Title of Book: Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf
GoodReads Rating: 3.96
Allie’s life is turned upside down when her very popular boyfriend, Trip, dies in a car accident and she survives. She does not remember anything from that night. In her small town, some people resent her because they wish she had been the one to die instead of Trip. Others think she murdered Trip, especially when she becomes romantically involved with a new boy, Blake. Her only support is her parents and her special needs brother. Was Trip murdered? If so, who did it? This plot is mysterious with several twists and turns.
APA Reference of Book:
Wolf, J. S. (2012). Breaking beautiful. New York, NY: Walker Childrens.
I enjoy a good mystery and this one did not disappoint. It had moments of excitement, romance, and terror. However, it avoided the graphic violence that so many young adult novels have today. Some might find Allie’s romantic relationship with Blake to be cheesy; however, I found it charming. The reader is able to see the world from Allie’s perspective as she tries to remember what happened that night. Through seeing her viewpoint, we begin to wonder if some secrets dwell inside Allie, of which she is not aware. We wonder if she is a trustworthy narrator. There are also some shady characters in the town, such as Trip’s parents and friends, who might have had a motivation to kill him. Overall, this is a fun mystery/thriller which I think middle and high schools, especially girls, would enjoy.
Gr 7 Up–Eighteen-year-old Allie’s life changes in an instant when her boyfriend, Trip Phillips, drives off a cliff in small-town Pacific Cliffs. Allie survives the wreck but wishes her secret would have died with him. She is haunted by the fact that Trip was physically and emotionally abusive. She can’t remember that fatal night but is sure that the incident wasn’t an accident. Maybe her twin brother was trying to protect her from Trip’s abuse, or maybe it was her best friend, Blake. Regardless, the case is reopened as suspicious circumstances begin to emerge, and Allie must relive that night and find the courage to speak up about the abuse even though she fears that no one will believe her. Teens will be consumed by the mystery, and romantics will hope that Allie and Blake can make it even though it seems that the town is against them. The author has done a good job of helping readers understand the accident as it is told in flashbacks yet intertwined with present-day events. The story unfolds in a convincing manner; nothing is left open-ended, which leaves readers sure that Allie is no longer in turmoil, and that she has moved forward.
Alexander, K. (2012). Breaking Beautiful. School Library Journal, 58(3), 178-179.
This book would be perfect for a high school book club. Assuming the readers agree to read at the same pace (in other words, read ONLY chapter 1-3 for week 1, etc.), they could share their speculations about the plot. Furthermore, they could share these speculations through creating a “suspects” board such as the ones seen on tv crime shows. This would allow a simple art project to be incorporated into this high school book club meetings.