Friday, November 24, 2017


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Rating: 3 of 5 stars 

Broken Girls by J. M. Ryan is a young adult work of fiction about a teen girl who was once a part of a "mean girls" clique and quickly falls from grace and becomes the persona non grata amongst her high school peers.

In just under 200 pages, Ryan crafts a story that touches on many important and relevant topics to teenagers today including popularity, academic success and college pursuits, grief, shame, divorce, friendship, and peer pressure. The book is narrated by the unlikable protagonist, Candace. We meet her and her friends: Luke (boyfriend), Drea, Allison, and Mindy. Very early in the book, we learn of an act her father commits that vastly changes the course of her senior year in high school. While Candace starts off as unlikable, the author does develop her character throughout the novel. Candace doesn't become totally likable by the end, but we do see growth in her, which makes the story more realistic.

I enjoyed the story and its related themes, but there were a couple of issues I had with the book. In my opinion, the author opened the story by introducing too many characters in the first few paragraphs. It was difficult to discern what role each one was going to play. Because many of the young girls in this book were influenced by peer pressure, their personalities were similar, so I had to jot down the names and a brief description to keep them straight in my mind. Candace, narrates the novel, but we don't learn her name well into first chapter of the book. Broken Girls is Ryan's debut novel, and I can certainly tell that it was a labor of love; however, there is definitely some more polishing that could have been done. I found several typos (probable instead of probably; Robbie when the character had been referred to as Robby for 2/3 of the book). I felt that some of the language the author used wasn't typical of the way teens speak today, and the Shannon character could have been more fully developed (or removed from the story). As a character, the author hinted that Shannon was going through some very difficult (maybe even criminal) situations, but the introduction of that information wasn't carefully constructed or resolved.

Recommendation: For the young adult audience, I think this book would bring about meaningful discussion on topics that most teens face. My only caution is that there is heavy language and some sexually-explicit scenes. I was gifted an electronic copy of this book in exchange for a critical review.

Until next time ... Read on!


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