Written by Morgan Matson
Expected Publication May 1st 2016
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From Morgan Matson, the bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone comes a feel good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.Future? A top tier medical school.Dad? Avoid him as much as possible, which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around.Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby, pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer premed internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all, working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?
So... You want to be a writer - Tips from Morgan Matson
It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Read a lot.
Practice makes perfect.
Pay attention to what you pay attention to
Have fun with it
Written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
Expected Publication May 16th 2016
Thank you to Text Publishing
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Nine year old Ada has never left her one room flat. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute, she sneaks out to join him.So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Miss Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take in the two children. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan, and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?
At last I understood what I was fighting, and why. And Man had no idea how strong a fighter I'd become.
A remarkable young lady who's story left me breathless and stole my heart.
The Final Verdict
Written by April Genevieve Tucholke
Magical Realism, Mystery, Young Adult
Published March 22nd 2016 by Dial Books
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Every story needs a hero. Every story needs a villain. Every story needs a secret.
Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.What really happened? Someone knows. Someone is lying.
Normally this is where I would write my own little summary of what went down in the book. But if I'm 100% honest.. nothing - just about nothing that equates to an actual story does happen in Wink Poppy Midnight. I was going to be generous and give this book two stars, but then I recall giving other books (which had more of a story) far less than two stars and that just didn't seem fair. I really should be giving this book no stars as I didn't seen any substance worth rating, but hell one star it is.
Kynndra's BITTER Thoughts
I feel nothing but frustration towards this book. You'll have to understand that I was aching to read this novel. What with the eyegasmic cover to the alluring synopsis - how could you not? But I fell straight on my ass and into shitville with this one. I detested this book because I hate feeling like I've wasted hours of my life on something useless, hours that I'll never get back. That's the gamble with every book, I suppose. Boy did I lose out on this one. Yes, this book is fairly short but still. I've never felt so empty finishing a book than I did when I finished WPM.
Why did I give it one star then, you ask? Well because the writing is fucking beautiful. If writing could leave colors I'd be purple from head to toe. April is one hell of a wordsmith. She makes every line poetic and stunning. There's no doubt about that. I love nice writing as much as the next guy, but if there's no story to back it up then I don't care if the words are written in gold. I read for the story and if there's no story, I find no enjoyment in what I'm reading. I'm going to share my brutal opinion right now - not even her writing could make this a good book
Quite literally, I think it was page 210/247 on my ereader that there was actually a plot taking place. Other than that it was Wink telling fairy tales, Midnight fawning over Wink or thinking about his mom and brother for the fiftieth time, followed by Poppy being a vindictive bitch and essentially manipulating any male with her hauntingly good looks. I did not like any of the characters. The biggest kudo I have to give to this book is that it's easy to make aesthetic edits for it because the author writes so beautifully you can't help but imagine the mystic and southern gothic-like setting.
I'm not saying don't read this book, but I'm definitely not recommending it. We all perceive books differently. I think Wink Poppy Midnight was supposed to provide me with a message of "we're all the villain and hero sometimes" but wow. What a waste of my time. Sorry for being a bit of an asshole, I just couldn't sugar coat my salty feels about this one, folks. I got 96% pretty words, 2% useless characters and 2% plot which equated to a 100% terrible read.
Gunna waddle my bitter ass off the internet for awhile.
The Dark Artifices: Book One
Written by Cassandra Clare
Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Published March 8th 2016
Thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia
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It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…
Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark, who was captured by the faeries five years ago, has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind, and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?
May contain spoilers for book one Akarnae, See my review here
Written by Lynette Noni
Published March 23rd 2016
Thank you to Pantera Press
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Returning for a second year at Akarnae Academy with her gifted friends, Alexandra Jennings steps back through a doorway into Medora, the fantasy world that is full of impossibilities.
Despite the magical wonder of Medora, Alex’s life remains threatened by Aven Dalmarta, the banished prince from the Lost City of Meya who is out for her blood.
To protect the Medorans from Aven’s quest to reclaim his birthright, Alex and her friends seek out the Meyarin city and what remains of its ancient race.
Not sure who, or perhaps what, she is anymore, all Alex knows is that if she fails to keep Aven from reaching Meya, the lives of countless Medorans will be in danger. Can she protect them, or will all be lost?
The Final Verdict
May contain spoilers. See my review for All Fall Down
Written by Ally Carter
Published in Australia February 2016
Thank you to Scholastic Australia
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Inside every secret, there's a world of trouble. Get ready for the second book in this new series of global proportions, from master of intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter.Grace's past has come back to hunt her... And if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.The twists get twistier and the turns get even more shocking in the second thrilling installment of Embassy Row.
I didn't like Spence. As a character or attempting to become a love interest and I'm not surprised at Jamie's rage. In See How They Run, Grace now has more secrets to unravel with the introduction of the history and mythology behind Embassy Row, which surprised me. Sadly it didn't elaborate on the mystery beyond a treasure in which a secret society of woman on Embassy Row vow to protect. I'm hoping the third installment will expand on the mythology rather than the focus being almost solely on Grace's well being.
Grace and Alexei have a strange relationship. Initially Jamie's best friend who was asked to keep an eye on Grace in her brothers absence, Alexei and Grace are both attracted to one another but neither willing to admit how they feel. The romance between the two is a little too slow burning. I can understand why given Grace's situation but it's still frustrating for readers of the series nonetheless. It's far too drawn out.
I love this series. It's so wonderfully written and Grace is such a likable and intriguing character who always manages to find herself embroiled in the politics of living on Embassy Row. It's an engaging, quick read that is impossible to put down. But be warned, Ally Carter is known for her cliffhangers and this one's a doozy.
The Final Verdict
May contain spoilers for books 1-3 of Air Awakens.
Air Awakens: Book Four
Written by Elise Kova
Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Romance
Expected publication: April 26th 2016 by Silver Wing Press
Thanks to Elise Kova for the ARC
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The Solaris Empire found victory in the North and, at the cost of her heart and her innocence, Vhalla Yarl has earned her freedom. But the true fight is only beginning as the secret forces that have been lurking in the shadows, tugging at the strings of Vhalla’s fate, finally come to light. Nowhere is safe, and Vhalla must tread carefully or else she’ll fall into the waiting arms of her greatest foe. Or former lover.
Vhalla has left the confines of the Solaris army and has now set off on her own. She finds herself on the crossroads; quite literally and metaphorically. For once in her life, Vhalla is free to make her own choices. Having separated from Prince Aldrik, she no longer finds herself under the reigns of the Emperor. However, she carries a sacred weapon alongside her. Achel, one of the last known crystal weapons known to man has come into her possession. It is her job to make sure the axe lands in the safe hands of Victor who runs the sorcerer's tower in the capital.
However, her past awaits her in the capital. To return home is to return to Aldrik, the very man who broke her heart. Her journey back will not be easy. Multiple foes will do everything in their power to make sure Vhalla never reaches the tower, even if it means killing the last Windwalker. Unbeknownst to Vhalla, her mission will be fraught with dangers from all sides. The people she trusts the most, may very well be the ones who mean her the most harm.
Having left the third book in the Air Awakens series feeling disappointed I was nervous coming into Water's Wrath. I had no idea where the story would be taken, or how the characters will have changed. That being said, I still quickly requested an ARC as I needed to know that the story I came to love still had some of that same magic that made me fall in love with it in the first place. I am so relieved and happy to report that Water's Wrath was in fact a improvement from its predecessor, Earth's End.
I still don't think it beat out books one and two, but it was still a great installment. I was strangely so happy to have Vhalla away from Aldrik for a huge chunk of the book. Don't get me wrong, I love these two. I ship them to Saturn and back. But in the third book I found them to be a bit much if you will, which in all honestly hurt my appreciation for the book. This way, we got to see Vhalla without her prince, therefore we got to experience her growth without it being overshadowed by frolicking and sweet promises. Sometime romance gets in the way of things, you know?
Vhalla did grow. She no longer feels like a girl to me, but a woman. No longer does she allow herself to be chained to the will of the Solaris Empire - nor be a pawn in anyone else's vendettas. It was so refreshing to see the Windwalker become something truly magnificent on her own. I think that was one of my favorite bits about this story is the molding that goes into not just the main characters, but also the secondary characters (which were largely relevant in this book). Fritz is one of my favorite characters, he's a Water sorcerer and idk their powers are kickass and just remind me of Avatar.
That being said, when Vhalla and Aldrik did meet up again, I was ecstatic to see the slow burn return. I really think book three was all gushy love. It really was. But Elise carved something touching this time around. The romance was frantic, alluring and dangerous. I found myself fangirling the hell out whenever Aldrik and Vhalla were near one another because it was forbidden. The chemistry was perfect and their dialogue actually fit. I loved it. I loved them so so much!
The plot was really alive and unpredictable. I could see a few things coming, but in a general sense I was blindsided by a few things. There's a few scenes in there that totally wrecked me. I got really choked up as Elise writes such fantastic interactions between her characters that it's impossible not to get attached. The only thing I have to say that poorly reflects upon Water's Wrath was that I think it was rushed. Especially the ending. I didn't like how it was all very convenient (shocking nonetheless) but I would have enjoyed a slower paced buildup to what happens in the end.
I was pleasantly surprised and grateful that Water's Wrath returned to what I found so great about it. This is the fourth book in the series with only one more to go. There characters, the world and the plot are rich and done so well. If you're a fan of YA Fantasy with a sometimes heavy dash of romance then I can't recommend this series enough. I love how I can't imagine how this story will end. I cannot wait to see how Elise Kova closes off this magical channel of a world she has created in only a years' time.
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Kynndra is not over Daredevil. She honestly just needs season 3 to see if her children (Frank and Karen) get together.
Written by Shivaun Plozza
Published March 23rd 2016
Thank you to Penguin Teen Australia
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Frankie Vega is angry. Just ask the guy whose nose she broke. Or the cop investigating the burglary she witnessed, or her cheating ex boyfriend or her aunt who's tired of giving second chances...When a kid shows up claiming to be Frankie's half brother, it opens the door to a past she doesn't want to remember. And when that kid goes missing, the only person willing to help is a boy with stupidly blue eyes... And secrets of his own.Frankie's search for the truth could change her life, or cost her everything.
Frankie is without a doubt, the most compelling debut in young adult since Stolen by Lucy Christopher. It's an utterly enchanting blend of attitude, sass and an engaging storyline as told through the eyes of one of the most likable protagonists in young adult today. Although she's always lived with the hurt of abandonment, Frankie is incredibly fierce and doesn't allow the failures of her mother to define her. She and aunt Vinnie live above Vinnie's kebab shop in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood, with an eclectic mix of diversity and crime. It's here that Frankie now finds herself working, having been suspended from school after another violent outburst, when she is contacted by Xavier claiming to be her half brother.
Xavier too has his own issues, the fourteen year old just having moved to Melbourne from Queensland with his abusive, gruff father. The very same man that Frankie's mother had abandoned her for all those years ago. Perhaps Xavier is the only person who may understand how Frankie is feeling but then Xavier vanishes. The local detectives see Xavier as just another runaway, the Vega name not worthy of their time so Frankie takes the investigation into her own hands and enlists the help of local neighbourhood burglar Nate. Possibly the only person to know of Xavier's whereabouts... Or who cares.
My heart ached for Frankie as she felt she had nowhere to turn for help. Vinnie, although such pillar of strength and support in Frankie's life, was tired of her antics. Suspended for a violent incident at school, to return Frankie is forced to plead her case. In between her therapy sessions with the infuriatingly passive Daniel, the only calming presence in Frankie's life is her best friend in Cara but lately their friendship is also at breaking point. Frankie's sole focus is that of finding her brother which means breaking curfew, disregarding Vinnie, school and visiting the seedy underbelly of the northern suburbs of Melbourne to find him. What struck me most was how genuine Frankie's character felt and realistically flawed.
The romance was barely there, but the attraction between Frankie and Nate was intense and dangerously sexy. Nate's character smoulders, but underneath his couldn't care less bravado lies a boy does what he can to survive, rather than just another petty thief. Although both were dealing with their own issues, they slowly begun to rely on one another for support and companionship.
Frankie is Melbourne. From the language, diversity to the uniqueness of the northern suburbs. During my teen years, these were my people. From the streets of Reservoir to Victoria Park, the Preston Market to the factory outlets along Smith Street Collingwood, it was so incredibly vivid and beautifully written with such an honesty of how fundamentally flawed life in general is.
The Final Verdict
Shivaun Plozza, you are a force to be reckoned with. Shivaun is an author who brings stories to life through her characters, her intensity and honesty. A remarkable debut from an author who captured me from the very first page.
Written by Cecelia Ahern
Dystopian, Young Adult
Published March 24th 2016
Thank you to Harper Collins Australia
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Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.Seventeen year old Celestine North is a vision of perfection. She's smart, beautiful, dating the handsome son of Judge Bosco, the head of the Guild and is the golden child of two parents who themselves promote an image of the perfect family. Since the Guild was introduced into a corrupt and morally unethical society, citizens who are less than perfect are branded as Flawed. The Flawed live among the community, but ostracised and abide by the rules of simple living in a life sentence they will never escape. Celestine has always followed the rules, until she's posed with her own moral dilemma and decides to aide an elderly Flawed citizen, a crime which may see her punished and branded.
But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found Flawed.
In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.
Flawed was a great introduction to dystopian or for those who are hungry for a new and entertaining read that will sate your need for the genre. Apart from a few snippets of information exchanged between characters, the history of the Guild wasn't fully explored but hoping book two features greater world building than it's predecessor,
The Final Verdict
With a few minor issues, Cecelia Ahern has created a successful transition into the young adult genre. With more emphasis needed on world building and character depth, the Flawed series is a new and exciting series from a much loved adult author.
Written by Ruta Sepetys
Young Adult, Historical Fiction, War
Published February 2nd 2016 by Philomel Books
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Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.War wages in the frozen front of Germany. Hitler has plagued the world with his radicalized ideals making the calmest countryside into something of nightmares. Thousands of refugees flee their homes and countries in hopes of boarding the Wilhelm Gustloff. A once vacationing ship has been turned into a makeshift hospital that is set to make a 48 hour journey to give wounded German soldiers a chance at survival, and to assist German women and children to safety.
Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.
As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.
Yet not all promises can be kept.Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.
Amongst those making the trek to the ship are Emilia, a young girl who has survived much. Florian, a German boy with a dangerous past. Joanna, a Lithuanian nurse who fled from her family and home. The shoe poet, an orphan boy, Ingrid - a blind girl and a grouchy giant of a women whom regards her belongings with the utmost care. This unlikely band of travelers will have to face much in order to reach the ship in time. They will have to rely on one another in order to make it through the darkest part of their lives. Even then, nothing is safe.
This book came heavily recommended by Nick and Nere over at Nick and Nereydas Infinite Booklist. I was nervous at first that I wouldn't enjoy it, I always have this irrational fear of hating books other people pledge their heart and soul on. Thankfully, Nick and Nere did not lead me astray. They led me to a book that was so much more than a story. It was real. This was something that happened. Sure, the characters may very well be fictional but the struggles they went through was everyday life for millions in Europe. I loved every page, and every second of this beautifully tragic book.
Ruta Sepetys was so very precise about how she wrote this book, and it shows. She paid homage to the truth, and did her homework before daring to write about such a huge, but vastly unknown event in our history. I'm not a veteran when it comes to Historical Fiction, it's actually a genre I've only dabbled in two to three times. All my experiences have been good. But Ruta has shown me with her brilliant writing that Historical Fiction is to be done right or not done at all. It's always lovely when you can tell when an author is passionate about what they're writing.
“The Wilhelm Gustloff was pregnant with lost souls conceived of war. They would crowd into her belly and she would give birth to their freedom.”
The form in which this book was written made a 390 page book feel more like 150. The chapters alternate between all four of our characters. Each of which is 2-3 pages max. I wasn't sure if I would like this at first, but it turns out I loved it. It certainly added a special flow to the pace and thrill of the events that took place. The plot, in this case unravelled and evolved with every page. It was a unique, and remarkable read that left me flipping pages faster than I care to admit. I found myself at 67% at one point, the next I was finished and a disgusting sobbing mess.
There was such care in developing our four main characters - and even moreso in our secondary characters. I felt invested in all of their stories, each had such a colorful way of coming to life. It didn't matter if they were good or bad. I felt all the emotions - especially with Emilia, and my personal favorites - the Shoe Poet and the boy with the one eared rabbit. Hah! I feel like such a dork having fallen in love with secondary characters. But believe me, if you ever have the pleasure of reading Salt to the Sea, this old man who's so keen about shoes will grab your heart strings and tug. I will probably always be inspecting peoples shoes from here on out.
Salt to the Sea was such an unexpected treasure. It's going to remembered and renowned one day, I have no doubt about that. Ruta Sepetys wrote something meaningful. It taught me about the Wilhelm Gustloff, which prior to reading this book, I had no knowledge about. Not only that, but she created a story that captured humanity perfectly. She did not hide from reality which is what I think made this book so powerful. I'm a huge fan now, and genuinely recommend this to you all.
How do you even continue reading when you read something as good as this book?
Review may contain very mild spoilers
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I was brave. She was reckless. We were trouble.
Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie, confident, funny and interesting.
Then Suzanne comes into their lives, beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne's past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.
I'm a strong advocate for female friendships being represented in young adult novels, but this isn't what I had in mind. Beautiful Broken Things irritated me and I feel this is one book focused on the female teen friendships that readers could have done without.
Kelly's Thoughts... Err Rant
The storyline is told through the eyes of Caddy, a wealthy private school student who's only complaint is that her life isn't interesting and her school uniform is hideous. She has two parents who care for her, she wants for nothing but yet compares herself to her older sister Tarin who is bipolar and best friend Rosie, having lost her infant sister and her father walking out on his family shortly thereafter.
'They're just horrible things that happened Cads. They don't make me more interesting than you.' But the thing was, they did.For a girl who's supposedly intelligent, I'm not buying her excuse for a storyline. She was vapid, but she made no effort whatsoever to change her circumstances up until then. She envied her best friend Rosie with a jealously that set the tone for Beautiful Broken Things, and the storyline went downhill from there.
Her goals were to find a boyfriend, lose her virginity and experience a significant life event. Apparently being validated by male attention makes life more interesting. Who knew. So when new girl Suzanne arrives at the local public school where Rosie attends, the claws come out as Caddy is now feeling as though she's the third wheel. I can understand why she felt as though she was on the outer, she and Rosie have been best friends for over ten years and the new girl has impacted on their friendship. But Suzanne was lovely, she made the effort to invite Caddy along with her and Rosie, even when Rosie seemingly seemed to drift away from Caddy in favour of the new and exciting Suzanne.
There's a reason why Suzanne moved away from her parental home and now lives with her aunt. She's the victim of family abuse and neglect and Caddy takes it upon herself to investigate Suzanne online. She uses information she found through a Facebook update as a trigger, perhaps to embarrass the teen or as an act of revenge towards the girl who she felt had replaced her. It was so incredibly cruel and was used as a turning point for Caddy and Suzanne to become friends.
The crux of the stoyyline was the toxic and enabled friendship between the three girls, but especially that between Caddy and Suzanne. I liked Suzanne's character. She was multilayered and complex but needed a positive peer influence in her life. Unfortunately Caddy was not that influence.
Rosie begun to distance herself from Suzanne's erratic behavior, just when she needed a support network more than ever. She wasn't above slut shaming Suzanne for what seemed to be a casual sexual relationship while Caddy seized the opportunity to enable Suzanne, seeing her as little more than a fast track to making her life more interesting. It's made clear that Suzanne is using her bravado to cover up that she's unwell. She's been through an incredible amount of abusive trauma at the hands of her parents and needed professional intervention. But Caddy was toxic, both in her manipulation and enabling of Suzanne to push her further. I can't remember having loathed a character as much as Caddy before.
It was well written, which is in no way a criticism of the author herself, it was the storyline which I found troublesome and painted teen girls as such a fickle, toxic and dangerous beings.
Beautiful Broken Things just annoyed me. I just didn't feel anything for the characters seeing the storyline through the eyes of Caddy. She felt like a self entitled girl who latched onto Suzanne because she had a preconceived notion of what Suzanne was, a girl who chases fun and freedom when in fact, she was a broken soul who'd suffered at the hands of abuse. It painted teen girls as fickle, toxic beings who are basically dysfunctional codependents. Caddy wasn't just an enabler, she became incredible self indulgent and used Suzanne because she was new, exciting and was a fast track to her own significant life event.
The Final Verdict
While I could relate to Suzanne's upbringing in so many ways, the storyline would have been far more engaging from her point of view. Caddy wasn't boring, but her character just felt incredibly judgemental and cruel. Even being outside of the demographic of the intended audience, it just left me feeling frustrated and lacked a learning curve I was hoping the characters would achieve.