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Broken Things

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It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods.

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it.

On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous.

408 pages, Hardcover

First published October 2, 2018

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About the author

Lauren Oliver

73 books119k followers
Lauren Oliver is the cofounder of media and content development company Glasstown Entertainment, where she serves as the president of production. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of the YA novels Replica, Vanishing Girls, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages. The film rights to both Replica and Lauren's bestselling first novel, Before I Fall, were acquired by AwesomenessTV; Before I Fall is now a major motion picture and opened in theaters March of 2017. The sequel to Replica, titled Ringer, is her most recent novel and was released October 3rd, 2017.

Her novels for middle grade readers include The Spindlers, Liesl & Po, and the Curiosity House series, co-written with H. C. Chester. She has written one novel for adults, Rooms.

A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU's MFA program, Lauren Oliver divides her time between New York, Connecticut, and a variety of airport lounges. You can visit her online at www.laurenoliverbooks.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,897 reviews
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
929 reviews2,996 followers
June 28, 2022
[Caution :- spoilery mess and trashy GIFs ahead]

Before anything else , that cover ! THAT BEAUTIFUL AESTHETICALLY PLEASING COVER(gift from God totally ), I was staring at it and asking my mom , can she try these hairstyles on me?

->Yess my mom still make my hair sometimes ( no always , I am 18 year old baby).

Moving on, the book started REALLY REALLY strong like first page goes something like this

“Five years ago, when I had just turned thirteen, I killed my best friend. I chased her down and cracked her over the head with a rock. Then I dragged her body out of the woods and into a field and arranged it in the center of a circle of stones I’d placed there with my other friend, Mia. Then we knifed her twice in the throat, and five times in the chest.”

After reading this sort of imagery , I was all set with my grey cells and blanket to solve this case .



I had certain expectations from this book and none of them were fullfilled !


What I got (in knife points):-

🔪 bunch of angry teen
🔪riding in a car
🔪complaining about their love lives
🔪 hating each other
🔪 bitching about teen lives
🔪being 100% ruled by their hormones
🔪 having super super awkward kisses
🔪 conversations about accepting yourself , tons of shitload advice!
🔪 Lovehorn ( which I thought would be something like Narnia) , a shed somebody converted into a clubhouse.

Let's break it into sub points :-

1. Plot thing

Descriptions from the writing gave up a clear depiction of what’s happening ,the plot as a whole isn’t as engaging as I thought it would be, it started strong. Then slowed down, only to come back around at a hundred or so pages it picked up again, revealing everything there is. Staggering, like I said the predictability, it was a bit of a stretch, the clue was right there all I needed was confirmation.

And that's the only reason why I stayed till the end.

2. Narration

The narration was interchanging between Brynn and Mia. It was confusing at times. Confusion in my head like “Mia’s is talking, right? No, it was Brynn!” Both of their characters were similar in ways, I get that they’re besties then, and humans picked up some similarities from friends through years of bonding(?). It could be confusing to some readers, I could not draw a fine, a very fine line distinction between them, even after the “Brynn” and “Mia” titles from each chapter. I had to check at times.

3. Characters

This book definitely wastes no time setting up the premise of these characters��� lives and their dilemmas.

Mia (the only tolerable character), Brynn(horrible,edgy, dangerous, angry at society, and so very different that no one could ever truly get them.) Summer (when all the BITCH stars were aligned , this bitch was born. She gave me no reason to even give a half a shit that she died.) Owen ( Summer's ex , but loves Mia , then why the fuck you dated summer ?)
Abby ( Mia's bestfriend , and excuse me why are you even in the book , to overshadow your friend?)

4. Twists / ending

What could be more sad and depressing than the fact that The mystery part of a mystery book is not the best part. It was not really that, okay, but hm-meh.
Read it like this ,
I have never read something as certain as the fact that earth is sphere , to whom I had pinned my suspicion on. And I was right. I feel like it was a giveaway?

After reaching the very end , i was just thinking of all the amazing things I could have done instead reading this!It’s been a few days since I read it and I have thought it over, and I still don’t understand it.

This was Dumb and lazy , the author could have come with something more interesting than this?

5. Book within book

With all my heart, I wanted to be invested in "The way to Lovelorn " like so much to it but it was tedious. It was not really that interesting

Me after finishing the book ?


Bottom line :- Writing isn't bad at all. The story had potential. Adventure is stiff, the characters don’t develop, and it’s just overall icky and bleh.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,439 reviews78.1k followers
August 31, 2018
Well, I did indeed finish this with record breaking Lauren Oliver speed. While I did have the murderer figured out by page 25 (this could be chalked up to simply reading too many mysteries) and it felt slightly bloated, overall this was a compulsive, can't put it down type of book that I think many readers will enjoy. I'm going to think on this one a bit more before writing my full review, but I'll go ahead and post trigger warnings below.

CW: Murder of children, graphic violence, pedophilia, murder and abuse of an animal (this is graphic and highly unsettling), homophobic slurs (always challenged but used multiple times throughout), and fat shaming comments.

*I received a copy for review via the publisher.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.4k followers
November 22, 2018
apart from her ‘delirium’ series (which i adored), lauren olivers books have been a hit or miss for me. however, i was really looking forward to reading this because this is the first time ive read any sort of mystery story by LO and i couldnt wait to see how she did.

overall, i wasnt too disappointed with this, but it didnt excite me as much as i wanted it to, either. true to her style, the writing in this is wonderful. its the kind of prose that makes you want to read the entire book in one sitting. but the characters? not so much. there just wasnt anything about them that made me become invested in their lives, which is kind of the opposite of what you want from a murder mystery. also, the conclusion felt very underdeveloped, in my opinion. maybe it was because i didnt guess the ending like most people did, so it just felt like a 400 page book was quickly wrapped up within a short chapter.

regardless, i thought the fantasy element mixed in with a mystery was really clever. i liked how it was a book within a book and i thought the writing reflected that very well. i think this is perfect for any lauren oliver fans, but i wouldnt recommend it to anyone looking for a gripping mystery.

3 stars
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,536 reviews9,784 followers
January 18, 2023
Five years ago, Summer Marks was brutally murdered and left in the woods of her hometown.

The story is that she was murdered by her two best friends, Mia and Brynn, in a horrific, ritualistic-style killing.

The girls had been knowingly obsessed with a fantasy book called, The Way Into Lovelorn. The running theory is that something found within those pages whipped them into a murderous frenzy. The thing is, they didn't do it.

Broken Things begins with Brynn finally being forced to leave the rehab center she has been residing in. Since Summer's death, she's never really lived on the outside.

Mia has continued living with her Mom in her childhood home, now packed to the gills due to her Mother's excessive hoarding.

During an effort to do a major clean out, Mia finds the old copy of The Way Into Lovelorn. 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.

Initially, 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 they've never revealed before.

I was completely immersed in this novel. The toxic friendship, the mystery, the side characters and the exploration of sexuality were all 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!

Profile Image for BernLuvsBooks .
773 reviews4,639 followers
December 16, 2018
🤔 What really happened to Summer 😵 ? Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods. Everyone thinks her best friends did it... they didn't.

Broken Things was definitely an engaging read, unfortunately it was also quite predictable. The story begins on the 5th anniversary of Summer's brutal murder. We know that her best friends, Mia and Brynn, didn't do it. Yet, each girl holds pieces of the puzzle, secrets they have never shared with anyone.

Mia and Brynn haven't spoken since they were accused of Summer's murder. While cleaning out her home Mia uncovers the book they were obsessed with - The Way into Lovelorn. In the early days of their friendship the girls spent their days recreating the book in their very own Lovelorn, a decorated shack in the woods. The girls' frenzy for the story lead to a shared obsession for writing a sequel. Mia knows the truth of Summer's murder is somehow tied to Lovelorn. Summer was the most obsessed of them all. She had introduced them to the world of Lovelorn and was its gatekeeper. After her death, Lovelorn had simply disappeared. One day the shack was there with its flowered wallpaper and decorations. The next, it was back to being just a dusty abandoned shack. It was as if their Lovelorn had never really existed. The police wrote off Mia's story as fantasy but she knew there was more to it. Lovelorn had existed and the key to solving Summer's murder lay with it.

I enjoyed the idea of the story and the main characters were well developed. Brynn and Mia were both struggling as a result of their friend's murder. I found the direction their lives had taken since the murder interesting and enjoyed watching them reconnect. The cast of side characters - Owen and Abby were quirky and awesome. So why then did I rate the book just 3 stars? The predictability factor did it for me. I figured out who really killed Summer very early on and while I was hoping to be proven wrong, I wasn't. I was also very underwhelmed by the entire reveal. Once I suspected who it was, I knew the reason - it was the only plausible one in my mind. I was really hoping for something more. All in all this was a good read. It just wasn't amazing.
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,009 reviews1,327 followers
October 3, 2018
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

“Five years ago, when I had just turned thirteen, I killed my best friend.

I chased her down and cracked her over the head with a rock. Then I dragged her body out of the woods and into a field and arranged it in the center of a circle of stones I’d placed there with my other friend, Mia. Then we knifed her twice in the throat, and five times in the chest. Mia was planning to douse her body with gasoline and light her on fire, but something went wrong and we bolted instead."

🌟 This is the opening chapter and once I read this I was intrigued and wanted to read this. I was happy to see that there ARCS out there and happier that I got approved in one day!

🌟 Now, Lauren Oliver is a smart author, I like what she did with Replica and Ringer. Her other books are also bestsellers but I don’t see her books getting much hype lately. I wanted to discover why because to me they seem as good ones.

🌟 Now, this started out brilliant. I love when first lines can make you want to read the whole thing. But the main problem is after this this started to get a bit slower and no as much as interesting. I mentioned in my last review the new trend of 3 girls and this books follows this trend, I forgot to mention that this trend entails one of the girls being a Lesbian which is also found here. The problem is that Summer who was murdered seemed like a good person at first but then I couldn’t sympathize with her.

🌟 The characters were not the best part of this, there is a fat rep that is not so great. The girls were annoying at sometimes too. I would have preferred if I could relate to the girls more.

🌟 Also this has a book inside a book. There are bits of the books that the girls wrote as a fan-fiction and to be honest, I didn’t give a damn about it. It was short and fast and that’s good but it didn’t add much to the story. This was a thriller and I am supposed to be on my toes with excitement and although I wanted to know what really happened, the suspense waned at some points. The reveal didn’t catch my breath too!

🌟 The writing was mostly good although some metaphors made me cringe. But the ending was so smart too and It made me happy again, hence the additional 0.5 star.

“I knew even then that my dad was wrong- words could kill you, in a thousand different ways.”

Summary: A good thriller novel that has excellent beginning and endings, don’t go to this with very high expectations and you will enjoy it more. If you are a writer, I think this may help in some creative writing too.

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Cesar.
354 reviews235 followers
October 30, 2018
2 stars.

For the most part, mystery novels, whether they be YA or adult, have always left me entertained with their stories. I've read my fair share of good mysteries as well as bad ones. And unfortunately, Broken Things is one of the bad ones. Not bad that I hated the story, but bad in that I was expecting more but didn't get much.

Broken Things takes inspiration from the Slenderman Stabbing that happened a few years back. The main characters, Mia and Brynn are the town pariahs. Five years ago, they were accused of killing their friend Summer in a ritualistic way based on a book they've read. Since there was no incriminating evidence that they actually killed Summer, they were let go but their reputation went down the drain afterward. Now, five years later, something comes up that brings both girls back together to find the real murderer.

I should've liked this book. It's got a mystery, complex characters, and knowing Lauren Oliver, it has good writing. But in the end, I didn't have much of a good time.

CW: violence and animal abuse.

If I had to sum up my thoughts on Broken Things, it would be wasted potential. There was so much about this book I should've liked. It wasn't until I was halfway through with it that I knew I would be disappointed. I still held onto the hope that it would get better but it didn't. And when I got to the end, I wasn't really satisfied with how it ended either.

I liked the characters of Mia and Brynn. They aren't simple characters. They are very much complex in regards to their emotions and actions. They can be straightforward that may come off as rude, but I find this trait to be a good thing. How they handle situations as well as their own internal struggles made me like them as characters and as individuals.

Lauren continues to shine in her writing. To me, I like it when she writes in 1st person because we can get to know her character's thoughts. We get to see more development from the characters (or whatever development there is for any character) as well as reading their true feelings.

Though I liked Mia and Brynn, there were moments in the book where I confused the two together. Earlier, I said they can be straightforward and that trait is what made me confuse the two. When a chapter from Mia's perspective was over, I thought I was still reading her POV in the next chapter only to find out I was now reading from Brynn's POV. It wasn't a major problem but still a flaw.

The mystery was not the best part of the story. There are other books out there who did take inspiration from the Slenderman Stabbing (the only one I can name is Mister Tender's Girl), but Broken Things failed on creating a complex mystery. Don't get me wrong, I was fully invested in the mystery, but as I kept reading, I just wasn't as invested as I was when starting it. I think this was the biggest flaw in the story. Which is such a shame since there was so much potential here.


When I said Broken Things was wasted potential, I do mean it. I wanted more from it. It just didn't work out for me.

Thanks for reading my review!

Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,243 followers
September 24, 2018
The problem with fairy tales isn’t that they don’t exist. It’s that they do exist, but only for some people.

This was an interesting read. Lauren Oliver managed to blend fantasy into mystery in a unique way.

This is a story about three girls who were obsessed with a little-known fantasy novel called The Way into Lovelorn. In the book, there is a fantasy world that the characters find. For Summer, Brynn & Mia, that world is all too real. The girls think they found it in the woods. One day, Summer Marks is murdered in the woods. Mia and Brynn are accused. But they didn't really do it. It's been five years since they lost Summer. Why did everyone think Mia & Brynn killed her? Who really killed Summer in the woods that day?

Brynn is in rehab and has no desire to get out. She's not actually an addict, but she's safe here and doesn't have to walk around her hometown where everyone thinks she is a killer. Her plan is to fail a drug test right before being let out, so that she can stay.

Mia is still in their hometown, but she gets homeschooled and is best friends with Abby, a beauty/fashion youtuber who also get homeschooled by the same tutor. Things seem okay enough, but her mom has spiraled into a hoarder. Finally Mia got her mom out of the house so she can start trying to throw things out. And this is how Mia stumbles upon Summer's old copy of The Way into Lovelorn. It brings up a lot, but mainly it makes Mia realize that someone else knew about the book. Could this be a way to clear Mia and Brynn's names after all this time?

In the past, the girls wrote fan fiction because the original book was left unfinished. It ends in the middle of a sentence. So the girls always fantasized over why it was never complete and what would have happened next. They began writing their own story they called Return to Lovelorn. Throughout the book, in between chapters, there are excerpts from both The Way into Lovelorn and the girls' fan fiction sequel. This helps to give an idea of what the book was like and what exactly the girls were obsessed with.

I found myself very intrigued by the mystery. I kept trying to figure out who the killer was. Also, side note.. At times, the story fell slightly on the slow side. The pacing was a bit off. I do wish I liked the characters more. They just felt bland. I didn't like the way this one ended. I wanted a little more explanation. However, I did really like Oliver's idea of blending the fantasy story of the girls' obsession into this mystery. It reminded me of the Slenderman killings, which I'm sure this drew inspiration from. But Oliver managed to make it her own story.
Profile Image for Tammie.
217 reviews55 followers
October 12, 2018
4.5 stars for me. I found Broken Things to be a unique book-slightly disturbing but a good read.
Main characters Brynn, Mia and Owen were all accused of a horrific crime when they were younger-the killing of their friend Summer. Summer was left in a field and stabbed multiple times. There wasn’t enough evidence to charge anyone but the three remained ostracized from the local community.
Fast forward 5 years later and these now teens set out to clear their names and find out the truth of what happened the day Summer was killed.
Broken Things is very well-written and I enjoyed all the characters in the book. I would recommended this to fans that like mysteries and darker theme books. Though labeled YA, I’d say more older teens and adults due to the graphic nature of the book (my opinion only).
Profile Image for Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura).
505 reviews730 followers
September 16, 2018

Actual rating: 3.5

Thank you Harper Collins for sending a review copy in exchange for an honest review

Trigger Warning: Murder, abuse, animal abuse, pedophilia, self harm and violence.

The moment I read the synopsis I knew I had to read this book. Mystery has never been one of my usual genres but I figured this one was definitely worth a try.

The way the first chapter started hooked me in immediately. I was intrigued by the plot and excited to start guessing who the real murderer was. The story was told from two perspective: Brynn and Mia. Both were Summer Marks best friends. We alternate between the two most of the time. There were chapters in between with quotes from The Way Into Lovelorn.

Brynn was a favorite. She was funny (her points of view were the funniest in my opinion) She admitted to the mistakes that she made even if she didn't voice them out loud. She had flaws but so does every character. Mia was a lot more quiet and didn't really say much to most people. She stood up when something wrong was done or said so that’s one thing. Both girls had their own things to deal with in this story. I liked getting to know how different they both were from each other.

The story was really easy to get into. I was interested from the beginning until the end. I played detective and kept keeping a mental profile of all the characters trying to guess who the murderer really was. The guessed who really killed Summer early on in the book but kept it aside. At some point I was 100% sure I was right. Turns out I actually was. I felt like guessing the killer really dimmed the magic of the story for me a little bit.

Overall, the story was really enjoyable. It was different than most of the book I’ve read. I really enjoyed the writing too. Would definitely recommend the book to those who love a good mystery.

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Profile Image for Alana.
663 reviews1,268 followers
September 22, 2018
Let's just get this out of the way first, the cover of this book is actual HAIR GOALS, and I would be 100% lying if I told you that wasn't what caught my attention first. The second reason I was drawn to this was because it reminded me of the Slender Man stabbing case where two best friends lured another friend into the woods and repeatedly stabbed her an attempt to impress the fictional Slender Man and left her to die. Luckily, the real-life story does have a happy ending and does not end with a dead girl like this book does. But a large part of me wonders if that particular case was the inspiration behind this novel.

The story starts off on the five year anniversay of Summer's death. Mia and Brynn haven't seen or spoken to one another since they were accused of the murder of their best friend. And even though they did not murder Summer, the girls still have secrets of their own and the town still holds them accountable, labeling them and one other boy as the Monsters of Brickhouse Lane. Mia finds The Way into Lovelorn, a book that Summer, Mia, and Brynn were obsessed with. Picture a The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Narnia type of story. The girls spent their days together in a sort of frenzy to figure out the ending of the book since the story ended mid-sentence. That frenzy quickly turned into an obsession of writing a sequel with a proper ending and trying to bring Lovelorn to life, which ultimately ended in murder.

tw: murder, self harm, animal abuse and murder (very graphic), homophobic slurs, pedophilia

Here's what I liked...

-The way the past, present, and snippets from The Way into Lovelorn and Return to Lovelorn, which is Summer, Mia, and Brynn's story, were all woven together. Initially, I did struggle with it in the very beginning but it got better as the chapters got shorter

-Mia and Brynn were both dealing with their own demons since Summer's death, and I thought it added a nice touch to making the characters more likable and interesting

-Awesome side characters. Wade and Abby brought a lot to this story and without them it would have been a lot more dull

-The epilogue had me grinning from ear to ear

-Super atmospheric which was perfect to kick off my September reads and will be the perfect addition to your bookshelves when it comes out October 2nd

Here's what I didn't care for...

-The killer. I guessed who murdered Summer VERY early on. So, I was bummed when the big reveal came and it turned out to be who I guessed, especially because it felt like at one point the author was going to go another way and pin the murder on a different character. But nope, Detective Alana was on the money.

-There is an extremely graphic scene that includes murdering a cat which was so unsettling for me. I have a stomach of steel and I could hardly get through it, so just be prepared because it is definitely on the more gruesome side

-The reason Summer was murdered was not only underwhelming but it also felt super underdeveloped. The book came in at over 400 pages and the barely 2 page explanation of why Summer was murdered just did not cut it for me

Favorite Quotes

That's the problem with lies. They aren't solid. They melt, and seep, and leak into the truth. And sooner or later, everything's a muddle. 

#47. Truths you can never say, because they will strangle you on the way up.

Stories can be rewritten over and over, demons recast as heroes, and tragedies as grace.

That's the promise of a place like Twin Lakes. No one's ever really a stranger. Which means: there's no place to hide.

All in all, while I did have issues with this book I'd be lying if I said I didn't devour it in nearly one sitting. I don't think this is one of those profound mystery/thrillers that will stay with me for ages but it was definitely entertaining while it lasted, minus the cat part. However, if you are looking to add an atmospheric, creepy read to your TBR this October than this may be the one for you!

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Profile Image for Camile Souza (This Chamber of Books).
162 reviews872 followers
February 6, 2019
"Before we were the Monsters of Brickhouse Lane… we were just girls."


Broken Things is a standalone YA thriller with multiple perspective. Five years after their best friend was murdered, people still believe Brynn and Mia were the ones who did it, even though the cops couldn’t prove it. The three girls were obssessed with a fantasy novel called The Way Into Lovelorn and it turns out Summer was killed in a similar way to a Lovelorn ritual. Now, they are trying to get by, but the past won’t give them much room to move on when some new informations on what happened back then turns up.

I really enjoyed this book. I listened to it mostly in audiobook and it was very engaging. To be honest that was a surprise because when I first heard of this book I had zero intention of reading it. That is, until I heard the premise and went like “wow that actually sounds right up my alley”. I had never read anything by Lauren Oliver, but this one made me look more optimistically at her other books.

Like in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, this book had bits and pieces from both The Way Into Lovelorn and from Return to Lovelorn – a self-insert fanfic the girls wrote as a sequel to the original book – inbetween chapters. Personally, I loved that, and I felt it gave the story a nice and almost fantastical touch. The whole obssession with Lovelorn also reminded me of the same feeling with the world of Fillory in The Magicians (the tv show, I haven’t read the books yet).

"In books, secret worlds are accessible by doors or keys or other physical objects. But Lovelorn was not such a world, and appeared at whim and only when it felt like it, with a subtle change like the slow shifting of afternoon to evening."

I liked the main characters, it was interesting seeing how people’s judment and harassment over the murder affected their lives. Brynn was more hot tempered and her way of dealing with things was to fake being an addict in order to stay freely in rehab so she wouldn’t have to handle her family or outside society (oh and she’s a lesbian). Meanwhile, Mia barely leaves her house, where she lives with a mother with serious compulsive hoarding issues (like in that reality tv show Hoarders where people can’t get rid of ANYTHING, including piles of garbage). She is a shy girl who’s now homeschooled due to the haressment she suffered and shares a tutor with her only friend, a girl named Abby who is a popular fat omnisexual beautystagrammer.

Also, Summer was basically Alison DiLaurentis from Pretty Little Liars, but a poor and “lives with a foster family” version. You know the type, pretty, manipulative, the queen bee who is both loved and hated by people at the same time – including her friends.

Even though I enjoyed the book, as usual, the murderer reveal didn’t really surprise me. I honestly am used to that by now, but I still can’t tell if every murder mystery I read is somewhat predictable or if I should just become a detective already. But it’s okay, this book still gave me that “don’t want to put it down” feeling and that’s all I could ask for at this point. Also, I’d like to point out that this book switches between the perspectives of Brynn and Mia and that can get a bit confusing in the audiobook because there are three narrators – one that reads the Lovelorn stuff between the chapters, one that narrates only Brynn's chapters, and one for only Mia's -, so it’s just one person doing the voices in each chapter, and both narrators read the characters differently.

This was a good experience for me, and I hope it is for you too in case you decide to pick it up. I'll be more open to Lauren Oliver's future books from now on, although I don't particularly feel like reading her older books.

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Profile Image for Eli.
219 reviews101 followers
January 26, 2019

I mean it wasn't bad but I just expected so much more. I didn't really care for most of the characters and I think I really didn't like that this somehow turned into a love story??
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,430 reviews990 followers
August 3, 2018
There is a dark beauty to Lauren Oliver's writing that gets me every time- Broken Things is a melancholy, beautifully plotted tale of friendship and murder.

An obsession with a book that had no ending leads 3 friends down a dangerous path. One dies, the others are assumed guilty, years later they come together once more to try and discover the truth..

I love the way the author digs deep into her characters, peeling back the layers with huge insight. The mystery elements are clever and emotional, for once I did not fully predict the outcome.

Tense, atmospheric, often a little creepy, Broken Things was a wonderful if a little heart breaking read and I definitely recommend it.
Profile Image for Lauren Lanz.
684 reviews245 followers
May 20, 2020
1.5 stars *sigh*

Here’s the scoop: Lauren Oliver can’t write teenage girls.

Our two main characters (Brynn and Mia) seemed exactly the same in the sense that they’re both big balls of rage with no distinguishing traits. I had to pay attention to surroundings or home life in order to figure out whose POV was who, not to mention they were both bland and uninteresting, I couldn’t connect to either of them at all.

Broken Things follows three girls -one of them (named Summer) who was brutally murdered five years ago. Everyone thinks Brynn and Mia murdered their best friend, mostly because of their interest in a book called The Way Into Lovelorn. The three girls spent countless days writing fanfiction about the world of Lovelorn, so it couldn’t be a coincidence that Summer’s death happened exactly like they’d described in their fanfic, could it? Except the girls didn’t do it, and five years later, around the time of Summer’s memorial, they’re on the hunt for a real killer.

There was a subtle eerie sense to this story, lingering in the background throughout most of the time I was reading. -Which is to be expected for a murder mystery, of course. Somehow, I mean this in a bad way. Everything felt mediocre, especially when I could care less about the characters.

There is a little bit of lesbian rep in this book, if that’s what you’re looking for. Though be warned that it’s not all the cute stuff you might want. I was a little bit turned off by the depictions of relationships and other things, like animal cruelty/abuse. That was something that really bothered me, especially because I didn’t know about it before starting this. I almost had to stop reading. (I have a pretty strong stomach when it comes to reading, but animal cruelty is the one thing that can get me to put a book down.) If that sort of thing bothers you like it does me, don’t pick up this novel.

The killer. There wasn’t nearly enough evidence for us to even guess at this person before it was revealed at the end. It really disappointed me that Lauren Oliver intended this to be a big shock, but I didn’t feel anything considering there was almost no way for me to suspect this person.

And sure, where did that little .5 after the 1 star come from? That was only because there were certain small parts that were slightly entertaining, yet not investing in the slightest, if that makes any sense at all. Can’t say I enjoyed this one.
Profile Image for Mary Books and Cookies.
551 reviews406 followers
January 15, 2023

* you all know I’m trash for thrillers/murder-mysteries, so it was virtually impossible from the get go for me to not like this lolol
* this book toyed with my mind SO much - I kept asking myself whether there was indeed something supernatural happening or was I losing my mind
* and honestly, what better way is there for you to know a book is good: “is it making me question my life, sanity and choices? yes. PERFECT, I’M SOLD”
* huge props to Lauren Oliver for crafting this so beautifully, the writing was mesmerising and the story itself kept me on the edge of my seat
* honestly, the thing I’m taking away from here is that friendships can make and break you at the same time; also maybe don’t wander into huge, menacing forests willingly and habitually, because Narnia ain’t out there
* I resonated a lot with the way the main characters imagined their fantasy world, because I did that as well as a kid, and this is something that a lot of readers will see themselves in
* it’s disturbing, so just bear that in mind and maybe don’t read it while alone in the house, with only your judgy sarcastic inner self to keep you company
* to sum it up: stabby murder, make believe world, forests and friendships, mixed with a dose of “omg wtf is happening”


* honestly, I was too caught up in this to notice anything bad so pls don’t hold it against me lol

Special mentions: trigger warnings for graphic violence, pedophilia, animal abuse, homophobic slurs (always challenged though)

Favourite quotes:

“That’s the problem with lies. They aren’t solid. They melt, and seep, and leak into the truth. And sooner or later, everything’s just a muddle.”

“The problem with fairy tales isn’t that they don’t exist. It’s that they do exist, but only for some people.”

“It is a strange phrase, ‘falling in love,’” said one of the princesses in the tower. Tears stood out on her cheeks, and even these were pretty, reflecting the blue sky above her. “It sounds like something you do accidentally, by yourself. But isn’t someone else always to blame? They should call it strangling in love. Walloped in love. Knocked-out-of-nowhere in love.”


To everyone who got this far, thank you for reading and have a wonderful day! Also, feel free to share your thoughts, comment or tell me anything :)
Profile Image for Megan ❀.
445 reviews214 followers
December 18, 2022
PSA: this has gay girls in it!!! Y'all get on this!!!

It's interesting, whenever I pick up a fantasy book, I usually know from reviews beforehand if the novel has LGBT+ characters. But for some reason, with contemporary/mystery/thriller books, I have no idea until I see it explicitly on the page. This has happened to me with three different novels and I really think the universe has given me a sixth sense for finding gay girls in contemporaries.

Surprise gay girls aside, Broken Things was really not what I expected. I'm not a big contemporary reader and I really wasn't a fan of Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall, so I was a little nervous going into this. But I can sincerely say I loved this with my whole heart. It hit on a lot of things I've experienced in my own life and made me feel seen in a way almost no other contemporaries have.

Books with dead girls always tend to romanticize them, always painting them as beautiful, tragic, innocent but still sexual. And while Summer is all those things at first, as the novel progresses, the reader is given such a full picture of who she really was that by the end, she's human. But this book isn't about Summer, not really. This is a book for the living. This is a book about Mia and Brynn and all the people that orbited Summer before her death, and how their lives have been touched and changed by her. The mystery of who killed Summer is important to the book, but this novel is really about toxic friendships, feeling broken, and healing from trauma.

Despite the synopsis, this novel doesn't actually have any fantasy or magical realism elements. Everything is firmly grounded in reality, but it still reads as if magic exists. As if other worlds exist alongside reality. I loved how Oliver explored the power of imagination and creativity in this, to the point where whimsy felt woven into reality. Lovelorn didn't just feel like something dreamed up by these girls, but tangible. It reminded me a lot of how I played pretend as a kid and this novel brought back that magic for me.

I was iffy about Oliver's work before, but since finishing Broken Things, I'm definitely more interested in reading her other novels. Lauren Oliver's characters were flawed but very lovable, her prose was easy-to-read but engaging, and this story touched me like almost no contemporaries have. If you're a big YA fantasy reader, I think this contemporary story may appeal to you.
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,898 reviews634 followers
September 20, 2022

In short Broken Things is not for me. This is my attempt to read Thriller/ mystery. I should have read the reviews of this book on goodreads. The writing style of Miss Oliver is confusing.

Moving on...

2 stars
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews368 followers
May 1, 2018
Once again Oliver manages to create something unlike anything else that I've ever experienced. A flawless blend of fantasy mixed with realism, with just the right amount of mystery thrown in that will leave readers turning the pages and guessing what will happen next.

With characters that are flawed, imperfect, and most of the time, not very lovable but still manage to capture you interest by being both intriguing and fascinating.

Truly a book fans will love and those looking for something both unique and entertaining are sure to enjoy.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews703 followers
January 7, 2019
I read to 45% and then skipped to 85% and read to the end.

This seemed to have everything I could have wanted, but sadly I was disappointed.

Mia and Brynn sounded exactly the same. I had to pay attention to the things in their surroundings to remember who was who and even then it wasn’t super apparent at times—especially with the past and present flip flopping. The best part of this story was Abby. I loved her snark and style.

Plot wise, I was boooooooored. The “mystery” lacked tension and even as things started to unravel, I couldn’t make myself care. And even after I read the ending, I wasn’t interested in reading the parts I skipped.

Overall, it was an intriguing idea, but the execution of this one just didn’t work for me.

**Huge thanks to HarperCollins for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for human.
640 reviews987 followers
Want to read
November 17, 2020
nevermind the fact that i've yet to find a lauren oliver book i've actually enjoyed/not mostly hated or the fact that sometimes i mix her up with gayle forman

but the cover is pretty!

Profile Image for Sahil Javed.
258 reviews243 followers
December 31, 2020
Broken Things follows Mia and Brynn, who, five years ago, were accused of murdering their best friend, Summer, in the woods. Now, on the 5th anniversary of her death, a seemingly insignificant discovery brings the two estranged friends back together in order to find the answer to a question that has always been on their minds: who really killed Summer Marks?
“Before we were the Monsters of Brickhouse Lane—before everyone from Connecticut to California knew us by that tagline, and blogs ran pictures of our faces, and searching our names led to sites that crashed from all the traffic—we were just girls, and there were only two of us.”

This was a really, really fun book for me. I loved everything about it, the writing, the characters, the mystery. I knew even before the book came out that I was going to like it because I love all of Lauren Oliver’s books and she is literally an auto-buy author for me at this point.
“Words mean different things to different people, at different times, in different places.”

The writing in this book was beautiful. But am I surprised? No. One of the reasons that Lauren Oliver is my favourite author is because the way she writes is beautiful. This woman is crazy talented. It never fails to amaze me just how lyrical her writing is. In fact, reading this book made me realise just how much I missed reading her books.
“She didn’t realize how much depends on what you’re remembered for. Sometimes, it’s so much better to be forgotten.”

The characters were also a strong aspect of this book. I really liked Mia and Brynn but I think I liked Mia a little more. Her personality was just super relatable and oh my god, I shipped her and Owen so bad. Their relationship just felt so raw and real but so awkward at the same time. I’m so happy with the way their whole arc was handled and the way their story ended. This book is also quite diverse in that we have a gay protagonist and a pansexual character as well who has a diverse body type. Summer reminded me of Alison from the Pretty Little Liars series and I drew so many parallels between the two but they were also different in that Summer wasn’t a total psychopath. I think it’s a major strength of an author to be able to make you feel something for a character who was dead before the events of the book even take place. Although Summer wasn’t the nicest person, I did also feel sorry for her. She seemed like such a lost soul and didn’t deserve the ending she got.
“The problem with fairy tales isn't that they don't exist. It's that they do exist, but only for some people.”

The slow-burning mystery was one of my favourite aspects of this book. I didn’t see the reveal coming. In fact, all along, I thought it was actually Wade who killed Summer. There were just something about him that felt a little off to me and even though there were certain things about him that proved my theory wrong, I just couldn’t shake off my suspicion. But I’m so surprised I didn’t see the reveal coming because looking back, it was pretty obvious from the clues that were given. But I really, really loved the way the author ended the book. It felt real and true and I couldn’t stop myself from smiling when I turned the last page.
“And here’s the thing: I don’t know what it means, or where it will lead, or whether it will lead anywhere. But I kiss him anyway. Because if not, then”

Overall, Broken Things, just like every other Lauren Oliver book I’ve read, was really enjoyable and just proved to me yet again why this author is one of my favourites. I will read anything she writes. Always. Because if not, then
December 5, 2018
2.5 stars. Not impressed. I've read a couple other books of Oliver's and was hoo-hum about those too. Nothing special, bland, basic. Could have passed on this one. Was waiting for suspense but it flopped.
Profile Image for Grace (kanej & evajacks' version) .
234 reviews135 followers
August 6, 2022
I'm sorry, but I REALLY did not like this. I had such high expectations, but so many things irritated me that I just couldn't enjoy it in the end. It was just a really messy story that didn't work at all.

“That’s the thing about hearts. They don’t get put back together, not really. They just get patched. But the damage is still there.”

The basic plot of the book is that five years ago, 13-year-old Summer Marks was killed in a horrible ritualistic-style murder. The murder matches what happened into a fanfic to a book called "The Way into Lovelorn", written by Summer and her best friends, Mia and Brynn. The whole town has come to believe that Mia & Brynn therefore committed the murder, with help from Summer's ex, Owen- even though this was never proven. At the time of the story, Mia and Brynn have reconnected and have decided to solve the murder themselves to clear their names.

After reading the blurb, I was really excited to read this, as it sounded like a twisty, thrilling mystery- exactly the kind of book I'd like. However, this was not what I was expecting at all and definitely didn't deliver on the 'thrilling mystery' part. In fact, the mystery was actually really bad, which definitely put a damper on my enjoyment.

Firstly, the characters. I didn't really like any of the characters THAT much. Mia and Brynn were the main characters & I never really connected to either of them, making the book hard to enjoy. I did appreciate how the author handled their feelings on everyone accusing them of murder- I thought this seemed pretty realistic, which was a plus. However, despite not disliking Mia & Brynn, I HATED Summer. I know she was the murder victim & all, but the way she treated her friends made me want to throw the book at the wall. Honestly, she reminds me of a toxic friend I used to have, which just made me even madder.

“The problem with fairy tales isn't that they don't exist. It's that they do exist, but only for some people.”

The writing was... okay, I guess? It wasn't necessarily bad and probably one of the only reasons why I didn't DNF it. It was simple, quick and made the book go by really quickly.

As for the actual mystery though.... That's a whole different story. Rather than the smart clue-solving and constant twists I was expecting, I was treated to this: a messy string of events tied together, parading as a 'mystery.' And the characters were AWFUL detectives. Most of the mystery-solving they did was ask random people if they'd killed Summer, wonder why they weren't getting anywhere and then have flashbacks at convenient moments.

*frustrated sigh*

And the identity of the murderer themselves??? I dunno why, but for me, their motive doesn't make that much sense... when Brynn & Mia figured it out (by ACCIDENT, I may add), I felt like they were jumping to conclusions, but then it turned out to be true??? Ummmm.....

“That's the problem with lies. They aren't solid. They melt, and seep, and leak into the truth. And sooner or later, everything's just a muddle.”

Overall, this was just a big disappointment. I feel like all the ingredients of a great book were there, they just weren't pulled together properly. And I'm not entirely sure murder mystery is the best genre for this author...
Anyway, I'm kinda happy it's over and just glad to move onto something better. Really sad it didn't work out though! :(

~ 2 stars


Ugh, that was sooo disappointing. 🙈🙈 And it had so much potential!!! *sigh* RTC.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,030 reviews1,045 followers
January 19, 2023
This book is more than just a murder case, more than just solving a mystery. It is very beautifully written, atmospheric, almost magical, mysterious, suspenseful, eerie but also moving all at the same time.

I have almost forgotten Ms. Lauren Oliver's extraordinary talent in writing which was what I really fell for when I read her Before I Fall. She definitely has the ability to make these familiar, almost stereotypical characters into something very refreshing and new. She honestly knows how to flesh out each of her characters to convince me that they’re more than just fiction, that they could be real.

I love how it has a fantastical element because of this fantasy book (which ended mid-sentence) these three girls were obsessed with when they were younger. It’s creepy how the events in the story as they overlap with the events in the fanfiction the girls wrote seem to actually happen to them and that’s one puzzling and unique mystery to solve.

This is a very gripping, interesting read that hooked me up from the very first line “Five years ago, when I had just turned thirteen, I killed my best friend.” up to the very last part of the book which ironically also ended mid-sentence. It's kind of genius!
Profile Image for Adah Udechukwu.
621 reviews83 followers
October 15, 2018
Broken Things is a bit good. It started well. The first page had me hooked but the last 5 chapters was underwhelming.
Profile Image for Amy.
500 reviews77 followers
October 25, 2018
I admit, there are very few Lauren Oliver books I don't like. I always find her stories to be addicting and I don't hate her characters (which is a real struggle).

I thoroughly enjoyed this and I can't wait for another Lauren Oliver novel (that isn't sci-fi because fuck that.)

Also it was a not so pleasant reminder that middle school girls are pretty much monsters and I'm really glad I don't have to deal with them anymore.

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