ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.
Three friends – one dead, the other two suspected of the murder. Lauren Oliver’s newest YA mystery delves into friendship, fandom and small town prejudice.
It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods.
Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.
The only thing is: they didn’t do it.
On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous.
TW: Descriptions of violence, animal killing, pedophilia, bullying, homophobia, toxic friendship
I’ve read the Delirium trilogy, liked it; I have read Vanishing Girls and loved it, but it’s been a couple of years since the last time I’ve read a Lauren Oliver book, so I was pretty excited when I got approved for this new book of hers. I was absolutely ready to love it.
But, maybe, I expected much more than it could give me.
Broken Things was a satisfying, though unsurprising, read. Told in Brynn and Mia’s alternating perspectives, Oliver does a good job handling her characters and their relationship with one another. Summer, though is only seen through the eyes of her friends, still remained a crucial part of the story. These three best friends’ turbulent, bordering on obsession, dynamics carry most of the story’s weight, and their half I enjoyed reading about.
The mystery part though, the part that I actually signed up for, traveled through a downward path. It started out great with that intriguing prologue, but once it hit the middle, the story just started to feel a bit contrived – bloated, even – and the pace at which the story was told totally didn’t help it. The slow pace added to the predictable plot just didn’t do much for me.
My plot-related quibble aside, the rest of this novel is actually good. Each character were distinctly defined – meek Mia, brash Brynn and vibrant Summer – and that made them seem more alive for me. Mia, though, is my favorite character. Personally, I think she made the biggest leap in terms of character development. She transformed into an assertive, self-assured young woman by the end of the book, a far cry from the meek and quiet girl described in the beginning.
Overall, Broken Things was a good book, some readers may even love it. It just wasn’t what I was looking for, though I enjoyed most of it. Still, give it a shot especially if you’re into YA mysteries.
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About the Author:
LAUREN OLIVER is the co-founder of media and content development company Glasstown Entertainment, where she serves as the president of production. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of the YA novels Replica, Vanishing Girls, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages. The film rights to both Replica and Lauren’s bestselling first novel, Before I Fall, were acquired by AwesomenessTV; Before I Fall is now a major motion picture and opened in theaters March of 2017.
Her novels for middle grade readers include The Spindlers, Liesl & Po, and the Curiosity House series, co-written with H.C. Chester. She has written one novel for adults, Rooms.
A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU’s MFA program, Lauren Oliver divides her time between New York, Connecticut, and a variety of airport lounges.