The Summer Of Broken Things
by Margaret Peterson Haddix
400 pages – ages 12+
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on April 10, 2018
Summary from Publisher: From New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix comes a haunting novel about friendship and what it really means to be a family in the face of lies and betrayal.
Fourteen-year-old Avery Armisted is athletic, rich, and pretty. Sixteen-year-old Kayla Butts is known as “butt-girl” at school. The two girls were friends as little kids, but that’s ancient history now. So it’s a huge surprise when Avery’s father offers to bring Kayla along on a summer trip to Spain. Avery is horrified that her father thinks he can choose her friends—and make her miss soccer camp. Kayla struggles just to imagine leaving the confines of her small town.
But in Spain, the two uncover a secret their families had hidden from both of them their entire lives. Maybe the girls can put aside their differences and work through it together. Or maybe the lies and betrayal will only push them—and their families—farther apart.
Margaret Peterson Haddix weaves together two completely separate lives in this engaging novel that explores what it really means to be a family—and what to do when it’s all falling apart.
What I Thought: I fell in love with Haddix’s writing when I read the 39 Clues series in grade school. I was thrilled to find her middle grade and YA action/adventure books so when I saw her name associated with this book, I was expecting a thrill-ride. What I got was quite different. The Summer of Broken Things is an achingly sad story that delves into real-life problems of today’s teens and their families in a way that leaves the story on your mind. The issues of divorce, fitting in, bullying, body image, awkwardness of growing up, are realistically portrayed as well as a family secret (that I won’t give away). Although the story has a sad tone to it, the reader has a sense of hope and redemption for the 2 main characters. At first I absolutely hated Avery but grew to understand her more and saw she isn’t as shallow as first thought. Kayla was more likable from the start and really “grew up” as a result of the journey the two girls went on. The story is told from the changing point of view of the two main characters. I think this really helps the reader connect and understand them better. The description of Spain is right on par with Haddix’s other works: she sets the scene as if you were there. It was also refreshing to read a YA book devoid of teen romance (and vampires), and utterly clean language. I often have authors tell me they use curse words to make their teen characters more believable – hog wash I say! Haddix hits the feeling of being a teen today through excellent wordsmithing. The book is well suited for a YA or an advanced MG reader.
Four out of five book worms!
Categories: Age 12+