Published by LAN Fiction LLC on November 15th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Forbidden, Student/Teacher
I knew he would ruin me from the moment we met. Everything about the man screamed confidence. Sensuality. Intelligence. Worldliness. But it was how he saved me that ruined me most.
Through him, I learned to end my path of self-destruction. I no longer needed to numb the pain with mindless one-night-stands and drunken blackouts. He made me feel worthy. Treasured. Optimistic about my future.
Here I stand four years later, in a coffee shop a world away, still broken…but beautifully so. My scars no longer hold me back. Instead, they give me strength and enrich my appreciation for the good things in life. I have hopes and dreams…faith that anything is possible. I am no longer the lost little girl fighting for survival. I have direction. I have courage. I am not without possibility.
I’ll always have Gavin to thank for that—Mr. Cooper, I remind myself. That’s who he is to me now: just a former teacher. I know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry. I was eighteen when we first met. Legally, we did nothing wrong. Morally? Well, I guess that depends on how flexible your morals are
My name is Kat and this is my story.
This trope always intrigues me, mostly because I expect a massive angst fest and that just sounds like a party in my little mind. I haven’t read many, so in all honesty, I did compare this to the similar stories I’ve read.
The first meeting between characters was fantastic, and the first ‘real’ meeting after that, but then the story lost some steam for me. The middle started to drag, secrets were being revealed at an excruciatingly slow rate and then even when they were, you didn’t get all of the details. I’ll come back to this thought.
“Our eyes are locked, brown to bright blue, and I have a terrifying realization. This man is everything I don’t want, yet everything I need. No one looks at me the way he does. He sees the damaged parts of me that I work so hard to conceal. The confusing part is that despite this, he looks at me like that doesn’t matter. He looks at me like he can fix me…like he wants to be the one to make me whole again.”
Like I said, I found the beginning to be exciting and intriguing enough to draw the reader in. I liked the initial chemistry between the two main characters and was interested to see what would happen when the truth started coming out, but then after a little while, it was the same thing over and over. The couldn’t be together, they’d be together to ‘get it out of their systems’, ignore everything, repeat. Over and over. I was quite truthfully getting bored because nothing was happening. At all. Then by the time it did start to progress, I was halfway gone.
“There’s no backpedaling if we decide to venture down this road together. The funny thing is, I don’t think either one of us really has a choice. No matter our differences, or the challenges we face being together, we can’t seem to stay away from each other. This connection we share is fierce and undeniable.”
I never actually connected with either character or their story. It’s awful of me to say this considering how sad Kat’s past was, but I really didn’t care about her. I didn’t feel terrible or heartbroken because she didn’t give us her emotions to go on. If a character treats everything as fact and with little to no emotion, I’m going to do the same. I couldn’t get a good grasp on her. On top of that, sure Gavin was supportive and you’re meant to like him but he was just sort of there to me in this part. Thankfully the ending picked up.
“I feel like you’re too good to be true.”
He smiles. “I think the same thing every time I look at you.”
Once the last 20% came around, I needed something big, and I mean colossal to keep me interested because I was ready to start skimming. Now this big moment, yes, I found it predictable, but thank goodness something happened to change the status quo of these two. These were the feelings I expected to have the entire length of the novel! This! This is the emotion I was wanting to feel and live! Finally it came out.
Chapter 45 is where it’s at, yo.
One thing you really have to appreciate about Beautifully Broken is the personal growth of the heroine, Kat. The difference she had from her birthday at the beginning of the novel to her maturity when dealing with said ‘situation’, was outstanding. Personally, I loved her response to this issue. I think some people won’t and will think she had made the wrong choice but I’m totally with her in this and completely agree. Mental high five stuff here. I loved her reasoning and the fact that she was strong enough, confident enough, and selfless enough to do so.
“For the first time since everything happened, I don’t feel like I’m floating in a dark abyss. Being here in Gavin’s arms, I feel anchored to the present. I think about what anchors represent: strength and stability. I realize that Gavin is my anchor. He makes me feel like maybe there is hope for the future—like maybe I’m not so broken after all.”
Given the entire situation of the book I expected the angst level to be a lot higher and truthfully I don’t really see why it wasn’t. It wasn’t like the rest of the book was spent laughing or swooning, it just… was. I’m happy to see though that the ending had this rectified somewhat.
I know that Kat had an absolutely horrible past, but my issue was that you’re not always given all of the information or shown what the heroine is feeling. She doesn’t talk or think about any of it, she just acts instead to forget about any feeling. She shuts down. It’s hard to grasp what she’s thinking or feeling when she just locks everything up, and in turn it’s hard to actually care about her if she doesn’t care about herself. Does that even make sense? Then after she finally starts revealing her secrets, there needed to be more facts given about what happened afterwards. This was all left out in the open but with no answers. What happened to everyone during the fallout? What happened to her? The reader shouldn’t be forced to fill in these blanks.
“Surviving is what I do.”
Gavin steps closer and uncrosses my arms. Wrapping me in a hug, he says, “Surviving isn’t living, Kat.”
Without spoilers, I loved the epilogue. I thought it was perfect and well executed, all while tying up loose ends and closing the story in a promising note. Now with that being said, I understand completely why it was done, but I wish epilogue hadn’t taken place 4 years later. Maybe 2 years would’ve sufficed? I feel like there was so much unfinished business between these two that 4 years seems a little off to me but all in all, it works out in the end and I’m happy, so there’s that. 😉
“I love you. I think I was born to love you.”
*An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review.