"His smile…good God, his smile. I swore my panties had combusted the moment he’d flashed that smile. Fucker had to have a dimple, too. Ugh." -Broken(7%)
Well... I'm sure my head combusted from all the friction my eye-rolling created.
No, let's be serious for a moment. Kelly Elliott's story Broken is far from the worst NA book out there today, but it might be one of the worst executed. The story of two broken people, with two separate pasts, could be done great. There could've been deep forthcomings they both faced to tackle their traumatic pasts. There could have been a sweet love story where these two people actually fall in love, override obstacles, and make their relationship work. Damn it, this could've been great!
Except, well, for obvious reasons. Let's begin with a short summary of the plot: Whitley, city girl, moves to a small town in Texas after her boyfriend almost beat her to death. With her she has her best friend, Courtney, and they live together. Whitley, after the abuse, never wants to love again. Then we have Layton, rich cowboy with big ranch, with big issues. His mom died of cancer when he was young, his father left Layton and his brother after his wife's death. Layton and his brother then had to survive on their own. Then, Layton's brother goes off to be a soldier in the war, and dies. The next day, his girlfriend, Olivia, dumps him for another man. Layton too then decides to never love again. The two then meet and starts to get to know each other, and you can all imagine what comes after.
In NA this is rather common, I guess, that both main characters must have broken pasts. I get the NA is about exploring these themes in a way some YA books don't quite can because of the whole sexual aspect. I enjoy that the NA genre exists to do this, but I'm not a big fan of it when the sex is what's used to tie together the characters. I'm not a fan of the use of sex as a healing mechanism. Now, I also guess, you see where I'm going with this.
As with many other NA books, Broken falls into the group where sex becomes love, a healing process, and the foundation of a relationship. When the two of them actually come together, they have sex. A lot. Like, all the time. I almost began skimming, hoping it'd end soon. I swear, the sex is endless. I'm pretty sure they had sex like every other hour at one point.
However, this isn't even the worst part. The worst part is how easily these characters let themselves fall for the other, considering how they meet and their initial responses to the other. They meet when Whitley's car breaks down and this cowboy just happens to ride by, offering her a ride into town. After this first initial meeting, they both claims to hate the other, that he/she isinsufferable, that they can't stand him/her. You get it. This they keep up for a couple of days. Layton is even vocal about these things to his friends, that she's just a stuck up city girl. So, for about two weeks, they walk around, claiming to dislike the other quite strongly. And then we go to this:
" “You want me to, what, Whitley? Love you? Because I’ve loved you since the moment I saw you standing next to your car, since the moment your beautiful green eyes looked into mine. The moment I heard your sweet voice talk to me, I knew deep down inside that I would love you forever.” "- Layton 45%
I mean, ARE YOU SERIOUS? You go around for nearly half the book, disliking her, than claim you loved her from the moment you saw her?! I. DO. NOT. BUY. THIS. And how the heck is it that Whitley is okay with this after her last boyfriend beat the shit out of her?! Remember that he says this after about two weeks. Anyone ever heard of rushing into a relationship? This isit. I can't, not for the life of me, understand how this change of heart came to show. I mean, two weeks? It's creepy.
And this is just the beginning. Fast forward a week or two, and he's talking about getting married? I understand people rush into relationships, but I doubt people whom have been abused of an ex less than a year ago, rushes in like this. And Layton... he's supposed to be romantic and sweet and all that, but please, he's too much. Every other page is filled by him expressing his love to her after they first sleep together.
Even more, both of these two characters never deal with the shit they were put through before. Whitley being abused? Is she damaged? Not in particular. Sure, she keeps thinking she can't love, but then she pretty much does this anyway. She barely thinks of it after she moves, except when it's convenient for the plot. And Layton with all the people leaving him? In all honestly I don't understand how he isn't drowning in his horrible past. Neither of them talks of their issues to a professional, hence the wonder if any of them ever heard of a therapist. Sure, love can play a part in healing, but I'm not a person who believes love is the answer to everything, and especially not when it comes to these matters.
But let's not forget, they both have friends who know all about their shit. Yet, is anyone concerned when both of these decides to get married? Does anyone question how much they actually knows about the other after having known each other for less than a month? No. They're freakin' happy for their's sake. Encourages them to do this. Why does no one react to this kind of rushing?
While on the topic of these friends... secondary characters. They are some of the worst people. Courtney, Whitley's best friend for example, slut-shames a girl who hooks up with a guy Courtney had a thing for, before Courtney gets together with another guy. I kind of lost count of all the sluts and bitches Courtney and Whitley called out. Courtney is one of the worst best friends in the history. Such as this: when Whitley is beaten by her boyfriend Courtney is the one meeting her in the hospital where Whitley tells her they are moving to Texas to hide. Then, when they've moved, Whitley asks Courtney about a pair of new shoes of hers. This is the answer:
"“These? Hell, I bought these the same day you told me we were moving to Texas. I needed an excuse to buy them, and you gave it to me.”" - 16%
Yes, when her best friend lay in a hospital, Courtney went out to buy new shoes. Do I need to say more?
Well, Whitley wasn't particularly likable either. She really was TSTL. She acts like a nine year old, is a hypocrite (she thinks it's disgusting that Layton hunts and she can't even imagine eating elk stew. Her response is "Eww, gross!"), is more naïve than a nine year old. In sort, rather insufferable. And she is just strange. Such as when she meets a woman from New York who's been abused by her ex too, and this woman tells how to Whitley in detail, the first thing Whitley wants to do when she gets to the hotel with Layton is to have sex. I'm sorry, but Whitley is one of the least likable people I've ever read about.
By the end of the book, neither character has tackled their pasts, actively trying to mend their wounds, but yet they are perfectly fine even after Whitley's ex/psycho-boyfriend returns to be creepy some more about 80% in, they are perfectly fine. There is so little character development, plot structure, and logic that my head hurt when finishing. Which is sad, because the writing isn't terrible. Could use a bit editing, but it's not bad. And the premise was so good. And then we have it put in the NA-genre and everything screws up from there. I'll have to pick up another book from this author to be able to tell if this is just a bad coincidence that this book didn't work for me or if it's something else.
There: rant over. I apologize to any fans that might be upset by this review, but these are my honest thoughts on this book, and nothing else.