(Please excuse the dying succulents in this featured image. I’m hoping to re-pot/propagate some of them soon, so hopefully that will help!)
Happy weekend, readers! It is my pleasure to share with you today a book review for a new favorite of mine, The Art of Breaking Things. Be sure to read to the end of the post, because I have a book giveaway in store as well!
In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson and Sara Zarr, one girl embraces the power of her voice: rules are meant to be broken and she won’t stay silent.
Seventeen-year-old Skye has her sights set on one thing: getting the heck out of Dodge. Art school is her ticket out and she’s already been accepted to her first choice, MICA. All she has to do is survive her senior year, not get too drunk at parties, and be there for her little sister, Emma. Sure, she’s usually battling a hangover when she drives to pick Emma up, but she has everything under control. Until he returns.
When her mom’s ex-boyfriend slithers his way back into her family, it’s all Skye can do to keep the walls of her world from crumbling. Her family has no idea Skye has been guarding a dark secret about her past–about him–and she never thought she would have to face him again. She knows she has to get away from him at all costs. But how can she abandon Emma? Skye’s heart is torn between escaping the man who hurt her years ago and protecting her loved ones from the monster in their midst. Running away from her fears isn’t an option. To save her sister–and herself–she’ll have to break all the rules.
I am so, so glad that I got the chance to read an ARC of The Art of Breaking Things, because it is a stunningly beautiful book that, while intense, is 100% worth the read.
Here are the reasons why I liked it:
🎨 Honest and raw portrayal of sexual abuse
Being immersed in Skye’s world is painful at times. From the flashbacks interspersed throughout the novel that gradually clue the reader in about Skye’s mistreatment as a young kid, to her conversations with her mom later on, I felt for Skye so much. My heart broke for her, I rooted for her, and I felt like I understood her, which I think is a true sign of good writing. While Skye makes a lot of bad decisions over the course of the book, I felt like I understood how her past experiences led to those choices.
Ultimately, I think what Skye’s story tells us as readers is that (1) speak out when you’re ready, because it’s important, and (2) if someone does something bad to you, it’s not your fault, and these messages are so important for people to hear.
I know from the acknowledgements that the book at least somewhat draws on the author’s own experiences, and the care and heart that she put into this novel are evident.
🎨 Close sister relationship
Sibling! Stories! Are! Everything!
Seriously you all know that I am such a sucker for sibling relationships in books, so Skye’s relationship with her younger sister, Emma, was one of my favorite aspects of the novel. I liked its complexity—these sisters fight sometimes, which is realistic, but they’re also deeply protective of each other, and I think this is why I found their relationship so relatable.
🎨 Supportive friendships
Luisa and Ben are Skye’s two main friends, and I really like both of their characters. I love how Luisa is always there for Skye but also doesn’t push when she knows that Skye doesn’t want to talk, and I enjoyed reading the gradual romance between Skye and Ben, which, in contrast to some other relationships in the book, was healthy and based on consent.
There is also another budding friendship in the book between Skye and Keith, and I enjoyed seeing how this friendship developed as well.
🎨 Subverts the girl hate trope
So Skye has this ex-best friend, Ellen. There’s a bit of drama, and typically, media portrays these types of relationships between girls as hateful, one-dimensional and quote-unquote “b*tchy,” but instead, Ellen is actually a decent person with character development and that just made me really happy.
🎨 Use of art as a tool for healing and self-expression
There is so much art in this book, and I love it. Skye and Ben are both artists, and Ben is a musician as well, and the art that they create comes alive through the pages of the novel. I’ll describe this vaguely to avoid spoiler, but one of my favorite parts of the book is how Skye uses her art to speak her truth.
🎨 In my opinion, a pretty accurate portrayal of teenagers
As far as I can tell, and being a teenager myself, the teens in The Art of Breaking Things seemed pretty spot-on. This quote says it all:
There are probably memes of me at this point.
Please note that all quotes are from an uncorrected galley and may appear differently in the final copy.
The Art of Breaking Things is definitely going on my favorites list for this year! This book is emotional and intense and just really well-written.
Warnings: sexual abuse by an adult to a child (narrated and talked about after it happens); sexual content between teens (in some cases consensual, in others not); teen alcohol and drug use (not portrayed in a very positive light, but present in a large amount)
I had the pleasure of attending the launch event for this book , where I was able to get a finished copy, so I wanted to give away my ARC in order to help get this amazing book into as many hands as possible!
There are more detailed rules in the Rafflecopter (I had to figure out how to write a Terms & Conditions thingy, which was a little scary, tbh), but here are the main rules you should know:
- US only (Sorry! I can’t afford to ship internationally right now.)
- 13+ with parental permission to share your address if you win
- If you win, I’ll email you, and you’ll have 3 days to respond—if you don’t, I’ll pick a different winner.
- The giveaway ends on 6/29/19 at 12:00 A.M. EST.
Here is the link to the giveaway.
As I bring this post to a close, I’ll leave you with the book’s dedication, which I think is beautiful and one of my favorite dedications I’ve read:
To all the girls who haven’t been heard yet.
Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments—will you be picking up The Art of Breaking Things? Have you ever attended a book launch event? And what are your favorite types of relationships to read about in books? (siblings, parents, friends, romance, etc.)
Thank you so much to Laura Sibson for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book! This in no way affected my review.