How Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard left me feeling beautiful but broken

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Title: Beautiful Broken Things

Author: Sara Barnard

Purchase: Available in the UK and the US.

Overall rating: 4/5 stars

Great for: Lovers of contemporary YA with a twist

Themes: Friendship, coming-of-age, young adult, contemporary, mental health



Review: My poor heart!

This is the story of best friends Caddy and Rosie and what happens to their friendship when their ranks are infiltrated by new girl Suzanne. She is rebellious and restless. She is erratic and emotional. She is trouble and troubled. She promises the lives and friendships of all those around her will never be the same again.

On the surface, this seems a deceptively shallow and fluffy read. I had wrongly assumed the emphasis would be on boy drama and an overdose of teenage angst. In reality, this is actually a tragic and endearing account of how life progresses after a traumatic episode in someone’s life.

Although not kosher, the teenagers differing responses to their friend’s mysterious, traumatic past represents reality. They are just as unsure of how to react and respond as she is as unsure of how to process and confront, leading this to be a very painful and poignant read.

Caddy, our protagonist, is just a bystander to the trauma endured by new friend Suzanne, which just highlights the devastating fallout that plagues an individual with a tragic past. Just because their initial pain has passed, it doesn’t mean their lives return to normality. There is an important message here and how Barnard chose to tackle the social stigma relating to mental illness and a troubled past was outstanding. She handled these heart-rending subject matters gracefully, whilst relaying an important and profound message in the process – that you are not alone.

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