Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: February 25th 2016
Caddy and Rosie have always been inseparable. But that was before Suzanne.
Now Caddy wants to be more than just the quiet one. She wants something to happen.
I was brave.
Suzanne is trying to escape her past and be someone different. Someone free.
She was reckless.
But sometimes downward spirals have a momentum of their own.
We were trouble.
And no one can break your heart like a best friend.
Beautiful Broken Things is making waves in the book community, highlighting themes surrounding friendship, mental health, domestic violence, and trust. Sara Barnard brings these all together to bring a truly gripping, witty, and humorous novel that leaves you reminiscing about your teenage years whilst showcasing the darker side of friendship and the events that people like to keep secret, building themselves a new life off the back of hardship. Barnard also brings to the fore the influence friends have on each other, and the good and bad choices that peer pressure can result in.
Barnard’s style of writing and the language used truly brings to life teenage friendships and the varying stages that every person goes through. The writing is quick, witty, and humorous making me laugh out loud and were reflective of the conversations I would have as a teenager, being sarcastic with biting remarks that were a sign of true friendship. Barnard brings to life the characters with her writing showing flawed yet realistic personalities that rub and click together and reminding the audience that, though teenagers will make mistakes and aren’t as knowledgeable about the world, they are still smart in their ways.
Underneath all of that is the darker side, the themes of mental illness and domestic violence which Barnard handles really well. Barnard doesn’t throw them in your face but subtly implements them into the novel, the characters aware at all times that there is this character who has suffered; a character who is flawed and defined by these circumstances. It is an awareness that transfers to the reader, and even though it isn’t always mentioned, you are consciously aware of it in the threads of the narrative. Barnard asks all the right questions as Caddy and Suzanne’s friendship develops, slowly bringing these themes into the novel to become more defining in their understanding of each other and helping their friendship to progress further. In the defining moments of this novel, Barnard shows the audience the deep-seated effects these events can have on someone so young and the way these can affect someone’s ability to handle friendship and trust.
Overall, I really loved the novel and themes it highlights. The characters and their friendships are truly central to the plot and the development of both is brilliant. Barnard brings a lot of feeling through the narrative and you find yourself drawn to the characters as if they were your real friends and the roundup of the novel brings all of the emotions together.