28 May 2012

YA Book Review: Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Release Date: 24 April 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Get a copy! Amazon | B&N

Goodreads description:
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?
My Thoughts...

First and foremost, I was so drawn to the cover of this book! It practically screams mystery and heartbreak and I felt like I needed to know what was up with the image.  How did it tie-in to the story? What really happened to Allie and Trip? Thankfully this book pulled me into Allie's story from the first page. I found myself curious to discover what had really happened to Allie, both throughout her relationship with Trip and the night of the accident.

Allie is such a great character and I found that to be a really strong point for me with this book.  She's clearly got a lot of complex feelings about her (former) relationship with her now-deceased boyfriend and you can tell she's torn.  They were one of those "golden couples" that everyone thinks is happy and perfect...but no one knew the real Trip--the one that hurt her physically and mentally.  Her family is great, especially her twin brother, Andrew.  Their relationship is really strong but they both have secrets that it takes a lot to eventually share with each other.

Beyond Allie, I felt like all of the characters in this book were really well-developed.  From her parents to her friend Blake and even the mean students at school, each person has a role to play in the story and a lot to learn along the way.  They each have a special place in the broader story and I felt like they were, for the most part, dynamic in the way that they react to various situations throughout the story. If you're a character person, like me, then I definitely think this novel will be high on your list of favorites.

The story itself is well-crafted. The flashbacks that Allie has give you a perfect taste of what really went on with Allie and Trip's relationship without giving TOO much away too soon about the night that he died and what actually happened.  As events are revealed toward the end, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the turns that the story took in resolving the mysteries hidden in Allie's memory.

Overall, this was a really fantastic read.  The pacing is just right and you'll really fly through the pages. The characters will capture your heart and imagination.  The story is full of a satisfying blend of mystery, heartbreak, pain, friendship, romance, and hope that will leave readers feeling content at the end. This is a great standalone debut novel that I highly recommend.


Book Light Graveyard said...

Ooo, this sounds amazing! I wanted to read it before, but now that I know it's a standalone, I want to read it even more! Great review!
Book Light Graveyard

Jessi said...

Standalone novels are SUCH a nice change of pace these days! This one is really a great read--hope you check it out! :)

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