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ARC Review: Breaking Beautiful

my thoughts in a few sentences: Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf was a striking surprise, a contemporary read that reaches in and filleted my heart with slashing memories and circumstances that aggravate frustrated tears until they were falling everywhere. Have you ever watched the movie for or read the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson? The searing frustration on behalf of Melinda directed at the few people in her life who judge, mistreat, and refuse to believe her came rushing back to me in Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf. Allie’s telling quiet, instinctive flinches, and disloyal "friends" and family who have looked the other way while she was cut down and broken up in so many ways ignited my already boiling emotions to brimming. A gripping story with an engaging mystery, rending moments, and precious characters, Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf is a wonderfully-written and brutal tale of secrets refusing to stay under and a girl with nothing left but to move forward.

hooking first line: "The clock says 6:45, even though it's really 6:25."

Walker/Bloomsbury • NetGalley • Contemporary Romance • 4/24/12 • $13.92

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. 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 casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free? Debut writer Jennifer Shaw Wolf takes readers on an emotional ride through the murky waters of love, shame, and, ultimately, forgiveness.
From the moment Allie awakens from the car accident, she is running from the truth. A truth that exposes the secret she’s been hoarding to protect her boyfriend, yes, and herself, from shame, humiliation, and doubt. Over the years this secret has cost her a friend so hugely a part of her heart, time with her family, her safety and independence in such a ghastly way, and still, when the new police chief begs for her and Trip’s shared truth, she can’t bring herself to confess. It’s painful and hard to read as a sweet and innocent and inexperienced Allie is lured into quiet traps of old memories she longs to bury but can’t be rid of. And, all the while, the friend she thought she lost is more determined than ever to bring her from the brink she teeters on.

Everyone believes that Allie is in mourning over the town’s Golden Boy but she couldn’t feel more relieved, or guiltier about his death. It’s easy to assume, at first—especially if the summary hasn’t been read, that her relationship with this boy was a happy one and one that’s brought her to her currently lost, depressed, and terrified state. But as her memories begin creeping up from behind closed closets and pieces of others’ suspicions about the nature of her relationship, our suspicion, in turn, grows and solidifies. We become investigators, eager to know what transpired. And once the truth flashes in full, we are devastated and horrified, and the frustration with everyone else in Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf arises, because it doesn’t take us very long to put two and two together and yet so many have remained blind for most of the book and long before recent events.

Allie has struggled for so long with something so dark, something that’s kept her hiding in the shadows, that we can’t help but rejoice when Blake, her childhood best friend, squirms his way back into her life. So many have tried to dissect her thoughts, pry into her mind, they never bother to warm and comfort her heart, and Blake does. Slowly, gently, and thoroughly in way that’s as nonintrusive as possible and still firm. He’s been as harshly hurt as she and by her, which makes it all the more bittersweet when he attempts to recover what they had and moved past it. It quickly becomes clear that it’s not Allie who is personally attacked and judged, but Blake as well, hastily labeled, overlooked, and insulted almost as constantly as she, swiftly inciting our rage, causing us to want to lash out at all their enemies.

Between the mystery of how Trip came to have that dreadful car accident to the assortment of crimes turning up in the town all suspiciously leading back to Blake, rather intentionally and obvious, I was thoroughly riveted and rooted in the story, wondering who was behind each individual crime of whether from the past or from the new beginning Allie’s living. The shock of answers found I had so badly sought kept me slack-jawed for quite a bit once I finished Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf, and that helped me to realize that, yes, I deeply enjoyed this book for all the emotions the story tugged out of my core.

Rating: Sud-Kissed
Do you live in the USA? Well, guess what! I've got a giveaway for a copy going on right HERE!

Got something specific in mind? Dare I believe I might NOT have covered something you wish to know? If so, let me know down in the comments section. Don't be shy!


Sarah (saz101) said...

If I move to the USA, will you send it to me? I can come live with you, right? RIGHT ASHER???? RIIIIIGHT?


Heheheheh. AMAZING review, as ALWAYS... I shall not judge you on the absence of drawings... much :P

No, seriosuly... umm... I've had too much sugar and caffeine, and the pent up energy of participating in absolutely NO actiivity ALL day has sent me loopy. AMAZING review. REALLY serious issues involved, and it sounds as though it's been handled beautifully.

Seriously... eerytime I read one of your reviews, it makes me want to HUG YOU AND NEVER LET YOU GO!! ♥

Natalia Belikov said...

Excellent review my dear! So informative =D
It really sounds like a deep contemporary read. I will definitely moving this one up in my future to read pile. =D 

thnx for sharing my dear!
Dazzling Reads★  

Asher_Knight said...

 If you moved here, I'd be angry at you for giving up the Aussie life I've ALWAYS wanted to lead. But, if you came here anyway you WOULD INDEED be eligible for the giveaway. You can stay with me, of course. You'd just have to sleep on the couch. No guest rooms in my two bedroom apartment XD

THANK YOU <33 You like my drawings so much stalk my twitter! They're always up there!

I CAN TOTALLY TELL. But I love you for still taking the time out of YOUR busy day to comment on MY blog. And it does wring out your emotions so be prepared.

*hugs and doesn't let go* <3333

Asher_Knight said...

 Thanks, Natalia! I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did, but this one definitely strikes deep. It's harsh and heart-wrenching, and it means a lot.

Sarah (saz101) said...

 YOU MEAN I COULDN'T CLIMB INTO BED WITH YOU? We could sleep tops to tails? Too creepy? Maybe? Mwahaha... sorry... even I'm a bit weirded out by that...

err... maybe you were onto something with the hyper...


Asher_Knight said...

 OF COURSE... not. The problem? I take WAY too much space in my twin bed. THERE WOULDN'T BE ANY ROOM FOR YOU. XDD

*hugs back*

Erica said...

I really cannot wait to read this one - it looks so great!

Asher Knight said...

You'll definitely sympathize with the characters, because they've all got it pretty rough. Hope you like it!