What's Broken Between Us
by Alexis Bass
Release Date: December 29th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find It: Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
Alexis Bass’s heartbreakingly beautiful second novel is a tale of love, loss, and learning to forgive, perfect for fans of Gayle Forman and of Robyn Schneider's The Beginning of Everything.
A year and a half ago, Amanda Tart's brother got behind the wheel drunk and killed his best friend. Today, he's coming home from prison.
Amanda's been the one living with the fallout, made worse by her brother's recent unapologetic TV interview. People think he's a monster. Still, she loves him. It's her dark secret, until she starts getting close to Henry again--whose sister is paralyzed from the accident.
A year and a half ago, her brother destroyed his life. Now Amanda has to decide if she'll let his choice destroy hers.
Amanda is having trouble staying out of the spotlight ever since her brother, Jonathan, who made the terrible mistake of driving drunk one night, had a car accident that killed one friend and injured another. Everyone at school knows who Jonathan is, and Amanda constantly feels like her every move is being judged. She can’t cry when she wants for fear of someone thinking it’s an act. Even smiling is not allowed, due to her assuming that others are thinking she’s not taking the situation with her brother seriously. This poor girl, who just happens to be the sister of the talk of the town, is completely consumed with feelings and has no idea how to let them show.
This group of characters was really great. Amanda, who makes her fair share of mistakes herself, felt like a very real and honest teenager to me. Some people who read this book may be bothered by her and her choices are times… but for me, I wasn’t bothered by her mistakes. Yes, I can honestly say they are not okay and I don’t agree with them… but they happen. In real life, people make mistakes. Everyone. So this isn’t something that would take away from the story for me. It actually added to its realistic attributes and made more of an impact on me.
“I killed Grace Marlamount, Sutton will never walk on her own again, and, here you all are, still giving me the benefit of the doubt.”
There’s lying, cheating, underage drinking, and other bad behaviors… but that’s what this story is all about. These are teenagers, and they’re making honest mistakes. A lot of them, actually. This isn’t only about these teenagers and their mistakes though. It’s a realistic look at what a family goes through in hard times… whether it be the family of the boy had made the drunken mistake and killed his friend and injured others, or the families of the ones that were injured as a result of his lapse in judgment, these families are all struggling, and it affects them each in a very different way.
“I’ve become the kind of girl who lies to her best and only real friend.”
My one complaint about this story, which kept me from giving it a higher rating, was the ending. It felt much too abrupt and open-ended. I know a lot of books tend to end like this, but I felt like it was missing something. It needed more.
Overall, another great read from Alexis! I enjoyed this one even more than her debut, which was also quite interesting. If you’re looking for a stark look at real teenagers making mistakes and growing from them, this is a wonderful coming-of-age story that can definitely benefit its readers.