Thursday, October 2, 2014

ARC Review: Beauty of the Broken by Tawni Waters

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: September 30th, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 368 pgs
ISBN: 9781481407090
Source: Received for an honest review from the publisher

Summary from Goodreads:
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?

My Review: 

I remember being excited to read this book. I haven't written my review for quite some time because I'm conflicted about it. The premise of this story is a girl who lives with an alcoholic abusive father. He has seriously hurt her brother to the point where he has an acquired brain injury. During all this the protagonist is dealing with the fact that she is attracted to women.
This storyline was guaranteed to be a win for me. As depressing as it may be, I really like reading abuse stories and I also love LGBT stories. Well I have to say that the book was a win for me for most of the story. I felt so much for Mara and her brother and I hated the parents for so many reasons. I felt outraged by the way the mother cowered to her husband, allowing abuse to take place. I wanted to smack the father upside the head for the way he treated his children. I wished I could have taken Mara and her brother in and take care of them.
I liked reading about Mara exploring her sexuality and really trying to come into her own in an oppressive setting. Her struggle is real and many people have to face it, unfortunately.
All of these positives were slightly ruined by the ending. I don't want to spoil anything so if you don't want to know then don't read this part....

*** SPOILER ****

.... but the end of was so depressing! Nothing was cleared up and I just felt a sense of doom over the whole thing. I would much prefer a struggle that leads to something positive. I know that the world is not all rainbows and unicorns but I'd like to think that hope should have been alive a bit.
Blah! End rant.


So as you can see I am torn in how I feel about it. I liked most of the book so does the part that I didn't like cancel out the good? Have you ever read a book like that? If so, which ones? I'm curious. I don't even want to say whether or not I'd recommend it; I'm too on the fence about the whole thing.
Try at your own risk is what I guess I'd say.  


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