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Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident-including her memory of the event. She doesn't remember driving on the cliff road. She doesn't recall jumping from the truck just before Trip lost control. 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. When the police reopen the investigation, it quickly turns on Allie and her best ...
Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident-including her memory of the event. She doesn't remember driving on the cliff road. She doesn't recall jumping from the truck just before Trip lost control. 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. When the police reopen the investigation, it quickly turns on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. As the threats begin and the survivor's guilt takes over, Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free?
Fans of dark contemporary stories will feel right at home in the hands of debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf as she takes them on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and ultimately, forgiveness.
Posted March 9, 2013
Posted February 21, 2013
I feel this is a book teens will really enjoy. It has strong characters, a great plot, and an issue that is more commonly dealt with today. However, it also kept me interested and guessing some things until the end.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 3, 2013
I cannot begin to express how much I had been wanting to read Breaking Beautiful. After so much anticipation, it left me breathless and in tears. Jennifer Shaw Wolf wrote a stunning novel about love, loss, grief, shame, and abuse.
Allie has lived an Army life. Her father was a sergeant major and frequently moved the family around. The only home she ever really knew was Pacific Cliffs, her grandma's home, her mom's home town, the place where her only friend lives. Upon her fathers retirement they moved back and Allie find herself in a relationship that ends with her broken and bruised, thinking little of herself. Now she must put together the pieces of the night he died, the night he went off the cliff.
I loved this story. Allie grew from a girl who thought she was the cause of all problems to a girl who was slowly coming to realize that she never did anything wrong. She was broken and needed to trust again. Trip made her who she was. Blake reminded her of who she used to be. She was in control of who she would become.
What first drew me to Breaking Beautiful was the kind of relationship Allie and Trip had and how she couldn't remember the night he died. Going in I knew this book would be an emotional roller coaster, but it wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be. I found myself happy, sad, giddy, and crying the entire way though. Allie was like most people who have been abused. She was ashamed, felt guilty and thought little of herself. The plot was slow in the beginning, but quickly built to the mystery surrounding what really happened. As Allie slowly regained her memory, I became more entranced in the story line. In the end, I didn't know who would ultimately be responsible until it was finally revealed. Best of all, two unexpected twists!
Overall, Breaking Beautiful was a wonderful read that kept me on the edge of my seat, dying to know how it would all end. I highly recommend this book!
Posted November 20, 2012
Jennifer Shaw Wolf has debuted with a heartbreakingly beautiful novel about love, death, and forgiveness. At first, it seems as though Allie just lost the perfect relationship. Allie and Trip were the perfect couple, and she was the golden girl who caught the heart of the local hottie as soon as she moved into town. Allie's despair appears to arise out of her heartache over losing Trip. However, mysteries and questions arise when Allie begins trying to live again and demons from her past come back to haunt her.
Allie is a bit of a weak heroine. Blake and her twin brother Andrew are forever looking after her, and her inability to stand up for herself puts the two boys through a number of difficult decisions. Even Andrew's girlfriend Caitlyn, a girl filled with vitality and a wild sense for fashion, has to step in for Allie at times to give her the push to stand up for herself. Nevertheless, I appreciate Allie as a character because all girls have a little bit of Allie in them--the desire to be loved, yet feeling unworthy of love; the desire to stand up for herself, yet lacking the confidence; and the desire to give back to loved ones, yet worrying that she'll hurt them instead.
There are different kinds of heroines in the world, and Allie expresses the characteristics of a girl who wants to love and be loved. She has made bad decisions in her lives, placing the ones who truly care about her in jeopardy. In the process, she has hurt, she has been hurt, and she has found love in the process: in romance, in family, and in friendship. Allie is surrounded by a cast of wonderful characters and a family that loves her, and she is threatened by some despicable villains. I am confused as to the intentions of the new detective in town, but overall he appears to be the kind of guy who gets his job done. Breaking Beautiful is the kind of book that you want to love, filled as it is with characters you want to cheer for, characters that you want to scold, and, yes, even characters that you want to hate.
Posted September 4, 2012
Really 3.5 stars
I was drawn to this book for the cover, especially the phrase on it: "Does time heal all wounds?" After reading the synopsis, I knew that this would be an emotional book, but I didn't realize just how many aspects of life this book would touch.
Since the night of the car accident involving her and her boyfriend, Allie has mostly stayed in her room, hardly talking to her parents or her twin Andrew, merely tolerating her friend Blake's presence when he comes to deliver her homework for the day. But when a new detective is brought to town to continue the investigation and learn what really caused Trip's (Allie's boyfriend) death, Allie realizes that she will have to go on with life as best as she can. Slowly Allie starts to rebuild her life, dealing with the sympathy from her fellow students and trying to maintain the pretense that she is alright, but she still cannot escape her memories. She knows that Trip was abusive, but she doesn't know what exactly happened the night he died. As her memories gradually return, she begins to question not only her friends but also herself. And through the course of her journey, she finds that things are not always black and white...
Breaking Beautiful does have an element of mystery and suspense, but what really makes this book are the characters. Although it was difficult to connect with Allie at first because she was so numb, as the story progressed, her thoughts and feelings became much more clear. I appreciated seeing the flashbacks of the night of the accident, as well as other times with Trip, as she came to remember them; these scenes really added to the story. I loved her relationship with Andrew; they were friends and tried to protect and care for each other rather than being simply bickering siblings. I also enjoyed Blake's character - who could help but fall for the tortured artist who clearly cared so much for Allie? He evoked almost as much sympathy as Allie, in his own way. Finally, I really liked Caitlyn's character and what she stood for. Throughout the book, Allie, Blake, Andrew, and Caitlyn could all be seen as victims in their own different ways, reminding us that everyone has their own burdens to bear and has to find their own ways to overcome them.
This book may have dealt with heavy, serious topics, but there were moments of startling normalcy and lightheartedness scattered throughout the story that relieved the tension and allowed me to really connect with the characters. After finishing the book, I have to admit that I am conflicted about one detail of the ending. Even though I understand why things happened the way they did, I wonder what the consequences might have been of that decision.
Breaking Beautiful is certainly a worthwhile read, full of meaning and important messages. I will look forward to reading more from Jennifer Shaw Wolf!
Posted August 26, 2012
Posted August 9, 2012
Posted July 25, 2012
This is a very emotional story that didn't let me go, with a main character that held my attention and a plot that uncovered piece by piece.
Allie lost her boyfriend and is in mourning, but that is not all there is to the story. She's forgotten all the events leading up to his death, she doesn't know if she's responsible, her best friend is responsible, or a dark mysterious James is to blame. She isn't sure if she wants the memories to come back or not. Allie definitely got my sympathy, though I really wished she would have had the courage to come forward with the abuse sooner, but I've been in those shoes and I know the mindset, and I can only imagine if the person was dead and it might just seem like you're trying to tarnish his name.
Blake is such a sweety and I was rooting for him right away. But again, with their blossoming romance that I wish would have started sooner in her life to save her lots of pain, with Trip just dying, I can see how she would be hesitant, and why she pushes him away like she does.
I also love the character of her brother Andrew. He is so strong in all the right ways, he may have a disability, but he uses his brain and his huge heart for those he cares about. I think that their relationship is so touching and it makes me want to have a sibling. And Caitlyn is such a great addition, I love her quirkiness and how she is so at home with who she is. I love a character who can look past the surface and see the hearts of others, and really hold on to that.
I really think the title is so appropriate, it is a sad book but in a beautiful kind of way... at least how everything turns into.
Posted July 12, 2012
So far i think that the overall book is really good.
It isnt boring in anyway yet and many people say that it was brilliantly written so im not worried about it being bad.
I know the author since her own daughter previously went to the same school as i did.. she was a smart cookie, always great in reading class and now i know why (:
Ive also met the author, myself once when she and the author of," Cinder" and other books came into my advanced reading class to do a booktalk.
I especially loved the title of the book because i am currently obsessed with a band called One Direction and their hit single right now is "What Makes You Beautiful" which was why, obviiudly the book caught my immediate attention. (:
You dont know you're beautiful
Thats what makes you beautiful ~~ <3
Posted July 4, 2012
Posted July 3, 2012
I really liked this book, and one simple reason is because I loved the character development. I say that because in this book there was a very definite change in Allie, our heroine, from the start of the book where she can't even get out of bed through to the end of the book. And it's not even just Allie who changes as she progresses through the senior year from hell.
I said earlier that this book had the best of teen drama and tragedy, and I mean that. We got the best of the drama as Trips ex girlfriend, Hannah, goes all crazy on Allie and the endlessness of the rumor mill turning this accident and the most innocent events into this drawn out insanity. You also get the tragedy because there is so much more to the accident than even the wildest imaginations can draw up (although Wolf's did a great job thinking it up).
I felt sorry for Allie as everyone vilifies her for surviving and not remembering what happened. I couldn't imagine having to face all of these people who adored this boy when you knew the real truth about him. It was heartbreaking to see this relationship had changed her and how it had impacted her relationship with everyone in her family including her twin brother.
I loved that Blake never seemed to give up on Allie despite how much she pushed him away. Its friends that like that people in difficult situations like hers need and it was great that she had him. I would tell you about the ending and why I liked it, but that would give too much away.
All in all, it was a quick read. Even if I wasn't trying to be a super reader, I still think that I would have read it in a day. So if you have a rainy day to kill, this is a great book to snuggle up with a remember how glad you are that you aren't in high school any more.
Posted June 22, 2012
Posted May 29, 2012
Breaking Beautiful absolutely blew my mind. This novel will break your heart and give you hope all at the same time. This is definitely a book that every teenage girl and every mother of a girl needs to read. Wolf puts the reader into the mind of a girl who survived a car accident that killed her boyfriend. However, she can't remember the events of that night because they were too traumatic. As the story unfolds we learn that Allie is not only the survivor of the car accident, but she's also the survivor of an abusive relationship. Wolf does a wonderful job of showing the long-term effects of abuse while allowing the reader to see exactly why many abuse survivors become defensive once their abuser is finally out of their lives. This is a story that needed to be told, and apparently Wolf was just the person to tell it.
Allie used to be a fearless and happy teenager. She had to move around a lot, so she never got to make friends (other than Blake), but she wasn't miserable by any means. Once her father retires from the military, she and her family move to a small town where her mother grew up in order to settle down. Allie begins dating Trip, and that's when her life starts to fall apart. Trip is abusive and keeps her isolated from everyone and everything. He severely beats her, but she's afraid to tell anyone because she thinks no one will believe her. Trip is the richest guy in town, too, of course.
Allie's character may seem weak to some, but she's actually very strong. She's a survivor, and while she may not have made the best decisions, her reasoning for the decisions she made is understandable. She's flawed, but likable. Blake is a fantastic character, and he, too, is imperfect. However, he has a good heart, and I simply loved him. Andrew, Allie's twin brother is also another surprise. He isn't at all what he seems. He loves his sister immensely, and even though he's in a wheel chair, he still tries to protect her. Allie's parents are pretty stupid most of the time, and they kind of got on my nerves. The towns people, as a whole, pissed me off, but some of them were okay. Overall, all of the characters were unique and well-developed. There weren't any filler characters.
The plot was mysterious and suspenseful. I was kept on the edge of my seat throughout most of the book, and I could not put it down. I carried my Kindle around with me for a few days just so I could read in between classes. The pacing is pretty spot on, and other than the very beginning, I didn't find any parts that slow moving. I had a hard time pushing through for the first 10% or so because the dialogue was so choppy. I think that was done to show Allie's state of mind, though, since the narration is first person from her perspective. Once I got past the first little bit though, I was glad I pushed through. I usually don't like contemporary, but this one really grabbed me.
The topic of this novel is dark, but it's something that needs to be talked about. I truly believe that if a dialogue is opened up about things like this, then that will help put a stop to at least some of the cases of abuse. This is an important novel, and I'm glad that Wolf was brave enough to take on this topic. I applaud her for her bravery and amazing writing skills. You're an inspiration, Jennifer Shaw Wolf. Thank you for this novel.
Posted May 28, 2012
First and foremost, I was so drawn to the cover of this book! It practically screams mystery and heartbreak and I felt like I needed to know what was up with the image. How did it tie-in to the story? What really happened to Allie and Trip? Thankfully this book pulled me into Allie's story from the first page. I found myself curious to discover what had really happened to Allie, both throughout her relationship with Trip and the night of the accident.
Allie is such a great character and I found that to be a really strong point for me with this book. She's clearly got a lot of complex feelings about her (former) relationship with her now-deceased boyfriend and you can tell she's torn. They were one of those "golden couples" that everyone thinks is happy and perfect...but no one knew the real Trip--the one that hurt her physically and mentally. Her family is great, especially her twin brother, Andrew. Their relationship is really strong but they both have secrets that it takes a lot to eventually share with each other.
Beyond Allie, I felt like all of the characters in this book were really well-developed. From her parents to her friend Blake and even the mean students at school, each person has a role to play in the story and a lot to learn along the way. They each have a special place in the broader story and I felt like they were, for the most part, dynamic in the way that they react to various situations throughout the story. If you're a character person, like me, then I definitely think this novel will be high on your list of favorites.
The story itself is well-crafted. The flashbacks that Allie has give you a perfect taste of what really went on with Allie and Trip's relationship without giving TOO much away too soon about the night that he died and what actually happened. As events are revealed toward the end, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the turns that the story took in resolving the mysteries hidden in Allie's memory.
Overall, this was a really fantastic read. The pacing is just right and you'll really fly through the pages. The characters will capture your heart and imagination. The story is full of a satisfying blend of mystery, heartbreak, pain, friendship, romance, and hope that will leave readers feeling content at the end. This is a great standalone debut novel that I highly recommend.
Posted May 27, 2012
Posted May 19, 2012
It kept me on my toes. Couldn't put it down. I just wish there had been more back story to the relationship between Trip and Allie. We didn't get much information of the two years they were together.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 18, 2012
Posted May 18, 2012
Disclaimers: I received an e-galley of this book in exchange fore my honest opinion.
My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: One of my fellow reviewers, Sara, said "I think I have an unhealthy interest in characters that suffer from memory loss." I'm first mate on the same ship. The idea of memory loss mixed in with an abusive relationship and I was hooked. That sounds morbid, but I love books where characters triumph over terrible things like abuse.
Allie managed to keep her abusive relationship a secret and those are the ones that break my heart. She didn't dare tell anybody the truth and that is terrible. And yet, Allie was a character that I really liked. She was one that I just wanted to hug and say don't you see how wonderful you are.
Enter Blake. I loved Blake from the moment he entered the novel. He was the best friend anybody could ask for and he stood beside Allie patiently. I loved watching Blake and Allie's relationship progress.
Another interesting aspect to this novel was watching Allie's memory return. Wolf kept me in suspense the whole time. Every time I thought that I had figured out how Trip died, she threw another curve at me.
Fans of dramatic realistic young adult novels will love this novel. I know I did. This novel was one that I couldn't read fast enough. Any time I had to stop reading, my mind remained centered on the novel and what would happen next.
In my book, Wolf's debut novel was a home-run and I definitely will keep tabs on her. Her writing was compelling, the characters intriguing, and the plot was incredible. A great novel. One of my favorites of the year.
In Summary: An intense, suspenseful realistic young adult novel that I ate up. I simply adored this novel. Definitely recommend this one.
The Wrap-up: A beautifully written novel that was poignantly written. A novel that I'm glad I got the chance to read. I would consider buying this one. Wolf definitely made an impression and like I mentioned I'll be looking forward to see what she writes next.
Posted April 30, 2012
Allie’s story is heartbreaking and having to read what she went through with her seemingly perfect boyfriend, Trip, was hard. I hate hearing stories of abuse where no one else seems to notice what’s going on and seeing that the victim is often covering up for her abuser. It is saddening that anyone has to go through that, especially a teen who is still discovering who they are. While this story is told after Trip dies, you are still taken back to see what Allie’s remembering of the night of the accident and with it you see the way her life really was.
As she discovers more and more of what really happened, even she is shocked at what she finds out. Her best friend and her brother are both wonderfully written characters, each compelling in their own right. The small town they live in, which was probably seen as charming at one point in time, isn’t so charming when people are accusing you of killing your boyfriend who they saw as the golden child. Allie is much stronger than she thinks she is, and eventually with a little help she realizes that and comes into her own. A touching, heartbreaking mystery.
Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
Posted April 24, 2012
This book was highly emotional and suspenseful. It's written in such a way that I simply could not put it down.
The book opens 4 weeks after Allie's accident and Trip's death with her family trying to get her out of bed. She is dealing with a crippling depression which at first you think is simply because of Trip's death, but as the story unfolds, you realize there is much more to this story. And the story definitely unfolds. Allie doesn't remember the night of the crash. Every time she thinks about it, the horrible scarring on her face and head throbs. She knows there are things that she simply doesn't want to remember.
But the book unfolds as pieces of Allie and Trip's relationship are revealed and she slowly starts to remember bits and pieces from that night. You get just tiny bits at a time. The bits you see combined with the town's attitude towards Allie are just awful. Allie broke my heart over and over throughout this book, but this is truly a train-wreck that you can't look away from. Her rock through it all is Blake, who has been her best friend in this small town since she was 4 or 5. Even though she treated him awfully in the two years that she dated Trip, he is the one person to stand by her, no matter what the town says. I really loved Blake's character and Allie's twin brother, Andrew.
This is a small town at its worst and Allie definitely takes the brunt of it. It's painful to read how they all treat her, even her own mother with her glowing attitude towards Trip and her scathing attitude towards Blake. It's painful to know that her mother never realized she was going through this horrible abuse. Who did realize was Andrew, Allie's twin brother, who is crippled by cerebral palsey. He knew (or at least sensed the abuse since Allie never told a single soul) but was too physically impaired to help fix things. Then there's Allie's dad who just retired from the Army, but has missed most of the last two years of Allie's life because of Army deployments and assignments.
What is so amazing about this book is the way that it's written. You never know what truly happened that night until the very end. It's really brilliant the way the author wrote this so that you get bits and pieces along the way. HIGHLY SUSPENSEFUL and TOTALLY RIVETING. I honestly did not put this book down once I started reading it. That being said though, this is not a happy book. Don't get me wrong, it ends well, but watching Allie go through it all is almost painful and is most definitely heartbreaking. This is a book about abuse and there is no doubt that Allie was a victim of it for two years. It's affected her...deeply....and it will affect you as a reader. But I do recommend it. It was an amazing read. Just don't expect to want to go out and have a party after you finish it.