Sunday, September 30, 2018

ARC Review: Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Format: Bound, advance reader's edition
Source: HarperCollins*
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

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.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Murder, abuse, animal abuse, pedophilia, self harm, fat-shaming and violence

First of all, as you can see from my trigger warnings above, this book is messed up and it deals with a lot of uncomfortable topics. If any of these are things that you can't stomach in a book or are just something you are not comfortable reading about I highly advise you consider passing on this one. The book does deal with a murder of child and it goes into graphic details right in the first chapter. I'm not really squeamish and even I thought, "HOLY CRAP!" I found myself more bothered by the graphic animal abuse, and it did make me have to put the book down for a little bit. I also wasn't a big fan of all the fat-shaming when it came to the character of Abby. I liked Abby a lot, and it was really problematic how she was shamed in this book. These things made me rate this book a little lower than I think I normally would have. 

As a fan of true crime, this one definitely hooked me in right away, because I HAD to know who done it. I love a good cold case, but I also find them disappointing because I want to know who did it and I want there to be justice for the victim. In starting this book, I was really excited to solve this so Summer's ghost could finally be put to rest. The summary on the back of the bookk reminded me a lot about the Slenderman stabbings, so I wonder if the author was inspired by that story. Just thinking about that made me really want to get to the bottom on this mystery. I read a lot of other reviews where readers thought the killer/reveal was a little obvious, but not to me. I took extensive notes too, but I kept changing my mind on who I thought it was. At one point I even thought that maybe the girls were even lying to the reader. Clearly it's a good thing I never became a detective, because I would have been very bad at it! I liked that the killer was not who I expected at all since it challenged my preconceived notions about what type of person kills another person.

I liked that this book gave us both Brynn and Mia's perspectives from the current time and little snippets of their lives before Summer died. Those flashbacks were really hard to read, because that age sucks. I think I had some war flashbacks of middle school when I was reading them. Seriously, you could not pay me enough money to want to re-do middle school. Both Brynn and Mia seem to have a really hard time, but the person that makes it hard is the person that is supposed to be their best friend! Summer was a real Queen B with a Capital B if you know what I mean. She was horrible to everyone, but that doesn't mean she deserved what happened to her. She was a broken lonely girl that was just starting to find her identity, but when she was murdered she left her friends in a similar if not worst state. 

I think the thing that stuck with me the most is just how ostracized Brynn, Mia and Owen are from their town. Even though they were all acquitted and the case was never really solved, everyone in their town seems to think they know better. I think it's a really interesting commentary on people like me that are a little too obsessed with true crime and who spend too much time speculating on if a person who has been a acquitted is really innocent or not. It really says a lot about people that when they don't have a real answer to a mystery, they just blame the most obvious scapegoat. It definitely made me think about some things. 

In the end, I think the thing I liked the most about this novel is that while trying to just finally solve things once and for all, Brynn and Mia get to really see that they are two broken people that could have helped each other instead of abandoning each other. I really liked their renewed friendship, even though it was rocky and little toxic at first. I loved how they got their own kind of "scooby gang" to figure out the mystery and FINALLY have closure so they could move on with their lives. 

Broken Things is a dark novel, but it's a really engaging mystery that I DID NOT want to put down. If you are a fan of Lauren Oliver, or you haven't read any of her books yet, I would highly recommend this. A must for any true crime fans as well. 

*A copy of this bound advance reader's edition was sent to me via the publisher, this in no way effects my review.

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Happy Reads Everyone!