Short & Skinny Review
Beautiful Broken Girls is one of the hardest books I’ve had to rate in a long time. Though my assessment of it on Goodreads may show a lackluster 3 stars, know it actually falls much closer to a 3.5. The story is gripping (I easily sped through it in two days), and of a much stronger cloth than a lot of mystery/thrillers out there. For the entertainment factor alone I recommend checking this one out, though it is worth mentioning that Kim Savage’s sophomore effort falls much closer to The Virgin Suicides than Gone Girl. Not that this is a bad thing, but different than what one might expect. Unfortunately, the ending of this one just wrapped up in too strange of a place for me to rate it higher than 3.5 stars. I was so invested in all of the characters and individual subplots, that when the story suddenly ended (about 100 pages too soon, in my opinion) I was left with more questions than answers. This is probably one of those instances where a reader who enjoyed the first half less would ultimately give it a higher rating. My advice: you’ll enjoy the finished product more if you don’t read to deeply into Savage’s design of the beginning.
The Nitty Gritty
Pros– The aspects I loved most about Beautiful Broken Girls are also the ones that disappointed me most when the story concluded (but more on that later). I instantly fell for all three of the narrators- Ben, Francesca, and Mira- each whom is captivating, dynamic, and greatly nuisance. My heart ached for Ben as he becomes more and more unstable following the girl’s death, as I felt the same confusion, isolation, and cynicism he experiences. Ben’s portrayed as an everyman type character (which this reader usually hates), but here I appreciated it as a way to pin my own emotions about the story onto him. It’s equally obvious Francesca and Mira were intended to be the stars of the show, which works on a lot of different levels. For starters, how can a reader not be captivated by the suicide of two beautiful, charismatic young woman, alluring in every sense of the word? There’s an instant intrigue in them from the very first page, and their characterization only furthers the mystique. Each sister serves as a unique foil to one another, and their bond only deepens the further you go. All this being said, what most stood out to me was the supporting cast. How I loved thee, how thee let me down. Savage worked hard to find a very, very, very interesting niche to center Beautiful Broken Girls around, and it would not have come together sans the inclusion of the Cirillo family and Mr. Falso. I was fascinated by the strong ties to Catholicism and the Italian immigrant story, with Mr. Falso being the complex good guy/bad guy I love to read about. Unfortunately, this also leads me to the book’s greatest flaw…
Cons– I’m the kind of reader who demands each and every question is answered. I want all aspects to be fleshed out and brought full circle, especially when I’m this invested in a story. Instead, I was left with so many one of a kind opportunities gone unexplored. Savage never delves into the intricacies of the family that raised Francesca and Mira, leaving readers with just enough to pique their interest- but not satisfy our want for more. This is especially true with Mr. Falso, an enigmatic church official who’ll readily charm you (as he does the narrator’s), giving no trace of his true colors. And just as he begins to lean closer to black, Savage all but writes his character out of the final arc. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the ending. It’s about as abrupt as a pound of bricks hitting you in the face. It came out of nowhere and made approximately zero sense, largely because Savage failed to key readers in on the deterioration of Ben’s mental health. Because of a significant time jump I felt no connection to the way things wrapped up, as it was like reading a book with a completely new cast. I suppose that’s one way to keep readers guessing.
This one was a very enjoyable, fast paced read (albeit, lacking in depth), perfect for a soft core mystery fan looking for something a little different.
-Keep Calm and Read On