Book Review: ‘Broken Things’ by Lauren Oliver

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In the small town of Twin Lakes, two girls committed a horrible crime, brutally murdering their best friend Summer Marks as part of a ritual sacrifice in the woods…or did they?

Since they were 13, Brynn McNally and Mia Ferguson have been reviled as the Monsters of Brickhouse Lane, even though they were cleared by the police. It was believed that, driven by their obsession with a particularly violent novel called “The Way into Lovelorn,” the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly. Now, on the five-year anniversary of Summer’s murder, the girls discover a secret that just might lead them to the real murderer. To clear their names, Brynn and Mia must return to the fantastical Lovelorn, and the sequel they wrote to uncover the deceptions hidden in the pages.

“Broken Things” flips between the perspectives of Brynn and Mia, both past and present, to spin the winding tale of Summer’s death and their involvement with her.

Quiet Mia, who has trouble making her voice heard, and hotheaded Brynn, who has trouble keeping her anger in check, must work together again after years of silence to uncover the truth and unmask the mysterious Shadow that threatens violence if they do not act quickly. Both girls are riddled with insecurities and struggle with maintaining healthy relationships, making them relatable characters.

This book is a definite thriller. You can almost feel the glaring eyes of neighbors as they watch the poor vilified girls, with the help of their ragtag friends, try to prove their innocence. The looming presence of the Shadow, the evil force which they believe killed Summer, is present on every drama-soaked page of this novel.

There is a beautiful mix of reality and fantasy as you see the girls act out scenes from “The Way into Lovelorn,” a fake book written by the fictitious Georgia C. Wells. Lauren Oliver does an excellent job sprinkling excerpts from the fantasy book throughout, as well as snippets of the sequel written by Summer, Brynn, and Mia in their youth.

“Broken Things” by Lauren Oliver, released on Oct. 2, is the author’s fourth stand-alone novel and has already received some positive attention, as it has been awarded as a New York Times Bestseller. Known for her dystopian “Delirium” trilogy, Oliver has been a published writer since 2010 with the release of “Before I Fall,” which holds over 20 awards including New York Times Bestseller and Publishers Weekly Bestseller. “Broken Things” is an engrossing psychological thriller, full of betrayal and hidden meanings.

With a four out of five rating, I would definitely recommend this book to people who like young adult fiction or a nice suspenseful mystery. The book is a well-written, beautifully plotted tale of friendship and murder that will leave the reader hanging on until the last page.