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Beauty of the Broken

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  574 ratings  ·  109 reviews
In this lyrical, heartwrenching story about a forbidden first love, a teen seeks the courage to care for another girl despite her small town’s bigotry and her father’s violent threats.

Growing up in conservative small-town New Mexico, fifteen-year-old Mara was never given the choice to be different. Her parents—an abusive, close-minded father and a detached alco
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Simon Pulse (first published August 26th 2014)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  574 ratings  ·  109 reviews

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Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is exceptional storytelling at its best. I'm struggling to find the words to do justice to this incredibly poignant book. I was completely swept up by Mara's story, moved to tears, joy, outrage, and understanding continuously, chapter after chapter. Waters' revelation of one woman's soul is deep and courageous. Warning: reading Beauty of the Broken may lead to enlightenment and an urge to live your life like you never have before--with conviction and an outrageous declaration of truth.
I'm going to do my best to review this book but honestly, I don't even know how to rate it. Hopefully I'll decide once all my thoughts are written down...

Firstly, TW: abuse, self-harm, homophobia, racism, sexual assault

This book is about Mara struggling to live in a conservative town due to the fact that she has fallen in love with a girl. Going into this I assumed there would be more of the relationship between Mara and Xylia but this book heavily focuses on the family. Especially
K.B. Rose
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I feel broken after having read this. The blurb paints the main theme of this novel to be a coming of age love story between two girls in a backwards, religious town. But it is more a story of gut-wrenching abuse afflicted on a family by the father, and the small-minded bigotry of a town who praises God but looks the other way when it comes to the crimes of their own people. The love story was more of an awakening for both girls, I thought, but any sense of a real connection between them wasn't ...more
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
This is one of the saddest stories I have ever read, it has definitely left an impact on me
Carmen Chacon
Jul 17, 2014 marked it as to-read
Shelves: read-asap
So excited to read this. She was actually my creative writing instructor in college. She would always talk about her writing journey. So happy that she finally got a book picked up. I can't wait to support her and read it.
Eric Auxier
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I had the great fortune of being able to read the galley proof of this book before publication.

I can say that it is one of the most profound, engaging books I've ever read.

Tawni Waters is destined to join Faulkner, Steinbeck, Salinger et al as one of the great writers of our time.
Taylor Knight
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely one of the best books I've read this year.
In the blurb, it says that Beauty of the Broken is a "lyrical, heartwrenching story" and that's exactly how I'd put it. It was so sad at some points, that I'm just beyond tears. I would be thinking about this book though out the day and I just couldn't get it out my head.
The writing style is so beautiful and amazing. The story just breaks my heart. And I won't be forgetting this book anytime soon.

I recommend this book to everyone.
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If I had to review this book in one word it would be "wondrous."

If I had to review it in one sentence it would be "this book is way better than it has any business being."

This is not normally the kind of thing I like to read, but I'm glad I picked it up; it is moving and heart-breaking and I'm surely going to read it again and again
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gosh. I didn't expect this to be a fluffy romance, which is fortunate, because it's anything but: it's domestic abuse and brain damage and bigots operating through the church. It's homophobia and rape and a violent death that has very little to do with the rest of the story.

Mara's a sympathetic character, at least to a point. She's determined to protect her brother from further abuse; up to this point she's been the only one safe from her father's rages, but she knows that if her own
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Alright, this was a weird one for me. I liked it, I really did, but by the end I was over the plot and rolling my eyes. That sounds absolutely horrible, considering one of those things was a rape, but let me explain a little more. It is entirely possible to overload so much on the death and destruction that by the end the actual value of the event is lost. (view spoiler) ...more
Laura (Booksforbreakfast)
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What did I just read? My brain can’t even comprehend right now.

I picked this book up because I loved the spine and the title was so haunting and beautiful. I wasn’t disappointed when I decided to finally read it. Mara’s voice is extremely strong and I felt a connection to her almost immediately. The writing was amazing and flowed so nicely, I found myself looking up and I’d read 20 pages in a short amount of time.

You can feel the family is completely haunted and weight down by the father’s bel
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Tawni Waters has written a magnificent book. To describe it as a Y.A. Book about an LGBT girl only serves to find a place for it on a bookstore shelf. This book, with fully three dimensional characters, whose love and evil come through at every sentence, may be the standard by which all books in this genre will be judged. It is a difficult read, only because the reader becomes immersed in the trials and tragedies of the characters. If, at the end, there seems to be hope, it is because we all, ch ...more
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fierce and unflinching roar of a Bildungsroman, this first novel from author Tawni Waters is a long-held gospel note in the church of real innocence, of longing and of love. Don't miss it.
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
PRIDE MONTH 2016 Rec #1: Beauty of the Broken. [F/F main characters in rural New Mexico]

5 this-hurt-my-heart, instant classic stars.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that life will get better. It won’t. You stand up, it will strike you down. You might as well tie a rope around your neck and get it over with now if you’re waiting for your luck to change. I imagine myself tying a noose, dying. I see me spread out on that table like John Doe, my belly cut open, my guts all twistestars.
♥ Ashleigh ♥  contrary to popular belief i'm not actually mad!
Beauty of the Broken is such an appropriate title for this intense story.

The blurb pretty much sums up this book:

'In this lyrical, heart-wrenching story about a forbidden first love, a teen seeks the courage to care for another girl despite her small town’s bigotry and her father’s violent threats.'

except its so much more than that! Mara seems so real (and completely and utterly bizarre) and she is going through hell. Her father is a monster, she has mixed feeling about whether she should love s/>
I was between four and five stars on this one because truly, it was beautiful. There were a couple places I wasn't too fond of(mostly just when the author used second person a couple times). But overall it was really good.

Spoilers ahead
I thought this book was a story about a small town lesbian in love. And it's June and the cover was pretty so I wanted to read it, but as I kept going I realized it was so much more than that. The romance wasn't even the main plot. This was a story abou
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Thoughts: This book was one of those rare stories that holds your heart in a death-grip and doesn't let go. I picked it up late one night when I couldn't sleep - thinking I'd read a few chapters - and found myself unable to put it down for even a second, reading well into the morning. I finished in one sitting and tried to write a review, but couldn't find the words to desc
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, for-review
BEAUTY OF THE BROKEN by Tawni Waters. I don’t even know how to continue. I’ve been trying to write this review for a week and have been unable to find the words to convey how reading this book made me feel. I read it in less than a day, unable to put it down, and it left me feeling empty and full all in one.

The book is raw. There is no watering-down of some truly horrific events and there were moments when I felt truly heartbroken for Mara and Iggy, as well as their mother at times.
Grace Morse
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This captivating novel was published in 2014 by Tawni Waters, a writer who is very much like Jandy Nelson in how she writes and the genre they write; young adult fiction. The plot is very original and will leave you in awe by the time it is finished. However, some of the plot is kind of far-fetched. The characters are very well developed, but by the end of the book I wished that Waters would have given more information about what was going on with them (I do not believe that there is a sequel co ...more
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This debut novel is beautifully written. The questions of society and religion the author tackles through her main character Mara are thought-provoking, deep, and relevant in todays world. I could not put it down. I laughed. I cried. I raged. This is one of those books that will stay in my mind for a long time.
Devanshi Agarwal
Jul 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
I just found my Worst book of all time!!
And I have never given a 1 star rating to a book.

The author tried too hard to make this a sad story. Last 40 percent of the book was just awful!!!
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mara lived in a small town, living a life that’s challenging and gray. She hangs out with her older brother Iggy a lot but that all changes one day when another one of daddy’s alcoholic-enraged beatings finally lands Iggy in the hospital. Iggy’s not the same and the family waits for his return, from where… they don’t know. The wait is painful for Mara but when mother arrives in daddy’s overalls, swearing and reeking of alcohol Mara gets scared. Daddy has finally broken Iggy for good. The feeling ...more
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt
Beauty of the Broken by Tawni Waters has ruined my life. I wish I could come up with a very clever and intellectual review, but instead I am broken and nauseous and angry.

Let me back up for a second, though: Mara Stonebrook, daughter of an abusive father and an alcoholic mother, finds her life changed when her father beats her brother, Iggy, so badly that he renders the boy mentally disabled. To make matters worse, Mara is falling in love with a girl called Xylia, in a place where being ga
Mikayla Bond
Jan 12, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 out of 5 stars.

As if her parents' heavy drinking and her father's abuse - which nearly killed her brother, Iggy - were not enough, fifteen-year-old Mara is caught kissing her girlfriend, Xylia, by the preacher's son and becomes terrified that her own life is at risk.

Wow. This book was something. I really wasn't sure if I wanted to keep reading at the beginning. It was mostly just a sad story of a girl and her brother, and there wasn't really a plot. But the last half
Shane Alice Beaudry
Nov 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Whitney- Lifestyle of a Blessed Bookworm
Sigh *** This book gutted me... It was filled with tragedy and hate, but somehow finished off as a heart breaking and beautiful story. The tough topics were quick to pull me in and the character development held my attention long after the final page.

Mara is a girl living in a tough world. Her momma is a drunk, her daddy is abusive, and her brother is special because of a family incident. While she tries to find beauty in all of the ugly, she also faces inner battles. Her mind knows
Elizabeth The Wandering Reader
“Since I met Xylia, the whole world has leaped into high definition. It’s like I walked from a normal movie into a 3-D. That’s saying something, considering how shitty everything else has been. I guess you could say Xylia Brown has saved my life. (I’d draw an illustration, but I left my colored pencils at home, and you can’t draw a rainbow with just a gray pencil).”

Why the hell aren’t more people talking about this book?!
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a book that will punch you in the gut and leave you crying!!! I felt that way so many times, and Marla is a girl you want to pull into your home and get her away from where she is in the book. Mara lives in a bigoted town in New Mexico that only wants their daughters to be silent and there to be mates for men. But she meets a new girl Xylia from San Francisco and she falls madly in love. Both girls fall in love and Mara feels complete and so wants to leave that terrible town. But she can ...more
Courtney Whetten
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-finished
That was a heavy book.

TW: Sexual assault, rape, abuse, suicidal tendencies.

This main character is amazing with how she dealt with all the crap that went on in her life. I loved all the people she could call friends in her life and I loved her friendship/relationship with Xylia. I loved the main story line of the story even if some of the things that happened were things I hated. I'm glad I read this book so that I could get a taste of things I've never had to deal with be
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Sometimes knowing is torture. You wish you could hide your secret away in a dark, cobwebby shed, shut the door, and break the key in the lock, so no one can ever get in again. You wish that you could go to sleep and have your last thought be anything but the buttery light of the New Mexico moon sneaking in through the cracks of an old barn's walls. But you can't erase the knowing, and you can never tell your secret. If there is one thing this world as taught me, it's that no matter how bad things get, they can always get worse. Secrets should stay secrets. It keeps them tolerable. Telling secrets turn them into full-on hell. 6 likes
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