BROKEN THINGS by Lauren Oliver


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Friendship and fandom turn deadly for a group of teen girls.

Quiet Mia, brash Brynn, and beautiful Summer—three 13-year-old friends living in rural Vermont—all bonded over their love of an obscure children’s fantasy book The Way Into Lovelorn. Lovelorn has a famous midsentence ending, and the girls decide to compose their own fanfiction to imagine its resolution. However, when Summer is brutally murdered, Mia and Brynn (along with their friend Owen) are wrongfully accused of the crime, propelling the teens into unfortunate infamy with the moniker The Monsters of Brickhouse Lane. Five years later, they reunite to try to catch Summer’s murderer. Alternating chapters, which jump between Mia’s and Brynn’s perspectives from when they were 13 and the present, also include snippets of metafictitious Lovelorn and bits of the girls’ fanfiction. Although many other offerings have examined the turbulent machinations of teen girls, Oliver (Ringer, 2017, etc.) nimbly navigates the obsessive and erratic bonds the girls forge; mercurial Summer vacillates from charming to malicious, bewildering the others. While the characters are deftly portrayed, the mystery meanders into contrivance and convenience. Expect readers to have much to discuss with a provocative and divisive conclusion that may frustrate those who prefer a tidy resolution. While all characters are assumed white, Brynn is a lesbian, and a secondary character is fat-positive and pansexual.

A page-turner for sure, but this meta romp teeters into preciousness. (Mystery. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-06-222413-2
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2018

Kirkus Interview
Lauren Oliver
author of ROOMS
September 29, 2014

Lauren Oliver is known for her best-selling young adult novels (including the Delirium trilogy) but her new novel Rooms is her first written for adults. We ask her about making the transition, finding new readers, and writing a ghost story. Rooms actually has two story lines that nicely collide: First, a ghost story in which the ghosts can’t leave the house but don’t know why. Second, an estranged family story in which the ex-husband dies, leaving his alcoholic ex-wife, angry daughter and disaffected teen son to clean out their former home, not knowing that it's haunted. We go ghost-hunting with Lauren Oliver this week at Kirkus TV. View video >


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