Everyone believes that Allie is in mourning over the town’s Golden Boy but she couldn’t feel more relieved, or guiltier about his death. It’s easy to assume, at first—especially if the summary hasn’t been read, that her relationship with this boy was a happy one and one that’s brought her to her currently lost, depressed, and terrified state. But as her memories begin creeping up from behind closed closets and pieces of others’ suspicions about the nature of her relationship, our suspicion, in turn, grows and solidifies. We become investigators, eager to know what transpired. And once the truth flashes in full, we are devastated and horrified, and the frustration with everyone else in Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf arises, because it doesn’t take us very long to put two and two together and yet so many have remained blind for most of the book and long before recent events.
Allie has struggled for so long with something so dark, something that’s kept her hiding in the shadows, that we can’t help but rejoice when Blake, her childhood best friend, squirms his way back into her life. So many have tried to dissect her thoughts, pry into her mind, they never bother to warm and comfort her heart, and Blake does. Slowly, gently, and thoroughly in way that’s as nonintrusive as possible and still firm. He’s been as harshly hurt as she and by her, which makes it all the more bittersweet when he attempts to recover what they had and moved past it. It quickly becomes clear that it’s not Allie who is personally attacked and judged, but Blake as well, hastily labeled, overlooked, and insulted almost as constantly as she, swiftly inciting our rage, causing us to want to lash out at all their enemies.
Between the mystery of how Trip came to have that dreadful car accident to the assortment of crimes turning up in the town all suspiciously leading back to Blake, rather intentionally and obvious, I was thoroughly riveted and rooted in the story, wondering who was behind each individual crime of whether from the past or from the new beginning Allie’s living. The shock of answers found I had so badly sought kept me slack-jawed for quite a bit once I finished Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf, and that helped me to realize that, yes, I deeply enjoyed this book for all the emotions the story tugged out of my core.