Monday, April 23, 2012

ARC Review: Breaking Beautiful

Breaking BeautifulBreaking Beautiful, Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult

Publication: 4/24/2012, Walker Children's Books

# of Pages: 354 (Hardcover)

Source:  I received an advanced reader's copy (ARC) from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship.

When the police reopen the investigation, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.

My Review:  So far this year I've read two books about girls, car crashes, memory loss, and a night they would rather forget. This is definitely the better of the two. Not that the other was bad. It wasn't. It was great. I gave it four stars.

But Breaking Beautiful falls into the category of books that remind me what literature could be and should be. It made me remember why I love to read and busted me out of a slump that was threatening my ever-growing TBR pile. I didn't want to read before I picked up Breaking Beautiful. I was tired of being disappointed or just feeling meh about a book. Now, I'm excited. I know that somewhere in that large stack of books is another story that I don't want to miss out on. I'll continue to read the blah of the book world if it means I might find another gem like Breaking Beautiful.

We're told early on that Allie's boyfriend Trip was an abuser. Through pieces of her scattered memory we see the kind of pain he inflicted upon her and we see how each incident breaks her spirit--her sense of self-worth--a little bit more. To say that I was glad Trip was dead at the onset would be an understatement. I was thrilled. But just because the abuser is out of the picture does not mean that the affects of his abuse disappear. Allie still flinches when someone touches her and wears sweaters to cover the bruises.

She still has trouble trusting, well, anyone. Even her parents. Even her childhood best friend Blake, who, it's clear, would do just about anything for her. I absolutely adored Blake. I wanted so much for he and Allie to be together. Allie wants it too. At first, she's afraid of what people will think. That perhaps they'll think she moved on from Trip too quickly. What she gets is a town full of people who come to believe that she and Blake are somehow responsible for Trip's death.

It's fear of losing or hurting Blake, more than anything else, that finally convinces Allie that she has to face what happened the night Trip died and finally tell the whole truth about their relationship.

Breaking Beautiful is absolutely incredible. It will hook you from the first paragraph and it just gets better from there. When this book was anywhere near me, I was reading it. And when it wasn't, I was thinking about it. Jennifer Shaw Wolf does an incredible job of injecting suspense and mystery, giving us tiny snippets of Allie's relationship with Trip and the night of the accident. Just enough to keep the reader guessing and tearing through the pages. Jennifer Shaw Wolf is a debut author with some serious talent. I've been stalking her blog and I know that she has another book in the works called Shards of Glass. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.


Heather said...

I'm going to have to read this one! It sounds very powerful, and more than a little sad.

Melanie McCullough said...

It's amazing. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Tiffany Mahaffy said...

Love the review!! I have this one on my Wish List so hopefully I can get it soon :) I love a good emotional read and this sounds like it fits the bill!

Melanie McCullough said...

Thanks and you should definitely read it. It's so good.

Kai said...

Awesome review! The storyline is intense, exactly what i like...will def. read this one

Melanie McCullough said...

Definitely intense. I'm so glad you're going to read it. I think you'll like it!

Kristin said...

I have been wanting to read this book and thanks to your review I want to pick it up even more!

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