Five years ago, Summer Marks was brutally murdered and left in the woods of her hometown.
The belief is that she was killed by her two best friends, Mia and Brynn, in a horrific, ritualistic style.
The girls were obsessed with a fantasy book called, The Way Into Lovelorn, and apparently, something found within those pages whipped them into a murderous frenzy. The thing is though, they didn’t do it.
Broken Things begins with Brynn finally being forced to leave the rehab center she has been residing in. She’s really never lived on the outside since Summer’s death.
Mia has continued living with her Mom in her childhood home, now packed to the gills due to her Mother’s hoarding habits.
During an effort to do a major clean out, Mia finds the old copy of The Way Into Lovelorn under a mass of garbage. This discovery hacks open old wounds and reinvigorates Mia’s desire to find out the truth of what happened to Summer.
Since they were separated during their police interviews, Mia and Brynn have not spoken. As Brynn is released, they are suddenly and unexpectedly reunited.
Rejoining is cold at first. It’s hard for them to communicate, but as time passes, they begin to open up with one another and it becomes clear they both have information about Summer’s death that they’ve never revealed before.
I was so immersed in this novel. The toxic friendship, the mystery, the side characters and the exploration of sexuality were all so well done. I read it incredibly quickly. Once I started, I could not put it down.
I was getting heavy Slender Man vibes, which was great. The way the girls backstory was told, it sort of gave this is this supernatural, is it not feeling; especially in the beginning. I dig that vibe.
Additionally, I loved the book-within-a-book portions in regards to the Lovelorn content.
There were portions from the original book, as well as excerpts from the fanfic sequel the girls were writing together. It was clear Summer was the most passionate about their project and she sort of steamrolled the other girls to get her way.
It’s funny, although we never met her in the current timeline, and she was the murder victim, to me, Summer was the least likable character.
Watching Brynn and Mia struggle through years of abuse in the public because of something they were accused of doing, but were innocent of, also made me feel protective of, and attached to them in a weird way.
I thought the mystery of Summer’s murder was intriguing.
Of course, Oliver also incorporated one of my favorite tropes, amateur sleuthing, as the girls, Mia and Brynn, try to piece together what actually happened on the day Summer died.
For a backlist book I never hear anyone talking about, I was really impressed with this. I thought it was engaging the entire way through and I enjoyed the overall way the story was told.
I will definitely be picking up more from Lauren Oliver in the future!