BEAUTIFUL BROKEN GIRLS by Kim Savage, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Feb. 21, 2017, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
In Beautiful Broken Girls you meet Mira and Francesca Cillo are perfect by most people’s standards. They’re beautiful and popular, albeit overprotected by their father. They might be a little odd, but people don’t seem to mind too much. The world seemingly revolves around them until the night they disappear, drowning themselves in the quarry lake.
Days after Mira and Francesca’s deaths, Ben receives a letter from Mira. The letter sends Ben on a quest to find notes in the places where the two of them touched. You see, even though the Cillo girls appeared untouchable, Ben had broken through. He touched Mira’s palm, her hair, her chest, her cheek, her lips, her throat and her heart. As Ben collects Mira’s notes, he comes to realize how little of the girls he really knew. The Cillo’s had their secrets, and some secrets are better left alone.
Beautiful Broken Girls unfolds in the present and the past. You get to know the girls as they interact with friends and family, and Ben as he struggles to accept the position Mira has put him in.
I didn’t particularly like or care about the characters in Beautiful Broken Girls. Francesca seemed over the top; Mira too complacent; and Ben just kind of a mess. And yet, I couldn’t put the book down. It’s an unusual conundrum. I usually don’t spend my time on characters I don’t find compelling, but in this case, it’s the work as a whole that stuck with me.
What it comes down to is the masterful storytelling of Kim Savage. I read her novel After The Woods, in one sitting. The same is true of Beautiful Broken Girls. Kim has a way of capturing you and pulling you along for the ride, even if you don’t like where it’s going — as was the case with After The Woods — or question motives — Beautiful Broken Girls.
There’s a lot going on in Beautiful Broken Girls, and context can be slow in coming at times, but it’s still a strong mystery. Though I found myself swept up in Kim Savage’s story, it’s not one I’m likely to reread. I’d check this one out from the library before purchasing to make sure it’s something you really want to own.
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