Rating: 4.5 stars
“Before we were the Monsters of Brickhouse Lane… — we were just girls…”
Broken Things is a standalone YA thriller novel with multiple perspectives. Five years after their best friend was murdered, people still believe Brynn and Mia did it, even though the cops couldn’t prove it. The three girls were obssessed with a fantasy novel called The Way Into Lovelorn and it turns out Summer was killed in a similar way to a Lovelorn ritual. Now, they are trying to get by, but the past won’t give them much room to move on when new informations on what happened show up.
I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it mostly in audiobook and it was very engaging. To be honest that was a surprise because when I first heard of this book I had zero intention of reading it. That is, until I heard the premise and went like “wow that actually sounds right up my alley”. I had never read anything by Lauren Oliver, but this one made me look more optimistically at her other books.
Like in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, this book had bits and pieces from both The Way Into Lovelorn and from Return to Lovelorn – which is a self-insert fanfic the girls wrote as a sequel to the original book – inbetween chapters. Personally, I loved that, and I felt it gave the story a nice and almost fantastical touch. The whole obssession with Lovelorn also reminded me of the world of Fillory from The Magicians (the tv show, I haven’t read the books yet).
“In books, secret worlds are accessible by doors or keys or other physical objects. But Lovelorn was not such a world, and appeared at whim and only when it felt like it, with a subtle change like the slow shifting of afternoon to evening.”
I liked the main characters, it was interesting seeing how people’s judment and harassment over the murder affected their lives. Brynn is more hot tempered and her way of dealing with things was to fake being an addict in order to stay freely in rehab so she wouldn’t have to handle her family or outside society (oh and she’s a lesbian). Meanwhile, Mia barely leaves her house, where she lives with a mother with serious compulsive hoarding issues (like in that reality tv show Hoarders where people can’t get rid of ANYTHING including piles of garbage). She is a shy girl who’s homeschooled now and shares a tutor with her only friend, a girl named Abby who is a popular fat omnisexual beautystagrammer.
Also, Summer was basically Alison DiLaurentis from Pretty Little Liars, but a poor and “lives with a foster family” version. You know, pretty, manipulative, the queen bee who is both loved and hated by people at the same time – including her friends.
Even though I enjoyed the book, as usual, the murderer reveal didn’t really surprise me. I honestly am used to that by now, but I still can’t tell if every murder mystery I read is somewhat predictable or if I should just become a freaking detective already. But it’s okay, this book still gave me that “don’t want to put it down” feeling and that’s all I could ask for at this point. Also, I’d like to point out that this book switches between the perspectives of Brynn and Mia and that can get a bit confusing in the audiobook because there are three narrators – one that reads the Lovelorn stuff between the chapters, one that narrates only Brynn‘s chapters, and one for only Mia‘s -, so it’s just one person doing the voices in each chapter and both narrators read the characters differently.
This was a good experience for me, and I hope it is for you too in case you decide to pick it up. I’ll be more open to Lauren Oliver‘s books from now on.
So have you read this book? Would you like to? Let me know in the comments. 😀