the mix. It doesn’t take long for Caddy and Rosie to realise there is a lot more to Suzanne than meets the eye and this goes a long way to explaining some of Suzanne’s extreme behaviours. Caddy and Suzanne embark on a friendship which has life changing consequences for the both of them.
I both liked and disliked the characters in this book. I liked Rosie a lot and felt really sympathetic towards her during the later parts of this book when she was watching Caddy spiral out of control under Suzanne’s influence. Rosie made some courageous decisions in this book, although she also made some problematic ones too. Suzanne was probably my favourite because there was such a depth to her character. I thought her character was very realistic and that, given the circumstances behind her move to Brighton, quite a lot of her behaviours were understandable. I thought she was very well portrayed.
Caddy caused me a few issues. On one hand I totally sympathised with her when she was feeling left out towards the beginning, the way in which she so desperately thought she was helping Suzanne when really she was enabling her. These are things that teenagers do and feel every day. What I couldn’t get my head around was the way in which she described herself as ‘boring’ compared to Rosie, whose baby sister had died, or her own sister, who has bipolar. This just didn’t sit well with me.
I really, really liked the way the friendship between Caddy, Rosie and Suzanne was written. I identified with elements of their friendship in such a strong way and I think at some point most of us could sympathise with each of them. This made them realistic and it was nice to read the friendship of a trio and the added elements this can bring.
From a plot point of view, not a huge amount happens for about 85% of this book. I knew that we were leading towards something big happening, but by the time we got there I was almost finished with the book and it felt a bit rushed. Saying that, I did fly through this book and it did keep me interested so it’s not all bad. I found the ending of this story very emotional and it was with tears in my eyes that I closed this book and said goodbye to the characters.
“But people we love come and go, Caddy. That doesn’t mean we loved them any less at the time.”
“Everyone says apologizing works, but it never really does. Not quickly enough anyway.”
It was great to read a book so focused on the dynamics of female friendship. I am sure that there are a lot more out there but I thought Barnard did a great job of capturing the difficulties of having a friendship in a trio, both the ups and the downs. Very well written.
Have you read Beautiful Broken Things? What did you think?
What books do you recommend that explore friendship?