Before reading Beautiful Broken Girls, I didn’t actually have the chance to read Kim Savage’s debut novel, After the Woods. I did, however, hear nothing but amazing things about that book, so it really sparked an interest in her new book. When I got an ARC of this one, I was over the moon, and when I started reading, I really expected it to have really great characters, a mysterious plot, and be the type of book that would be really memorable long after I had finished reading.
Unfortunately, Beautiful Broken Girls wasn’t any of those things to me – in fact, I found myself annoyed by the flat, cookie cutter like characters, and almost bored by the plot in this book, which I assumed would be thrilling and a fun mystery to have to unravel as the book went on, but was clearly mistaken.
Beautiful Broken Girls starts off with authorities removing two bodies from the quarry – twin sisters Mira and Francesca Cillo. Apparently they had drowned in the quarry, and no one in town knows why – including Mira’s ex-boyfriend Ben, who began noticing changes in Mira’s personality long before the girls ended their lives.
While the rest of the town simply starts to come to terms with their deaths and stops asking questions, such as why they would do what they did, their deaths still bother Ben, who is determined to get to the bottom of it. When a note for Ben shows up, instructing him to go to the places where the two of them had touched to find more clues, Ben sets out to figure out what happened, collecting the little pieces of Mira’s secrets, one by one, until things start to make sense.
Only Ben begins jumping to conclusions as he unravels the mystery, accusing the girls’ father of something horrible. Did he do what Ben is accusing him of? Or was it something else altogether, something that Mira and Francesca could never get over?
The book is divided up into several sections, into the places that Ben had touched Mira – palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. While the majority of the book is told from Ben’s point of view, the ends of each section has a little glimpse into the lives of the Cillo sisters – Francesca, who was trying to convince those around her that she was a saint, so that she could win the affection of a certain someone in the church, and Mira, constantly looking out for and taking care of her sister. I thought this was a nice touch, as it was written in a way to allow you to get a look into the lives of all the main characters in the book, but at the same time, I didn’t really feel like it was enough to really get to know the characters well enough. The brief look into the lives of the Cillo sisters did make me feel a little more connected to them, but not enough to really find myself drawn into the mystery that was their lives.
As far as Ben goes, I didn’t really connect with him, either – he was quick to jump to conclusions, and he didn’t seem to value the thoughts or opinions of anyone else around him. It’s obvious that he cared about what happened to the girls, especially Mira, and this is partly fueled by the fact that he was abused by his coach in the past. While this isn’t really discussed much in the book, it’s brought up a few times. I kind of wish we could have had a bit of an idea of what Ben’s character was like before the abuse occurred, so we could see how it had shaped him as a person, but that happened before the events of the book, and there weren’t any flashbacks for Ben.
The mystery that Ben is attempting to unravel is lackluster at best; it wasn’t really all that interesting, unfortunately – I had hoped it would have been one to keep me up reading until the early morning hours, but I felt a little bored by it.
Does this book have an emotional scene or two? Yes, it does. While talking about that here would ruin the mystery for others, just let me say that when I learned what happened with the Cillo girls, I felt incredibly sad about it. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was understandable, the way it pushed the girls to do what they did.
Just because I didn’t care for this book doesn’t mean I’m not going to go back and read After the Woods – I heard so many good things about that book that I’m still super excited to read it. I wish this would have been better – I has hoping for more of a thrilling novel, but if you are one for a book with a milder mystery to it, then this might be one for you.