Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

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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.

I dove into this book late one evening in the hopes of a good read after finishing a less than stellar book.  The plan was to read a chapter and go to sleep.  Fast forward 6 hours later (or 4am) and I have somehow survived the emotional roller coaster that is Breaking Beautiful.  When I say emotional roller coaster, I don’t mean the rapid brutal ascent and fall of emotions that you find in Gayle Forman’s If I Stay.  Think shorter ascents and drops in a dark tunnel and the only thing that keeps you from trying to jump off the ride is the light you KNOW is at the end.

This is one of those books that is hard to review because I really don’t want to give anything away other than what is in the description above.  It’s a bit of a mystery and I would hate to inadvertently spoil it for anyone.   

What I can tell you is that this book is rather dark.  I knew going in that it would be.  The description provided by the publisher prepared me for the subject matter of abuse Allie experienced at the hands of her boyfriend, Trip.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the abuse/bullying that Allie and her friends and family suffered at the hands of the town’s population – both adults and adolescents.   Some of it was intentional and vindictive.  Some of it was just the careless and thoughtless.  Either way, it was hurtful to the characters and upsetting to read.   

But not the entire story was dark.  Some of the brightest parts of this story were Andrew and Blake.  The very first thing that drew me into this book was the relationship between Allie and her twin brother, Andrew.  Andrew and Allie have a bond that is both beautiful and moving and I truly believe is one of the few things that keeps her alive in the beginning.  Then there is Blake.  Even after the way she treated him while dating Trip, Blake still insists on supporting her however and whenever he can and when she lets him.   

Although dark, this book ends with a bit of sunshine and hope.  I truly loved it.  If you love a good emotional read, as I do, then I highly recommend this book.   


*Breaking Beautiful will be released Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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