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Broken Things Hardcover – October 2, 2018
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“Captivating and sinister from the start, the novel’s depiction of female frenemies and villains is fresh and complex... A must-have.” (School Library Journal)
“Expect readers to have much to discuss with a provocative and divisive conclusion... A page-turner for sure.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“This novel has all the elements of a thriller—an unsolved murder, long-held secrets and lies, grieving best friends...[and] it succeeds in creating an eerie setting and atmosphere.” (Publishers Weekly)
About the Author
Lauren Oliver is the cofounder of media and content development company Glasstown Entertainment, where she serves as the President of Production.
She is also the New York Times bestselling author of the YA novels Replica, Vanishing Girls, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages. The film rights to both Replica and Lauren's bestselling first novel, Before I Fall, were acquired by Awesomeness Films. Before I Fall was adapted into a major motion picture starring Zoey Deutch. It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, garnering a wide release from Open Road Films that year.
Oliver is a 2012 E. B. White Read-Aloud Award nominee for her middle-grade novel Liesl & Po, as well as author of the middle-grade fantasy novel The Spindlers and The Curiosity House series, co-written with H.C. Chester. She has written one novel for adults, Rooms.
Oliver co-founded Glasstown Entertainment with poet and author Lexa Hillyer. Since 2010, the company has developed and sold more than fifty-five novels for adults, young adults, and middle-grade readers. Some of its recent titles include the New York Times bestseller Everless, by Sara Holland; the critically acclaimed Bonfire, authored by the actress Krysten Ritter; and The Hunger by Alma Katsu, which received multiple starred reviews and was praised by Stephen King as “disturbing, hard to put down” and “not recommended…after dark.”
Oliver is a narrative consultant for Illumination Entertainment and is writing features and TV shows for a number of production companies and studios.
Oliver received an academic scholarship to the University of Chicago, where she was elected Phi Beta Kappa. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from New York University.
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BROKEN THINGS, a take off from the real life Slenderman attempted murder does so many things right with wonderful complex characters and an intriguing plot. Unfortunately, Lauren Oliver’s writing lacked tension and didn’t engage me one bit. I so wanted to love BROKEN THINGS but felt no reluctance to put down the story and take breaks. I didn’t consider staying up late to finish. My heart never pulsed. Told in Then and Now alternating from Brynn’s and Mia’s points of view, I had difficult remembering the narrator and time frame.
If I was rating on storytelling I’d be pressed to give two stars. The five star characters, plot and reveal brought the rating up to three, but I’m hard pressed to recommend.
I loved the idea of Broken Things. Three friends bonding over the love of a book sounds magical, and it reminded me so much of my own obsession with Harry Potter. But what I will say, is that I did not care about Lovelorn. This whole story could have been written without the inclusion of the Lovelorn scenes and I'd feel the same at the end. In fact, those scenes were somewhat distracting.
I loved the build up of the mystery. I couldn't stop reading, but I couldn't wait for it to be over because this book is SLOW. I had to know who murdered Summer all those years ago. But once I found out who murdered Summer, the reason behind everything, and how everything ended, the book was over. That was 4oo+ pages of details and words to have an ending that was done in less than 5 pages.
I will not say this book is poorly written. It isn't. I just didn't love the way it was developed so slowly with and ending that was so underwhelming.
Except they didn’t kill Summer. Not as such.
Their lives are never the same. Brynn ends up in a rehab facility, where she hopes to never leave. And Mia has to deal with her hoarder of a mother, living one day at a time. But now that Brynn is out of the hospital, they revisit Lovelorn and all the things they thought they’d left behind, and that’s when they discover that things are far more disquieting than they thought. There was a fourth person, and it wasn’t Owen, the guy accused and acquitted for Summer’s death.
I love the atmospheric feel of the book — the sense of perpetual menace in the language, especially when they’re in the woods. I write this kind of fiction, and I take pleasure in focusing on those descriptions. I think this novel is loosely based on a real-life crime, but I don’t know which one. What I do know is that this novel will resonate to those who loved PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (the TV show, not the books). It’ll also resonate to those who enjoyed ONE OF US IS LYING and 13 REASONS WHY. This is also a Lisa Unger mystery in YA form. Lauren Oliver is an accomplished YA author, and her beautiful writing pops out of the pages. (I love the DELIRIUM books.) I do, however, wish she had gone in a different direction with this novel. There are so many amazing suspense books by up and coming writers out there, that we don’t need established authors to jump into this kind of bandwagon. Having said that, I still enjoyed BROKEN THINGS and I give it four of five cinnamon-flavored cappuccinos with extra foam.
Summer, Mia and Brynn were friends. The three girls pretended that a fantasy book world, Lovelorn, was real until the devastating loss of Summer. Five years later, Mia and Brynn try to piece all of the clues of this unsolved murder together. With the help of Mia’s friend Abby and Brynn’s cousin Wade, they scour the town and surrounding areas to solve this mystery. Twisting between make-believe and reality, the story spins seemingly in circles until the truth stands out clearly. Interesting, intense and emotionally jarring, Broken Things is a 5 star must read!
Top international reviews
I did have a difficult time differentiating between the two teenage protagonists, so I never knew who was narrating. But I was intrigued enough by the similarities to the Slender Man stabbing case (where two best friends lured another friend into the woods and repeatedly stabbed her to impress the fictional Slender Man) to keep reading, and overall I enjoyed.
It is a complete and self contained story in one volume, and not part of any series or trilogy.
It runs for four hundred and eight pages. It's divided into four parts. Although the last of these is just a short epilogue. And further into shorter and unnumbered chapters.
It's the story of two girls. Brynn and Mia. Who gained notoriety after the death of their best friend when the latter was brutally murdered. All of them had been obsessed with a fantasy novel called the Way into Lovelorn, and seemingly their obsessions took over their lives and turned to murder.
Or so people think. Because nobody was charged with the crime.
And they didn't do it.
But try telling people that.
Five years later, and their lives are very different. Brynn is in rehab. Mia has a new best friend. But then she discovers something...
The story is told with Brynn and Mia as viewpoint characters, telling it all in the first person. Most often present tense. Some chapters take place at the main narrative point, five years after the killing. Some - not nearly as many - take place five years or more previously, filling in details from that time.
Both are very distinctive and different characters. This, coupled with good and clear prose, makes this very readable and utterly gripping from the off. There are lots of different themes and elements. It's a story about how communities deal with such things. About friendship. And about growing up and leaving childhood and it's things behind, and how hard the latter can be.
And it's also a pretty interesting mystery as well. You're never entirely sure whether or not it might creep over into the fantastical at any moment.
There are also excerpts from the book, and a sequel that the characters tried writing, every so often. These are worth paying attention to, when you will notice some clever writing.
This is a real page turner, and it does manage to sort everything out very nicely at the end, with some great character development along the way.
It just though feel slightly short of five stars for me because the solution does feel as if it comes out of left field, thanks to information revealed late on, so it's not really a mystery you'll manage to solve. And the final part could have done with being one chapter longer. The chapter in question is just from one viewpoint, and I would have liked to have seen it from another one as well.
Minor complaint, though, as this is a good read and well worth a look.
A dark unsettling read. Although nothing was proved, Brynn and Mia have ever since been treated as pariahs - victims of wild rumours and open hostility. They take turns to narrate, telling how it is now and how it was then. Here is a work very psychological. Readers can justifiably wonder if they can believe a word the two tell, Brynn's contributions in particular - her whole life seemingly built on pulling wool over people's eyes.
Alternatively this could be for real, a genuine murder mystery - they falsely accused, the real killer totally unsuspected. What about the youths who flocked round Summer? Then there was school coach driver Mr. Haggard who always seemed a bit odd. At long last will the truth be revealed...?
Yes, much here to intrigue. An imaginary world weird and wonderful (the original novel ending in mid-sentence). Angst in abundance. Minds on the brink. Home lives in disarray. Confusion about sexuality. Perhaps no chance for those primarily affected by the tragedy ever to find stability and happiness?
Full appreciation depends on how much one cares for those involved. Stumbling block for me was Brynn, she so unpleasant and a law unto herself.
Fans and those less enthusiastic can at least agree here is a work out of the ordinary.
I very much enjoyed this book and it kept drawing me back in, with its mystery and fast pace. I ended up reading it in a couple of days and being genuinely very involved in it.
Very much recommended