We were floored, picked ourselves back up again, and were promptly knocked down once more by the brilliance that is Sara Barnard’s debut YA novel ‘Beautiful Broken Things’. It is a story of complex female characters, of friendship that delves into your chest and makes play-things of your emotions, and of growing up and learning what the world out there might be like for people outside of yourself.
We read this book just wanting to slip into the narrative and give all of the characters a long hard hug, lacking the ability to do that (yet, we’re still working on inter-book travel, give us time) we figured we could at least give each of the characters a book recommendation. Here are our choices for these three fantastic femmes:
Caddy or Cadnam (don’t ask, her parents thought it was a great idea) is our main narrator so we thought we’d start with her, and we instantly have the perfect book: ‘The Rest of Us Just Live Here’ by Patrick Ness.
Caddy – at least at the start of ‘Beautiful Broken Things’ – kind of worries that she’s a bit boring, that her friends (well, friend) might grow tired of her because she lacks ‘significant life events’. That’s why we thought this latest book by master of YA, Patrick Ness would be perfect for her. Ness’ story features your typical YA heroes, but only in the background and in the chapter openings. The main story focuses on Mikey, his sister and their friends, and they just want to get through high school and life as the ordinary people they are.
We think if Caddy read Ness’ book she’d really see the fact that even the most ‘ordinary’ people have fascinating and important stories to tell.
Rosie is Caddy’s best friend and has been since they were tiny. We want to recommend her Holly Smale’s ‘Geek Girl’ series because in lots of ways she reminded us of Harriet Manner’s best friend Nat.
She’s a strong character, and willing to defend her best friend to the death. She will stand up for her, protect her from all the horrible people you might encounter, and also try and push her out into the world when she’d rather be shy and just hide under tables. She’s also really funny and we think she would get a great kick out of the ‘Geek Girl’ humour. We’ve always thought that everyone needs a friend like Nat in their life and now we can also say everyone needs a friend like Rosie.
Finally, Suzanne. Suzanne is the new girl in this trio. New to
Brighton and the dynamic, when Caddy first meets her all she can see is this beautiful, confident, perfect girl (who might just steal her best friend). And this makes Suzanne laugh so much. Her, perfect? Caddy is so wrong! This is why we wanted to recommend Suzanne ‘Paper Towns’ by John Green.
‘Paper Towns’ spends a good amount of the novel smashing the manic pixie dream girl trope. The novel looks at the character of Margot, but through everyone else’s eyes, and everyone imagines Margot incorrectly. They have fantastical, perfect ideas of her, that are all so wrong. We feel Suzanne would really relate to being trapped in everyone else’s idea of her, with them having no idea who the real Suzanne is underneath, wanting to get away from everything and feeling trapped in the world around her. We think she’d read Margot and say, ‘Yes! That!’ so we think ‘Paper Towns’ would definitely be the book for her.
So those are our YA book recommendations for the characters of ‘Beautiful Broken Things’ let us know what you thought of them over at @maximumpopbooks.
Grab a copy of Sara Barnard’s fab debut HERE.
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