Breaking Beautiful

Breaking Beautiful

4.3 52
by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

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A dark romance with a gripping murder mystery from an exciting debut voiceSee more details below


A dark romance with a gripping murder mystery from an exciting debut voice

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On the night of Allie’s 18th birthday, she and her boyfriend, Trip, get into a horrible car accident. Trip drives over a cliff and dies, and although Allie survives, her memory of the night is patchy. She refuses counseling, but when a detective comes to her small Northwest town to reopen the investigation, her dark memories of Trip’s abuse and the fateful night resurface (“Everyone thinks I have survivor’s guilt. What would they say if they knew what was really inside?”). Allie feels attacked from all angles: at school she’s resented by Trip’s friends, and at home she’s smothered by her parents and her concerned twin brother, who has cerebral palsy. Her only ally is her childhood friend and crush Blake, whose troubled past makes him a suspect in the accident that killed Trip. When Allie receives threatening notes written in Trip’s handwriting, she is finally forced to confront her memories. Wolf’s debut impressively weaves Allie’s chilling memories with present-day drama. Part romance, part mystery, this solid outing offers a persuasive portrait of guilt and recovery. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sara Megibow, Nelson Literary Agency. (Apr.)
VOYA - Marla K. Unruh
Allie just cannot handle school anymore—not since the accident that took her boyfriend Trip's life and left her with a gash in her head. Normally, she would be up and getting ready for school in the morning, but now she does not leave her room. First, her mother checks on her, then her twin brother in his wheelchair. She overhears her parents talking about a new investigation into the accident. Will she have to relive the whole thing? The scars left by the accident are not the only wounds she carries. There are also the bruises left by Trip. Shaw gets inside the head of a girl suffering guilt, loss, and relief at the death of her abusive boyfriend; and crafts a realistic journey through, not only recovery, but also the mine field of anger and blame from Trip's friends and family. Shaw's characters, both adult and teen, are well-drawn: Hannah, Trip's nasty-nice former girlfriend; Trip's overbearing father; Allie's concerned parents; and Blake, the loyal best friend since childhood. Allie's twin brother, Andrew, though confined to a wheelchair, also plays a dynamic and important part. With just-right pacing, the author pulls all the threads together for a surprising, but satisfying ending. Teenage girls, especially, will find this novel an illuminating story, but it is more than "chick lit." Any young person can identify with Allie's struggle. Reviewer: Marla K. Unruh
Children's Literature - Bonita Herold
Allie doesn't remember the accident, and she is not sure she wants to. She has a terrible secret to hide. Her dad has been an absentee parent due to military obligations, and her mom sees only what she wants. She can't turn to them for help. She won't even tell Andrew, her twin brother. She is too ashamed. Confined in a wheelchair, he would only feel frustrated at his inability to help. If she had spoken out from the beginning, maybe her senior year would be something to embrace, rather than dread. Blake would be her boyfriend, and the very popular Trip would not be dead. As it is, eyes watch her every move, waiting for her to mess up, haunting her. Everything is her fault. Wanting—no, needing—to unearth the mystery at the very root of the novel will force the reader to quickly turn the pages. This powerful tragedy/mystery/romance dealing with a young woman's self-imposed prison created by lies and confusion rivals the works of Sarah Dessen. That's no mean feat. While the main audience may be teenage girls, women of all ages will clamor for more novels by Wolf. Reviewer: Bonita Herold
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Eighteen-year-old Allie's life changes in an instant when her boyfriend, Trip Phillips, drives off a cliff in small-town Pacific Cliffs. Allie survives the wreck but wishes her secret would have died with him. She is haunted by the fact that Trip was physically and emotionally abusive. She can't remember that fatal night but is sure that the incident wasn't an accident. Maybe her twin brother was trying to protect her from Trip's abuse, or maybe it was her best friend, Blake. Regardless, the case is reopened as suspicious circumstances begin to emerge, and Allie must relive that night and find the courage to speak up about the abuse even though she fears that no one will believe her. Teens will be consumed by the mystery, and romantics will hope that Allie and Blake can make it even though it seems that the town is against them. The author has done a good job of helping readers understand the accident as it is told in flashbacks yet intertwined with present-day events. The story unfolds in a convincing manner; nothing is left open-ended, which leaves readers sure that Allie is no longer in turmoil, and that she has moved forward.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI

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Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
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Barnes & Noble
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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