Broken Things, Lauren Oliver

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We fell in love with a story. We fell in love with an idea. And for that we’ve been punished again and again

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. 

* * * *
4 / 5 

Broken Things was a little bit messed up. It read like a mashup of Pretty Little Liars, One Of Us Is Lying, and All of This Is True, and it was fantastic. This book is a murder mystery told from the point of view of two young women that perfectly captures that idea of a childhood so tightly wrapped up in stories and fairytales that they begin to think that they might be true. I loved it.

Summer had slid suddenly and effortlessly into our orbit

Mia and Brynn killed their best friend Summer when they were only thirteen years old. Except they didn’t. Neither do they think it was Summer’s boyfriend, Owen. Not that it matters – it’s five years on and Mia has become a semi-reclusive shut-in to avoid the vicious looks around town and Brynn is faking an alcohol and drug addiction in order to stay in rehab. The book alternates between Mia and Brynn, between then and now, to weave the story of Summer’s death and the twisted descent of three girls into a story.

Summer, Mia, and Brynn were captivated by the book The Way into Lovelorn, a Narnia-inspired tale where three girls wander through a wood and find another world full of magic and wonder. They write their own fan-fiction sequel, editing and discussing it over and over until it almost seems real, so much so that when they walk through their own wood it seems to become Lovelorn. And then Summer dies, stabbed seven times in the chest and left for dead in the wood that the three girls had loved.

Together, in Lovelorn, we made sense

What I loved most about the book was how it reflected my own childhood back at me. My friend and I were enraptured by Lord of the Rings when we were their age: we reenacted scenes, wrote our own fic, romped around the countryside (I was always Legolas, she was Aragorn) and those stories we wove effect me even today. They became part of me. In the same way Lovelorn is woven into the heart of who Mia and Brynn are today.

Broken Things wove a very complex storyline. We have the long-dead Summer who is revealed to us through Mia and Brynn. She is first a saint, a beautiful and tragic figure who throughout the book becomes more disturbed and more real. Summer reminded me a lot of Alison from Pretty Little Liars, revered and hated, and Brynn was her Emily. Their triad was so odd, so warped, their relationships between each other so clearly unhealthy; it was fascinating to read and a little disturbing.

Oliver wrote a compelling story where I absolutely had to know what happened but was also horrified and couldn’t look away. This was an enthralling read.

My thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of Broken Things

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