Title: Beautiful Broken Girls
Author: Kim Savage
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
Imprint: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Date published: February 21, 2017
Page Count: 336
A physical copy of the book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Remember the places you touched me.
The parts of Mira Cillo that Ben touched are etched on his soul.
Palm. Hair. Chest. Cheek. Lips. Throat. Heart.
It was the last one that broke her. After her death, Mira sends Ben on a quest for notes she left in the seven places where they touched—notes that explain why she and her sister, Francesca, drowned themselves in the quarry. How Ben interprets those notes has everything to do with the way he was touched by a bad coach years before. But the truth behind the girls’ suicides is far more complicated, involving a dangerous infatuation, a deadly miracle, and a crushing lie.
Once I read the last page of this book, I closed it and just sort of sat there blinking for a while. I could not figure out what sort of rating to give it, which is very rare for me. And this stemmed from my being unable to figure out how I felt about this book exactly. So, I gave myself three days (although it felt like much longer, due to the guilt of not reviewing it right away), to figure it out. And even now, I don’t feel sure, and I think I know why…
Going into this book, I had the impression that I would be reading a fast-paced thriller. A murder mystery, to be more exact. While the description clearly states that the girls committed suicide, the end of the description implied that foul play may have been involved. Thus, I went in prepared for heart-pounding action, and the fast flipping of pages late into the night.
What I got in stead of a fast paced thriller, however, was more of an eerie story with medium-to-slow pacing. This was a story about another story, in a sense, as Ben, the main character, finds notes from Mira (one of the dead girls) and begins to unravel the mystery behind the sisters’ suicides. Ben himself, and the events happening in the “present” part of the story, however, did not hold my attention too much. I found myself not really caring for Ben as much as I wanted to (even though he possesses some of the traits which I adore in characters, and reading from the perspective of a male character was kind of refreshing). I also found myself being more interested in the flashbacks from what happened before.
The story within the story is what saved this book for me, in a sense. Because even though Ben’s search for answers, and his struggles with his mental health were interesting to me, what happened in “past” of this entire tale, simply held my interest more.
Now, the writing overall, on the other hand, was almost lyrical at times. There were turns of phrase which made me nod and smile with appreciation (and remember that I’ve read some of the best classics out there, and hold those in quite high regard). Savage’s writing style is definitely something I would aspire to, and it added some joy to my experience with Beautiful Broken Girls.
The strangeness of this tale is also another thing which I appreciated. I think that the reason why I do not often read contemporary books (especially YA contemporary), is because it usually involves high school, common tropes, and cliches, and just…things that I do not enjoy in books. I do commend Savage on trying something new with Beautiful Broken Girls though! And I do think that she has achieved what she set out to achieve with this book.
All in all, I do recommend this book, although I would advise that future readers go into the experience aware that this is not a thriller, so much as a beautiful unveiling of something horrible, eerie, as well as miraculous which had already come to pass.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Savage is the author of the critically acclaimed After the Woods. A former reporter who received her Master’s degree with honors in Journalism from Northeastern University, Kim lives north of Boston near the real Middlesex Fells Reservation of After the Woods, and she grew up near a quarry town a lot like the Bismuth of Beautiful Broken Girls, in stores Feb. 21. Kim’s third novel with FSG, In Her Skin (2018), is based in Boston’s Back Bay, where she has never lived.
Kim and her husband have three children, each of whom beg to appear in her books. They shouldn’t.
THANK YOU FOR READING MY REVIEW! HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT DID YOU THINK? AND IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, DO YOU WANT TO, OR NOT? HOW COME? LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!