Author: Jennifer E. Shaw
Release Date: April 2012
Published By: Walker Children's
Goodreads Rating: 3.94 stars
Review: Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident—including her memory of the event. As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember what she’s kept hidden for so long: the horrible reality of their abusive relationship. When the police begin to investigate, it casts suspicion on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town. Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free?
BREAKING BEAUTIFUL presents an emotional story overlaid with subplots of romance, and while I thought one of them worked well, I wasn't so sure about the other. By the one that worked well, I'm referring to Allie's relationship with Trip. Even though that wasn't truly a romance by any means, the way she felt during it was painfully real, from the dizzying feelings of love to the hurt and fear as he revealed his true self.
What didn't feel as real was Allie's relationship with Blake. There wasn't anything hugely wrong with their romance, but the whole concept of it just felt rather cliche. It's exactly what you would expect with this kind of book without bringing anything new to the table, so as a result, much of this subplot came across as rather predictable. There also wasn't anything particularly special about Blake, so his personality didn't improve their lackluster romance.
I also felt that the emotions in this novel weren't as good as they could have been. This book was, in some ways, a murder mystery, a romance, and a grief story combined, but I didn't find the mystery too suspenseful, or the romance too compelling, or the grief too provoking. I'm not saying that this book was bad, per se, because there was some suspense and romance and sadness in here, but it's not the kind that would stand out to you.
All in all, BREAKING BEAUTIFUL is a book with a lot of potential that doesn't quite reach it. The back-story was masterfully done, particularly the relationship between Allie and Trip, but the new romance could have been better. There were plenty of emotions present although not as heightened as they might have been and thus they neither helped nor hurt the book. I would still recommend this to those who are intrigued by the summary, and I still look forward to reading future novels by the author.