Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Breaking Beautiful - Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Just seeing other people, people getting on with their normal lives, is such a hard thing after you've lost someone so close to you.


Allie is not living the ultimate high school fantasy. In fact, she's having a real bad time. Her boyfriend just died. But what if this isn't so bad as it sounds? After all, Trip abused her throughout their relationship. On the other hand, he was also the town's golden boy, could do no wrong. So where does this leave Allie? Even more, when the investigation regarding Trip's death is reopened by a new police in town determined to solve this mystery, what is Allie to do? How much should she tell?

I must say Breaking Beautiful was a pleasant surprise. That's why I find this review difficult on how to formulate this review. Basically, it was just that. A pleasant surprise. It didn't throw me off my feet or made me throw the book at the wall. It was just pleasant reading. It portrays the abusive relationship Allie had with Trip in a realistic way (and her reactions to it after his death). My only wish regarding this had been a more human portrayal of Trip himself, because as it is he's never a real person, just what Allie tells us through her thoughts. The book does little to make him 'Trip the human' rather than just 'Trip the abuser'. For example this is done beautifully in Breathing Underwater, as I read earlier this year.

The story, however, is more focused on the town's reaction to the whole mess with Trip's dying and Allie's reactions (especially her hanging out with her former friend Blake). On this part, it was full score for me. It shows a town stricken by a loved one passing away too soon and how it impacts them. All from Trip's former girlfriend, to his current friends etc. And what with Allie's re-growing friendship with Blake, I enjoyed it as well. (Then again, I seem to love every boy/girl relationship that isn't abusive in some way these days. Yes, I blame New Adult for this. Shame on the clichés for ruining what could've been a great genre.) They're both likable characters and easy to connect to. Allie's relationship to her brother is wonderful too! To sum it up: great focus on the town's reactions and the relationships.

Then there is one thing left. The mystery. Because isn't that the hook? Allie can't remember anything from the night Trip died. And he was with her. And when more and more clues are unraveled, could it be Trip was murdered? I expected the mystery to be unveiled much sooner, simply because one can guess the truth of it about 60% through the book. Yet, the story waits until almost the end to explain it all. This did take out some of the tension, because there comes a point when you're dying for the rest of the characters to catch up. And that point came quick, making the part regarding the mystery after that a bore to read. In the grand scheme of things though, it didn't matter that much. To put it in simple terms: a mediocre mystery with wonderful characters.