Thursday, February 9, 2017

Beautiful Broken Girls - Kim Savage

Beautiful Broken Girls 
Kim Savage
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary,
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenges: N/A

The quarry had absorbed the girls, delivering them to a place where they would remain untouched by hands, and unbroken by hearts. 
This book began with the discovery of the Cillo sisters' bodies tangled together at the bottom of the quarry lake, and Ben in a state of denial about their death. Before the sisters excommunicated themselves from society, Ben had had a relationship with Mira Cillo, and now she was reaching out to him from beyond the grave with a series of letters. There were seven letters hidden in locations associated with the seven places Ben touched Mira - Palm, Hair, Chest, Cheek, Lips, Throat, Heart. With the discovery of each letter, Ben came closer to uncovering what drove the sisters to their fate, but he also began to unravel as he worked through his grief of losing Mira (twice) and came to terms with his own painful past.
Was death a germ you could catch
This is my first Kim Savage book, and I found her writing quite beautiful. She perfectly captured the somber tone. This town was plagued by pain and loss. It was clearly conveyed with the backstory provided, as well as through each character's own story. It seemed like everyone in this town was in need of healing. And, YES! I will admit, when I started reading it, Virgin Suicides slipped right into my head. It had a similar aura with the strange, mysterious, tragic, beautiful sisters and their secret lives. It wasn't a bad thing. It was a different tempo for me, but I thought Savage pulled it off quite well. I was invested in this story, which I found more character driven than plot driven. I found myself reading on and on, because I wanted to know what led this girls to end their lives and I wanted to know if Ben was able to find any closure.
Here's what we learned: when you touch things, they can break. 
The story alternates between Ben's present as he is collecting the letters and trying to make sense of this tragedy, and the Cillo sisters' past, as we learn about the events that lead up to their deaths. I thought this construct was quite suited to the story. I enjoyed flipping back and forth with the story slowly unfolding. Savage led me on several different paths, but at one point, I was able to deduce what really happened before it was unveiled. I will admit, I like to work the puzzle pieces in the story, and was not disappointed in figuring it out prematurely. (In fact, I patted myself on the back)
Mira loved him for the damage inflicted on him, the kind of damage that her touch might heal
If you pressed me for one word to describe this story, I would say heartbreaking. As I previously mentioned, everyone seemed so broken, and the calamities just appeared to be piling up as we moved through this book. Then there was the entire concept of touch explored by Savage. There were physical touches (good and bad), there were mental touches, and then there was this spiritual touch. I found it compelling that the idea kept popping up, and enjoyed her examination of the concept.
"You broke us!" it shrieked. "Every single one of you broke us!"
Overall: A heartbreaking and emotional journey in discovering the truth about oneself and those they cared for.

**I would like to thank NetGalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for the advanced copy of this book

Do you enjoy books with broken characters?
Let us know in the comments!

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