In this lyrical, heartwrenching story about a forbidden first love, a teen seeks the courage to care for another girl despite her small town’s bigotry and her father’s violent threats.
Growing up in conservative small-town New Mexico, fifteen-year-old Mara was never given the choice to be different. Her parents—an abusive, close-minded father and a detached alcoholic mother—raised Mara to be like all the other girls in Barnaby: God-fearing, churchgoing, and straight. Mara wants nothing to do with any of it. She feels most at home with her best friend and older brother, Iggy, but Iggy hasn’t been the same since their father beat him and put him in the hospital with a concussion.
As Mara’s mother feeds her denial with bourbon and Iggy struggles with his own demons, Mara finds an escape with her classmate Xylia. A San Francisco transplant, Xylia is everything Mara dreams of being: free-spirited, open, wild. The closer Mara and Xylia become, the more Mara feels for her—even though their growing relationship is very much forbidden in Barnaby. Just as Mara begins to live a life she’s only imagined, the girls’ secret is threatened with exposure and Mara’s world is thrown into chaos.
Mara knows she can't live without Xylia, but can she live with an entire town who believes she is an abomination worse than the gravest sin?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Once in a great while, when the stars align just right, you find a book that is so absolutely gorgeous, you can't help but scream from the rooftops: EVERYBODY NEEDS TO READ THIS!!! That is how I feel about "Beauty of the Broken." I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of this gem. It is a page-turner that grabs hold of your heart-strings on the very first page, and does not let them go. Right away I felt like I knew these characters - Mara, Iggy, Xylia - quickly fell in love with them, and at the novel's end I was both heartbroken and hopeful. The painful but life-affirming journey Ms. Waters has crafted should be on bookshelves and school libraries everywhere. This book will change you. Don't miss it!
Every once in awhile, you read a book that grabs your heart and won’t let go. It doesn’t happen very often. When it does, it stays with you forever. For me such a book is Beauty of the Broken by Tawni Waters. I found myself reading the last page at 3 AM and sobbing like a baby. I suppose you could say this is a YA lesbian coming of age novel. But that’s a little like saying Moby Dick is a book about fishing. It’s the story of Mara, a 15 year old girl growing up in a small town in New Mexico in a family that raises the meaning of “dysfunctional” to a new level. On the first page, Mara’s drunken father smashes her beloved brother, Iggy, with a two by four causing permanent brain damage. The stakes are raised when Mara finds herself falling in love with the new girl in a town where lesbians are considered “abominations”. The scene describing Mara’s recognition of this first love is one of the most memorable portrayals of...
I am not good with words, but I have to let people know about an author who is. Tawni Waters. I read the book, Beauty of the Broken, in a day. The world she crafted sucked me right in. It's not an easy read, but it's full of hope and beauty, of the broken and for the broken.
I keep thinking of a movie like Fried Green Tomatoes and that this book should be turned into a movie. I hope that it will happen one day.
It is aimed at young adults but this 37 year old would tend to disagree. It's for every adult.
A gorgeous story.
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