In this triumphant novel by Sara Barnard, you will have your heart ripped out and put back in again and you will LIKE IT. It’s a stunning look at what being young in the UK us like but with a whimsical wit and charm. *This review may contain spoilers for the first book, Beautiful Broken Things* I purchased this book with my own money, so let’s get into the review…
I often find it hard to pinpoint which books are my “type” and whenever anyone asks me that infamous question, “so like, what kind of books do you like to read?” I usually say “YA contemporary with an edge.” To me, this basically means that I enjoy books that are 1. Young Adult, 2. Contemporary, 3. Have an edge/tackle a dark subject matter. I am so happy to have this wonderful book to add to that list. It’s a mixture of all my fav things and Suzanne was so REAL and yep.
So, Fierce Fragile Hearts is the YA Powerhouse that is Sara Barnard’s latest novel. It’s a sequel to Beautiful Broken Things. I wish that I had reread BBT first, so if you’re wondering whether you should or not, deffo reread it first! It didn’t effect me in a negative way, but I do think if I had reread, I would have enjoyed FFH even more.
Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
‘This time around, I’m going to be so much better. I’m going to prove to them that it was worth waiting on me.’
Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She’s back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they’re about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you’re the one left behind?
Fierce Fragile Hearts is the stunning sequel to international bestseller Beautiful Broken Things
So FFH focuses on Suzanne, who feels left behind by Caddy and Rosie who have gone off to uni. I am really glad this book followed Suzanne, she’s such a formidable character. She’s flawed, but I love her and you will too when you read this book. She doesn’t always make the best decisions and sometimes you feel like shaking her but you ultimately can’t help but fall in love with her. The part of this book that engaged me the most is how REAL it is, it takes a special kind of writer to capture reality that organically, and Sara has absolutely bossed it. For example, at one point in the book all Suzanne wants to do is retreat back into bed, but given her circumstances, which you’ll know if you’ve read BBT she lives on her own and has some adulting things to do. I can’t relate to Suzanne in a lot of ways, but with this I can. I moved out when I was 20, I’m 24 now and still resent adulting with every fibre of my being. It was more than this though, she just wasn’t up to doing the chores, I can relate to this too and it made me connect with her that little bit more too. Her story is heart-wrenching but it’s full of hope and it’s wonderful to see her begin to blossom, especially when she makes an unlikely friend. She’s a girl who struggles to move on from the past (which, I mean can you blame her?) and in the book she goes on a journey of discovery, she doesn’t always make the best choices but she is ultimately hopeful for the future and it’s this golden thread that sets this book above so many of its counterparts.
A small detail I really loved was the chapter headings, they were all songs that perfectly captured the mood of the book. I read the book via audiobook, but if I ever reread I will 100% reread the physical book and listen to the songs at the same time! I was so inspired by this and the book in general that I recorded myself singing one of those songs which you can listen to here:
It’s worth noting that Suzanne has truly had an awful time. So this book carries trigger warnings for abuse, depression and other similar subjects, so please be mindful if this could effect you. Like I said though, the book is about new beginnings, the harsh reality of growing up but also ultimately, hope. Suzanne is a wonder and I want you all to read her story!
A wonderful story. There is no other way to describe it.
You can purchase the book here.
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