Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

When I was first given Beautiful Broken Things I was expecting a story of teenage debauchery, a bit of crazy fun. What I was not expecting was a compelling story about strong female friendship or the devastation that mental illness can wreak.

Caddy can’t imagine a life without her best friend Rosie. Weekends are always spent together, daily phone calls are never missed and everyone knows that where Caddy goes Rosie goes too. That is, until Rosie meets Suzanne: a beautiful, confident young woman whom Caddy immediately sees as a threat to her friendship with Rosie. But what Caddy doesn’t know is that Suzanne has a broken past – Suzanne doesn’t care about the consequences of her actions, and Caddy finds that pretty exciting. As Suzanne leads Caddy into more and more trouble, Rosie starts to step back. For the first time in their lives Rosie and Caddy’s friendship may be about to be broken.

Beautiful Broken Things is not just about mental illness, it’s about self confidence and the lack of it that is all too prevalent in teenage years. It’s also about the ups and downs of young adult friendships. I think it is important that more YA books are tackling mental health and readers who enjoyed books such as Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places and Gayle Forman’s I Was Here should give this book a go.

Ages 13 and up.

Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.