Tuesday 9 October 2018

BROKEN THINGS by Lauren Oliver

It's been five years since Mia and Brynn murdered Summer Marks, their best friend, in the woods. 

Increasingly obsessed with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn and by their fan-fiction imagining of its sequel, the girls were drawn by an undertow of fantasy into the magical world they'd created. But eventually, their delusions turned sick, and the Shadow, Lovelorn's central evil, began to haunt them. 

Or so the story goes. The only thing is: they didn't do it. 

Brynn and Mia have both found different ways to hide from their notoriety, seeking refuge from a world that hates them-a world that will never feel magical, or safe, ever again. 

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 past and present, fiction and reality, begin again to intertwine, Brynn and Mia must confront painful truths they tried for so long to bury-and face the long shadow of memory that has, all this time, been waiting. 

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this very intriguing book, and was instantly hooked.

Summer died five years ago. Her two friends, Mia and Brynn, plus her boyfriend, Owen, were blamed for the grisly murder. Except, there wasn't enough evidence to convict any of them. The police fumbled the investigation, the small town judged them harshly, but all three went unpunished.

The law might not have punished the trio, but the fallout of what happened that day followed each of the kids like a sticky shadow. Ruined their young lives in different ways. Brynn spends her days in and out of rehab. Mia is dealing with her mother's hoarding by retreating into herself. And Owen has come back to sell the family home tying him to the town and its memories.

The secrets are everywhere, kept by everyone. But the truth, that's a lot harder to find, especially when it's deeply tied to a work of fiction...

Yikes. What a great story! 

This book is so many things--creepy, dramatic, mysterious, intriguing. It's also a very messy and disturbing story about three young friends who love and hate each other in equal amounts. It's a tale of children growing up, of childish games leading into real danger, and the way an unsolved murder puts the lives of the ones who stayed behind on pause.

Told in the alternating first-person POV of Brynn and Mia, the story starts five years after the events that turned one girl into an addict of addiction, and the other into a stuck version of herself. I especially enjoyed how well the Now and Then complemented each other, as well as the Lovelorn excerpts that added to the overall narrative.

I loved how Brynn and Mia's journey, into finding out what really happened to Summer, was ultimately the only way for these friends to break out of the self-imposed prison sentence they each placed on their own lives. Summer wasn't the only one whose life ended five years ago, but by searching for the answers, they hope to reach some level of personal closure.

Broken Things is such a great, twisty book. It's also quite unique, because the story blends the awful events these three girls went through, with the work of fiction dominating their lives. The way reality and fantasy is blended so well they became reflections of each other added a freaky edge to the narrative and inevitable tragedy. 

The outcome was both shocking and unexpected. And there are also some uncomfortable themes, issues and scenes some people might find hard to read.

But my favourite thing of all is how it actually ends, because it mirrors something that keeps coming up in the book. But I can't tell you what, because it would be a total spoiler.

I really enjoyed this!

Broken Things, October 2018, ISBN 9781444786859, Hodder & Stoughton

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