I was super excited for this book to come out. How excited you might ask? As you might remember, a few weeks ago, I named this book as my most anticipated new release in my Taylor Swift Book Tag. Also, I went to Barnes and Noble the day it was released (December 29th) to buy it. I got to the store right when it opened and it hadn’t been shelved yet.I made the guy working at the information desk go get it out of the back for me. I also felt the need to take a picture (shout out to Allie for taking the picture) outside the bookstore with the book. I am a nerd and I regret nothing.
In Alexis Bass’s sophomore novel, tragedy has struck Amanda Tart’s hometown. Grace Marlamount was killed and Sutton Crane was nearly paralyzed in a drunk driving accident where the driver was Jonathan Tart, Amanda’s older brother. It’s been sixteen months since the accident happened and Jonathan has just been released from prison. Amanda still loves her bother but everyone else sees him as the monster who killed Grace. And then there’s Henry Crane, Sutton’s younger brother, where he and Amanda were almost a thing, but decided to forget about it, right after the accident happened because things were too complicated.
The best way to describe this novel is the following: it’s a story about rebuilding relationships.
What’s Broken Between Us, was exactly how I like my young adult contemporary novels (really, any novel I read). Character driven, dealing with relationships, difficult heart breaking issues and a little bit of a romantic sub plot. I started this novel December 29th and I finished it December 30th. I loved reading every page of it.
I liked how this story was told from Amanda’s point of view. We get to see Jonathan’s actions and how they affect not only him but how it effects his family, specifically, Amanda. She very much carried guilt about the accident, often thinking about what she would change about the night it happened and how she would have liked for it to play out. Amanda still loves Jonathan and she still see’s the good in him.
I do wish that some of the characters in this novel would have been more developed, specifically Amanda and Jonathan’s parents. I felt like their character’s didn’t serve much purpose in the story other than Amanda being 17 and Jonathan being 19 so they couldn’t be living on their own. They were the basic parent type characters, though part of me thinks this was done on purpose- this is poked fun at in the novel by Amanda calling her Dad “Standard Dad”. I think that if the parents had more development, it really would have added so much to the story.
I also think the character of Amanda’s best friend, Dawn, who is off at college, could have been completely cut out. She and Amanda don’t interact much. I see the purpose that she served, she was the person who Amanda told her feeling too. But, as this story was told in first person, we were already inside Amanda’s head. We already know how she’s feeling, perhaps maybe even better than she does.
I really enjoyed reading this novel. I gave it 4/5 stars and I would recommend it to readers who like Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman.
I like the way Alexis writes and I think she’s a very talented writer. I wish that this wasn’t only her second novel so that I could read them all back to back. I really do believe that in a couple more years, Alexis Bass will be one of the top names in YA literature and you’ll be hearing it alongside Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, Gayle Forman and John Green.
Please let me know if you’ve read What’s Broken Between Us in the commits. I’m dying to talk about it with someone!