3 out of 4 stars
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Imagine a world where your relationships don’t make sense, people act like they care, but do they? Is there something stopping them from being able to be invested in their relationships? Perhaps they just don’t care, but you really don’t know.
Elizabeth Courtright has woven a beautiful story in broken & BEAUTIFUL that takes her readers on a rollercoaster of emotions. There are four protagonists who are sharing life together. Casey and Aster have been friends since middle school. Matt and Kyle have been friends for a bit longer. The four meet as young adults, quickly becoming friends and couples. Living together can often create some interesting situations. Each couple has their own trials that are vastly different from each other. For one, child abuse that they suffered affects their abilities to manage emotions. For another, not knowing their real parents is an obstacle. As they grow older and want more, will they overcome these complications? Tragedy will strike, but not in the way the reader will expect.
The way the characters develop and grow in this story is amazing. Each of them is compelling in their own right, changing with time, as they become who they are as adults. Watching one go from not knowing who one is as a person to finding meaning in life is incredible and poignant, making the reader cry as they connect to the characters. With this particular story, it is difficult to explain the developments further without spoilers.
One of the major themes in the story is childhood abuse. The details can be graphic at times, making me cringe, as I could imagine the abuse occurring. The author demonstrated how families cover up abuse, so knowing the signs is important. What was lacking were resources for adult survivors of abuse. I felt like this would have been helpful to readers, so that they could seek help for themselves or help a friend. Foster care and adoption are also themes in the book, giving the reader perspectives not often heard. The author is donating all proceeds of the book to the “Third Chance Foundation,” which offers college scholarships to former foster and adopted children.
The story does start a bit slow, and has a few slow parts, but is overall a worthy story, which I rate at 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend broken & BEAUTIFUL to those who enjoy investing their emotions in the characters, as well as seeing how people can redeem themselves. Alcohol and drug use are predominantly featured, as is casual sex. On the other hand, church and scriptures also play a role (not always in expected ways). However, I would not consider this Christian fiction due to the graphic sex and occasional cussing. In addition to the graphic sex and child abuse mentioned earlier, there is also some graphic violence that may not be for the faint of heart.
Broken and Beautiful
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