Our Broken Pieces – Sarah White – HarperTeen – Published 8 August 2017
The only thing worse than having your boyfriend dump you is having him dump you for your best friend. For Everly Morgan the betrayal came out of nowhere. One moment she had what seemed like the perfect high school relationship, and the next, she wanted to avoid the two most important people in her life. Every time she sees them kiss in the hallways her heart breaks a little more.
The last thing on Everly’s mind is getting into another relationship, but when she meets Gabe in her therapist’s waiting room she can’t deny their immediate connection. Somehow he seems to understand Everly in a way that no one else in her life does, and maybe it’s because Gabe also has experience grappling with issues outside of his control. Just because they share so many of the same interests and there is an undeniable spark between them doesn’t mean Everly wants anything more than friendship. After all, when you only barely survived your last breakup, is it really worth risking your heart again?
Our Broken Pieces is a passionate YA romance, light, fun to read, and with a touch of sentimentality.
This book begins with the flip side to the usual YA happily-ever-after, found-my-soul-mate story. Everly lost her boyfriend and her best friend at the same time when they began a relationship behind her back. Now, she is battling anxiety and dodging them in the school hallways rather than fulfilling her dreams of senior year. But when she meets Gabe in her therapist’s office, they begin a new friendship that, amidst the trauma in their lives, soon becomes much more.
I didn’t have an all-encompassing romance in high school, so I’m probably in no position to judge as I’m sure it’s all very heartbreaking and traumatising, but I must admit to being the tiniest bit cynical. I would make a horrible friend, because I would probably say something sensitive like, get over it, you’re better off without them. Yeah, I know, I’m a lovely person. But sarcasm aside, this book does make Everly’s torment completely understandable. So, I surprised myself by feeling totally sympathetic to her situation. And really, it would be impossible to dislike Everly. She does the right thing regarding her broken relationship, she takes the rumours and broken friendships it creates and doesn’t retaliate, she is a good student, good daughter, good sister, friendly, and even volunteers at a retirement home.
This book revels in the excitement and Americanism of the last days of high school. Gabe and Everly are seniors about to graduate. Everly and Gabe connect amidst the planning and celebrations of promposals and last year pranks. There is an air of excitement, finality and the possibilities of the future. Yet set against this joy is the heartbreak and conflict they are both trying to control.
Everly and Gabe’s relationship was surprisingly a lot of fun to read. Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and read something light. Gabe’s endless smiles and support of Everly was rather wonderful and Everly returns the sentiment by supporting him through his family trauma. However, the book doesn’t shy away from some hard topics, giving room for both Gabe and Everly’s grief and hardship. Their connection felt genuine, with many conversations and time spent growing a friendships before becoming romantic and physical. This book is a cross over between mature young adult and new adult, both because of the sexual content and the focus on the end of high school and transition to higher learning.
Our Broken Pieces is very pro therapy, which is great – though the therapist’s got nothing on the advice Everly’s sister Rosie hands out. I liked that while the romance is the focus of the story, this book has many other features including a great cast of secondary characters and it raises some important issues regarding friendship, family, and mental health.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Relationships, romance, breakups, last year of high school, therapy, family, mental health, anxiety.
Reading age guide: Ages 15 and up.
Advisory: Occasional coarse language, f*** (7), sh** (1). Sex scenes with details but no crude language. Mature themes, references to attempted suicide.
Published: 8 August 2017 by HarperTeen.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 288 pages.