Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia (401 pages)
Overview: Payton is having the perfect day, complete with a letter of acceptance to play division one soccer at UNC-Chapel Hill the next year, when everything goes wrong at a party she doesn't even want to go to. By the end of the night, she's in the hospital with a destroyed knee after her boyfriend shoves her down the stairs when she breaks up with him for his steroid abuse. When threats start coming in when Payton speaks out, her mother moves her in with her uncle in Black Water, Tennessee to focus on rehab there till everything calms down. Though the move is the last thing Payton wants, she may discover it is just what she needs. Overall: 5
Characters: 5 I love Payton. She's the perfect mix of snark, seriousness, emotion, and power. Outspoken and bright, but also world weary, she tells a difficult story in a way that makes you laugh, cry, and swoon at all the right moments.
The people who surround her are also perfectly written. Her Black Water friends form the perfect group for her healing, and I loved her cousin's characters. They start out with a very "Southern gentleman" mentality, preset with strong notions about gender stereotypes. My favorite scene is in the second to last chapter because it really shows the full arc that they make and how Payton influenced them.
Garcia also succeeds in making Reed, Payton's abusive ex-boyfriend and stalker, truly scary. While Payton becomes an expert at brushing it off, Reed's obsession is shown in a very deep and intimidating way.
Plot: 5 This story took so many roads that I didn't anticipate. Even though this story isn't a thriller, it had me on the edge of my seat, wondering what was in store next. It's a very dynamic book that surprised me both with how complete the character and plot arcs are.
Writing: 5 Garcia keeps a fast pace with this book. I read it in two days with ease, and, despite it's length, she really needs every word she uses. Garcia didn't just make a book, she opens up a pocket into Payton's world and seals the gap behind them leaving the reader to live Payton's life and experience everything right there with her.
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