Broken Thingsby Lauren Oliver Published 02 Oct 2018
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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.
"Broken Things" Reviews
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars
“Five years ago, when I had just turned thirteen, I killed my best friend.
I chased her down and cracked her over the head with a rock. Then I dragged her body out of the woods and into a field and arranged it in the center of a circle of stones I’d placed there with my other friend, Mia. Then we knifed her twice in the throat, and five times in the chest. Mia was planning to douse her body with gasoline and light her on fire, but something went wrong and we bolted instead."
🌟 This is the opening chapter and once I read this I was intrigued and wanted to read this. I was happy to see that there ARCS out there and happier that I got approved in one day!
🌟 Now, Lauren Oliver is a smart author, I like what she did with Replica and Ringer. Her other books are also bestsellers but I don’t see her books getting much hype lately. I wanted to discover why because to me they seem as good ones.
🌟 Now, this started out brilliant. I love when first lines can make you want to read the whole thing. But the main problem is after this this started to get a bit slower and no as much as interesting. I mentioned in my last review the new trend of 3 girls and this books follows this trend, I forgot to mention that this trend entails one of the girls being a Lesbian which is also found here. The problem is that Summer who was murdered seemed like a good person at first but then I couldn’t sympathize with her.
🌟 The characters were not the best part of this, there is a fat rep that is not so great. The girls were annoying at sometimes too. I would have preferred if I could relate to the girls more.
🌟 Also this has a book inside a book. There are bits of the books that the girls wrote as a fan-fiction and to be honest, I didn’t give a damn about it. It was short and fast and that’s good but it didn’t add much to the story. This was a thriller and I am supposed to be on my toes with excitement and although I wanted to know what really happened, the suspense waned at some points. The reveal didn’t catch my breath too!
🌟 The writing was mostly good although some metaphors made me cringe. But the ending was so smart too and It made me happy again, hence the additional 0.5 star.
“I knew even then that my dad was wrong- words could kill you, in a thousand different ways.”
Summary: A good thriller novel that has excellent beginning and endings, don’t go to this with very high expectations and you will enjoy it more. If you are a writer, I think this may help in some creative writing too.
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
COVER REVEAL ADDED!! IT'S SO COOL
Let's just get this out of the way first, the cover of this book is actual HAIR GOALS, and I would be 100% lying if I told you that wasn't what caught my attention first. The second reason I was drawn to this was because it reminded me of the Slender Man stabbing case where two best friends lured another friend into the woods and repeatedly stabbed her an attempt to impress the fictional Slender Man and left her to die. Luckily, the real-life story does have a happy ending and does not end with a dead girl like this book does. But a large part of me wonders if that particular case was the inspiration behind this novel.
The story starts off on the five year anniversay of Summer's death. Mia and Brynn haven't seen or spoken to one another since they were accused of the murder of their best friend. And even though they did not murder Summer, the girls still have secrets of their own and the town still holds them accountable, labeling them and one other boy as the Monsters of Brickhouse Lane. Mia finds The Way into Lovelorn, a book that Summer, Mia, and Brynn were obsessed with. Picture a The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Narnia type of story. The girls spent their days together in a sort of frenzy to figure out the ending of the book since the story ended mid-sentence. That frenzy quickly turned into an obsession of writing a sequel with a proper ending and trying to bring Lovelorn to life, which ultimately ended in murder.
tw: murder, self harm, animal abuse and murder (very graphic), homophobic slurs, pedophilia
Here's what I liked...
-The way the past, present, and snippets from The Way into Lovelorn and Return to Lovelorn, which is Summer, Mia, and Brynn's story, were all woven together. Initially, I did struggle with it in the very beginning but it got better as the chapters got shorter
-Mia and Brynn were both dealing with their own demons since Summer's death, and I thought it added a nice touch to making the characters more likable and interesting
-Awesome side characters. Wade and Abby brought a lot to this story and without them it would have been a lot more dull
-The epilogue had me grinning from ear to ear
-Super atmospheric which was perfect to kick off my September reads and will be the perfect addition to your bookshelves when it comes out October 2nd
Here's what I didn't care for...
-The killer. I guessed who murdered Summer VERY early on. So, I was bummed when the big reveal came and it turned out to be who I guessed, especially because it felt like at one point the author was going to go another way and pin the murder on a different character. But nope, Detective Alana was on the money.
-There is an extremely graphic scene that includes murdering a cat which was so unsettling for me. I have a stomach of steel and I could hardly get through it, so just be prepared because it is definitely on the more gruesome side
-The reason Summer was murdered was not only underwhelming but it also felt super underdeveloped. The book came in at over 400 pages and the barely 2 page explanation of why Summer was murdered just did not cut it for me
That's the problem with lies. They aren't solid. They melt, and seep, and leak into the truth. And sooner or later, everything's a muddle.
#47. Truths you can never say, because they will strangle you on the way up.
Stories can be rewritten over and over, demons recast as heroes, and tragedies as grace.
That's the promise of a place like Twin Lakes. No one's ever really a stranger. Which means: there's no place to hide.
All in all, while I did have issues with this book I'd be lying if I said I didn't devour it in nearly one sitting. I don't think this is one of those profound mystery/thrillers that will stay with me for ages but it was definitely entertaining while it lasted, minus the cat part. However, if you are looking to add an atmospheric, creepy read to your TBR this October than this may be the one for you!
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The problem with fairy tales isn’t that they don’t exist. It’s that they do exist, but only for some people.
This was an interesting read. Lauren Oliver managed to blend fantasy into mystery in a unique way.
This is a story about three girls who were obsessed with a little-known fantasy novel called The Way into Lovelorn. In the book, there is a fantasy world that the characters find. For Summer, Brynn & Mia, that world is all too real. The girls think they found it in the woods. One day, Summer Marks is murdered in the woods. Mia and Brynn are accused. But they didn't really do it. It's been five years since they lost Summer. Why did everyone think Mia & Brynn killed her? Who really killed Summer in the woods that day?
Brynn is in rehab and has no desire to get out. She's not actually an addict, but she's safe here and doesn't have to walk around her hometown where everyone thinks she is a killer. Her plan is to fail a drug test right before being let out, so that she can stay.
Mia is still in their hometown, but she gets homeschooled and is best friends with Abby, a beauty/fashion youtuber who also get homeschooled by the same tutor. Things seem okay enough, but her mom has spiraled into a hoarder. Finally Mia got her mom out of the house so she can start trying to throw things out. And this is how Mia stumbles upon Summer's old copy of The Way into Lovelorn. It brings up a lot, but mainly it makes Mia realize that someone else knew about the book. Could this be a way to clear Mia and Brynn's names after all this time?
In the past, the girls wrote fan fiction because the original book was left unfinished. It ends in the middle of a sentence. So the girls always fantasized over why it was never complete and what would have happened next. They began writing their own story they called Return to Lovelorn. Throughout the book, in between chapters, there are excerpts from both The Way into Lovelorn and the girls' fan fiction sequel. This helps to give an idea of what the book was like and what exactly the girls were obsessed with.
I found myself very intrigued by the mystery. I kept trying to figure out who the killer was. Also, side note.. [spoilers removed] At times, the story fell slightly on the slow side. The pacing was a bit off. I do wish I liked the characters more. They just felt bland. I didn't like the way this one ended. I wanted a little more explanation. However, I did really like Oliver's idea of blending the fantasy story of the girls' obsession into this mystery. It reminded me of the Slenderman killings, which I'm sure this drew inspiration from. But Oliver managed to make it her own story.
Well, I did indeed finish this with record breaking Lauren Oliver speed. While I did have the murderer figured out by page 25 (this could be chalked up to simply reading too many mysteries) and it felt slightly bloated, overall this was a compulsive, can't put it down type of book that I think many readers will enjoy. I'm going to think on this one a bit more before writing my full review, but I'll go ahead and post trigger warnings below.
CW: Murder of children, graphic violence, pedophilia, murder and abuse of an animal (this is graphic and highly unsettling), homophobic slurs (always challenged but used multiple times throughout), and fat shaming comments.
*I received a copy for review via the publisher.
There is a dark beauty to Lauren Oliver's writing that gets me every time- Broken Things is a melancholy, beautifully plotted tale of friendship and murder.
An obsession with a book that had no ending leads 3 friends down a dangerous path. One dies, the others are assumed guilty, years later they come together once more to try and discover the truth..
I love the way the author digs deep into her characters, peeling back the layers with huge insight. The mystery elements are clever and emotional, for once I did not fully predict the outcome.
Tense, atmospheric, often a little creepy, Broken Things was a wonderful if a little heart breaking read and I definitely recommend it.