A copy of this novel was provided by Scholastic Australia for review.
I’m not entirely sure where to start off writing a review for Broken Strings. The one thing I know for sure is that I did not really like it. And I guess I’ll try and go through the reasons why.
The big no-no for me in Broken Strings was the main character, Jess. The blurb says that she’s seventeen (even though she doesn’t turn seventeen until about halfway through the book), but you could have fooled me. I have never read about a 16/17 year old acting so childish in my entire life. And that is saying a lot, because I read more than my fair share of YA books. But Broken Strings takes the cake when it comes to misrepresented teenagers. I actually felt kind of insulted and offended, to be honest – that a teenager had been portrayed in such a petulant way.
Now I know teens can be ferocious little things, but I know that they also know appropriate social behaviour – of which Jess had none. She threw frequent tantrums, talked back to her parents and grandmother constantly, was not grateful for one tiny thing in her life, and spent 99.999999% of her time bemoaning her circumstances – which were not bad at all.
On from this, Jess has a fade-out sex scene in Broken Strings which I found utterly confronting. No one that immature should be having sex. It was almost inappropriate, considering how the girl behaved around people – including the guy she has sex with.
There are two love interests in this novel. We have Charlie, a 23 year old guy, and Stefan, a fellow teenager.
I found it ridiculous that Charlie had any interest (in even being friends) with Jess, since she was just so childish. Anyone I know (being 21 makes me pretty close in age to Charlie) would see Jess as some ridiculous unappreciative child. He certainly wouldn't want to be involved with her romantically. And Stefan is no better. Jess is constantly shunning him and talking back to him and ignoring him. I’m pretty sure that guys don’t take that kind of crap from girls, but hey.
The violin aspects were quite interesting, but they weren’t really the focus of the book, and Jess spent most of the violin scenes complaining (surprise, surprise).
The “big secret” was quite guessable, and I suppose a little inappropriate (again). Now, I know that YA can be dark and I love that about the genre, but this entire book almost felt like a middle grade novel about a thirteen year old girl with these themes (like sex, and this “secret”) thrown in there to appeal to an older and therefore wider audience.
All in all, I was not a fan of Broken Strings, from the main character, the threadbare plot, and the general falseness of the whole story.
© 2014, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.