The Museum of Broken Things

Lauren Draper

The Museum of Broken Things
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The Museum of Broken Things

Lauren Draper

A humorous, beautifully observed YA novel about overcoming grief amid the vulnerability of high school relationships.   

I didn’t always live here. Not so long ago I was living in a thriving metropolis with more than one coffee shop on each block and four full bars of reception. I went to Heathmont High School, home to one thousand students, two best friends, a deeply average orchestra, and one cursed statue. Well, allegedly.   

Reece still isn’t used to living in the small beachside town of Hamilton- she misses her old school, her old friends and her old life. She can’t go back and she can’t move forward- nothing feels right anymore. Not that she’s trying very hard-she hasn’t even unpacked yet, and the only new friend she’s made is a middle-aged barista.     

But when Reece inherits a strange artefact that belonged to her beloved grandmother, she begins to unravel a mystery that might change the way she feels about everything around her, including her charismatic classmate Gideon…   

A lively, witty novel about letting go of the past and finding your place in the world, The Museum of Broken Things introduces a dazzling new voice in contemporary fiction.

Review

The Museum of Broken Things ticks quite a few of the boxes in contemporary YA writing: a mysterious past trauma, a good-looking love interest and the loneliness of relocation. Luckily the plot broadens into some interesting themes that provide added depth and mystery.

Reece has moved from the suburbs to a seaside town where her grandmother lived. She is recovering from an incident that has her floundering in a no-man’s-land of fractured friendships and haunting memories, and then her beloved grandmother dies, leaving her a puzzling antique memento. As she explores its provenance, she becomes concerned her grandmother is implicated in the disappearance of some young women in the 1940s.

Alongside this she struggles to balance a new social life with her final-year studies at high school. Up until a year ago she had wanted to be a doctor, following in her mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps, but she has since changed her mind. There is also the developing friendship with her classmate Gideon, who she feels a strong attraction for, but he also has a problem that is affecting his life.

Lauren Draper’s novel grabs your attention and emotions right from the start. It explores young adults finding their way and sometimes losing it and having to face the consequences. It highlights that the past nearly always impacts on the present, and having the strength and moral barometer to face up to predicaments. Most of all it is a story with a lot of heart and some great humour. Highly recommended for ages 14+.


Alexa Dretzke is from Readings Hawthorn

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