Other Broken Things by Christa Desir
Published by Simon Pulse on January 12, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 256 – hardcover & ebook
Format Read: paperback ARC
Nat’s not an alcoholic. She doesn’t have a problem. Everybody parties, everybody does stupid things, like get in their car when they can barely see. Still, with six months of court-ordered AA meetings required, her days of vodka-filled water bottles are over.
Unfortunately her old friends want the party girl or nothing. Even her up-for-anything ex seems more interested in rehashing the past than actually helping Nat.
But then a recovering alcoholic named Joe inserts himself into Nat’s life and things start looking up. Joe is funny, smart, and calls her out in a way no one ever has.
He’s also older. A lot older.
Nat’s connection to Joe is overwhelming but so are her attempts to fit back into her old world, all while battling the constant urge to crack a bottle and blur that one thing she’s been desperate to forget.
Now in order to make a different kind of life, Natalie must pull together her broken parts and learn to fight for herself.
**Thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with an uncorrected proof of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
A few years ago, I read Christa Desir’s Fault Line and Bleed Like Me, and let me tell you, I absolutely loved them. Desir knows how to weave a dark, gritty, compelling story that is sure to pull you in from the start – which is what happened with this book. There are so many elements that combined together beautifully that help pull you in. The realistic characters, plot, and – of course – writing.
My favorite element was the truthful way the characters were portrayed. Our MC has a no-nonsense, rude attitude, but that doesn’t stop us from feeling sympathetic toward her. There is so much development everywhere, not only by the MC, but by secondary side characters too, which contributed to the realistic atmosphere the story successfully conveyed. Also, the older characters were a refreshing change from other ‘recovering addict’ stories that were practically just filled with teenagers.
I felt like the dialogue in this book meant something, too. They outlined many of the problems teens face when they try to grow up too fast, which is what happened to Natalie. The discussions were handled very skillfully & truthfully, evoking the reader’s emotions along the way.
I love how we slowly learn about Natalie’s backstory and past throughout the story; the way they were revealed definitely showed great plot progression. The writing also had a hand in the story’s overall flow. It was conversational and slangy, yet very fluent, making it easy to read along.
However, the one issue that made me give this book such a hesitant rating was Joe’s age. It kind of made me uncomfortable, so I had to ignore it – which wasn’t easy as it was central to the plot. When the blurb said he was “Much older”, I didn’t expect it to be THAT much older. The guy’s almost 30! Frankly, it’s kind of gross. As pointed out by Joe, Natalie is newly sober. She doesn’t know what she wants yet; I think it’s just unhealthy.
Overall, this book’s compelling story, realistic characters, and communicative writing makes it worth adding to your TBR. I’m warning you, however, if you typically feel extremely grossed out by books that portray teen-adult relationships, then I’m afraid this isn’t for you. Keep that in mind.
Rating: 3 fish