Published on 21st February 2017
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Mira and Francesca Cillo—beautiful, overprotected, odd—seemed untouchable. But Ben touched seven parts of Mira: her palm, hair, chest, cheek, lips, throat, and heart. After the sisters drown themselves in the quarry lake, a post-mortem letter from Mira sends Ben on a quest to find notes in the seven places where they touched. Note by note, Ben discovers the mystical secret at the heart of Mira and Francesca's world, and that some things are better left untouched.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Man, these girls were broken long before anyone even died.
Two sisters lead a completely sheltered life and when their promiscuous cousin dies, they seemingly commit suicide by drowning in the local quarry pool shortly afterwards. The younger sister, Mina, left several notes to her ex-boyfriend explaining why they died but in a convoluted way she hid them in places where he touched her, including adult bedrooms, which is weird, so the ex (Ben, by the way, and our sad little hero) has to set off on this strange little quest to break into places to find these notes and find out why the sisters died.
The biggest question that kept me going in this book was why? Why did the sisters act this way, wh did the whole town lust after them, why were they basically shut-ins with no technology allowed in their house and a control-freak dad who called every hour on the hour to make sure they weren’t, I don’t know, screwing around? Why did the beloved cousin die, and why did it have this weird effect on the sisters? Why was Mina so cruel and Francesca so confident (arrogant?) about how special she was?
Basically, because Francesca suffers from stigmata she thinks she should become a saint and so she volunteers at a soup kitchen where she passes horrible judgment on everyone and manages to convince herself that the youth pastor will fall in love with her once he only figures out how special she is. I’m not sure what she wants from the youth pastor, Mr Falso. Does she want to screw him or just his spiritual approval? It really smacks me of the whole ‘women as evil seducers’ because this skinny, starving herself teenage girl wants more from an older man when Ben (remember Ben, the actual main character in this novel?) was actually sexually assaulted by his old coach, not that he remembers it, and in fact the only evidence anyone has to go on is a entire list the coach made of kids that Ben happened to be on. What happened to the other kids on the list? Why is Ben singled out and made a fuss of years later over something he doesn’t even remember? Anyway my point is that underage girl + older man = girl is seducer but underage boy + older man = boy is victim.
Anyway,Francesca is pretty awful, she’s so convinced she has magical powers that it leads to complete tagedy. Meanwhile, Mina is casually cruel throughout the book and even murders a helpless tiny kitten just for shits and giggles, so neither girl is really one I found anything redeeming about.
And Ben’s drive to find the truth behind the girls is largely misguided and supposed to be based on his own backstory.
Look, this book was just weird. True, I did find all the Catholic stuff pretty interesting because I was raised Catholic then left the Church when I realised God doesn’t exist, but Ben having the break into places and find notes left behind where Mina had had to do the exact same thing months before to leave them there? And the fact that their suicide was clearly planned because of these notes brings up similarities to Thirteen Reasons Why, which I couldn’t even finish because it seemed to be about a girl who just couldn’t handle being a girl, and it seems that Beautiful Broken Girls also was about girls who just couldn’t handle being girls, and although parts of the book were interesting, other parts struggled to hold my interest, and it’s not really a subject I’m that interested, the weakness of women, I mean.
And the ending just didn’t make any sense to me, and I have thought about it a lot since I finished the book and I still don’t get it.