[ARC Review] Beauty of the Broken by Tawni Waters

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Title: Beauty of the Broken
Author: Tawni Waters
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: September 30th 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

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In this lyrical, heartwrenching story about a forbidden first love, a teen seeks the courage to care for another girl despite her small town’s bigotry and her father’s violent threats.

Growing up in conservative small-town New Mexico, fifteen-year-old Mara was never given the choice to be different. Her parents—an abusive, close-minded father and a detached alcoholic mother—raised Mara to be like all the other girls in Barnaby: God-fearing, churchgoing, and straight. Mara wants nothing to do with any of it. She feels most at home with her best friend and older brother, Iggy, but Iggy hasn’t been the same since their father beat him and put him in the hospital with a concussion.

As Mara’s mother feeds her denial with bourbon and Iggy struggles with his own demons, Mara finds an escape with her classmate Xylia. A San Francisco transplant, Xylia is everything Mara dreams of being: free-spirited, open, wild. The closer Mara and Xylia become, the more Mara feels for her—even though their growing relationship is very much forbidden in Barnaby. Just as Mara begins to live a life she’s only imagined, the girls’ secret is threatened with exposure and Mara’s world is thrown into chaos.

Mara knows she can't live without Xylia, but can she live with an entire town who believes she is an abomination worse than the gravest sin?

I am usually not one to read books that have to do with religion because I myself do not associate with any, so I find books on that subject can get a bit much. But I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up Beauty and the Broken and fell for these characters right from the start.

This story follows Mara a young girl who lives with a very dysfunctional family. I loved Mara's character for the fact that her character is one that you normally do not see in a religious family. She is attracted to girls. I loved this aspect of the story because it not only made Mara a better character by making her different from those around her but I also loved it for the fact that it showcased what a religion can do to those surrounded by it. There are so seeding characters in this book that take their religion and blast it for everyone to hear but in reality they are just as sinful as Mara is claimed to be. The author did an amazing job showcasing the hypocrisy that surrounds those that ostracize others because they do not believe in their lifestyle.

The characters in this book were fantastic and I think the relationhsip between Mara and her brother was my favorite because it started out with him looking out for Mara and ended with Mara taking care of him (you will find out why this change happens in the book). I liked their dynamic and the way they treated each other because it felt real and I could relate to the feelings they were going through, especially when someone treats your sibling a different way. The parents of this story are not likable people, and I am certain they would have had their children taken away in a normal world (i hope) and I think it was this hatred for them that drove the story forward.

There was one incident in the book that made me take a step back though while I was reading and it had to do with rape. I just wasn't a fan of how it was handles as a whole and i know that it made sense for the story for those things to happen and the way Mara chose to deal with it, but I just wasn't a fan. It made me feel a bit icky of you know what i mean.

The only other thing that I wasn't a fan of was the end. I found that there was too much devastation and not enough hope at the end. When I read a book like this one that has so much pain and suffering at the hands of others you want the characters to come out the other side okay, and I did not get as great a feeling at the end, and I wish I had seen more hope for Mara and the life she will lea after the last page.

Overall the writing in this book was absolutely outstanding and i loved the prose so much. The author has a way of sucking you in with great characters and situations that you cannot let slip away and I loved reading every page of this book. There were just a few issues with certain scenes and the end that made me lower my overall rating, but seriously this book will change you. It delves deep into a life I hope no one has to deal with, ever, but I know exists. And I thank the author for highlighting it in this book.

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