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.My thoughts:
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?
I have to admit, I am usually not a huge fan of characters with memory loss in YA, as it has a tendency to become cheesy, kind of an easy way to keep me interested in the story, to find out what’s happened. Breaking Beautiful managed to stay away from the cheesy, and instead used Allie’s memory loss only as a small part of a larger mystery; what happened on the night Trip died.
Allie had my heart breaking in so many ways. I felt incredibly bad for her, for having stayed in an abusive relationship, for not daring to tell anyone about it and instead just making excuses for Trip, and especially for not remembering how he actually died. And the way her classmates treated her – there’s no way I could have taken that without screaming back that “Hey, maybe that guy you’re still worshiping wasn’t so perfect after all – he beat me.” And yet through her growing relationship with Blake, she finds the strength to deal with the whole situation, no matter how hard it is at times.
I really, really liked Blake. He’s been friends with Allie ever since they were kids, and it is clear that he’s willing to do just about anything for her. His reputation is not the best thanks to some events in his past, but he really doesn’t seem to care what people think about him, and I love that. The fact that he really cares about Andrew, Allie’s twin brother who has cerebral palsy, is another huge point in his favor. There were times when I didn’t get why Allie hadn’t just started dating Blake instead of Trip to begin with, but of course life isn’t always that easy.
I loved how the story was set up as a mystery, where we’re searching for clues about Trip’s death right alongside Allie. Some of the clues come in form of Allie remembering things, others we had to discover otherwise. I did figure out what happened before Allie did, but it was nothing obvious, and I could just as easily have missed it and stayed clueless. Either way, I loved the tension and suspense of not knowing, and I would love to see more of this kind of mystery in YA in the future. Breaking Beautiful is probably the best YA book I’ve read about an abusive relationship, but it is so much more than that, and I would definitely recommend this book.
I love it! The red shoes makes me wanna know what happened to the girl wearing them, and it's just creepy enough for me to pick it up.
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ARC received from NetGalley
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