Published by Macmillan Children's Books
Published on 7 February 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Pan MacMillan
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'This time around, I'm going to be so much better. I'm going to prove to them that it was worth waiting on me.'
Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She's back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they're about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you're the one left behind?
Fierce Fragile Hearts is the stunning sequel to international bestseller Beautiful Broken Things.
I received a copy of this book from Pan MacMillan in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This book review is part of the #AusYABloggers blog tour.
I was well prepared for this book.
I’ve read the first book in this series, and I’ve read Barnard’s other books as well, so I knew exactly what I was getting into.
Even when I was asked to join the blog tour, and I said YES PLEASE, just imagine me on my knees, unbuttoning the top few buttons of my shirt, and offering myself to the pointed blade that is all the feels that flood from reading a Sara Barnard book. And she’s standing at the other end, gleefully pointing the sword at me.
That’s me and this book.
And I fucking love it.
I love it so much that it’s hard to put into words exactly why I love it.
It’s the story of a young woman coming to terms with her life after recovering from an abusive father. Two years after a downward spiral nearly took her life, Suzanne returns to the only place she’s ever felt like home: Brighton, England, where her two best friends live. Only, Rosie and Caddy are going away to university, and Suzanne is stuck in a one room bedsit with no friends, no family, no emotional stability, and a job that barely covers her bills and rent.
The blurb didn’t say much about the book but that’s OK, because I’d read and loved Beautiful Broken Things, which was from Caddy’s point of view. I was glad to switch over to Suzanne’s point of view in this book, because she’s brutally honest and beautifully vulnerable, her armour barely holding her together with nothing but determination.
I won’t spoil the plot, but I will mention that this book is just as beautiful as Beautiful Broken Things, maybe even more. Barnard writes with a kind of clarity that strikes me right in the heart. I lived in England for two years and it was the toughest two years of my life next to my husband becoming disabled. I find Barnard’s writing really personal, like she writes specifically just for me, like she knows all of my deepest secrets and fears and desires and lays them out on the page for me to cry over. I lost count of how many times I cried reading this book, and I cried three separate times in the first 100 pages.
I never even particularly liked Suzanne before I read this book, but Barnard writes so beautifully that I formed a deep connection to this fictional character and ended up really caring about her through the novel. I also felt like the secondary characters had really great motivations and stories of their own that we didn’t get to see all of because they’re living their own lives and we’re seeing everything through Suzanne’s limited POV.
I also feel like you don’t have to have read Beautiful Broken Things before reading Fierce Fragile Hearts (although you should totally read it because it’s amazing). There’s enough information and backstory given through the novel to get a strong grasp of what Suzanne went through two years ago.
Basically if you’ve ever read one of Barnard’s novels I think you’ll love this one just as much, and if you’re into contemporary novels, or like having your heart ripped out and stomped all over, you’ll probably like this one, too. There is a kind of a romance but I wouldn’t call this a contemporary romance, so that’s OK for people who aren’t into that, too. Basically, everyone should read this and then we can all cry together as Barnard bathes in a pool of our tears.
Sara Barnard lives in Brighton and does all her best writing on trains. She loves books, book people and book things. She has been writing ever since she was too small to reach the ‘on’ switch on the family’s Amstrad computer. She gets her love of words from her dad, who made sure she always had books to read and introduced her to the wonders of second-hand bookshops at a young age.
Sara is trying to visit every country in Europe, and has managed to reach thirteen with her best friend. She has also lived in Canada and worked in India. Her debut novel Beautiful Broken Things was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and selected as part of Zoella’s Book Club.