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Wolf, Jennifer Shaw. Breaking Beautiful.

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Wolf, Jennifer Shaw. Breaking Beautiful. Walker Books/Bloomsbury, 2012. 368p. $16.99. 978-0802723529.

Allie just cannot handle school anymore--not since the accident that took her boyfriend Trip's life and left her with a gash in her head. Normally, she would be up and getting ready for school in the morning, but now she does not leave her room. First, her mother checks on her, then her twin brother in his wheelchair. She overhears her parents talking about a new investigation into the accident. Will she have to relive the whole thing? The scars left by the accident are not the only wounds she carries. There are also the bruises left by Trip.

Shaw gets inside the head of a girl suffering guilt, loss, and relief at the death of her abusive boyfriend; and crafts a realistic journey through, not only recovery, but also the mine field of anger and blame from Trip's friends and family. Shaw's characters, both adult and teen, are well-drawn: Hannah, Trip's nasty-nice former girlfriend; Trip's overbearing father; Allie's concerned parents; and Blake, the loyal best friend since childhood. Allie's twin brother, Andrew, though confined to a wheelchair, also plays a dynamic and important part. With just-right pacing, the author pulls all the threads together for a surprising, but satisfying ending. Teenage girls, especially, will find this novel an illuminating story, but it is more than "chick lit." Any young person can identify with Allie's struggle.--Maria K. Unruh.

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Author:Unruh, Maria K.
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Feb 1, 2012
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