Let’s Talk YA

A while ago, the lovely Emma from Never Judge A Book By It’s Cover and I shared some mutal fangirling over Enchantee on Twitter and this sparked a conversation about how we often just like and retweet bookish comments, which is brilliant, but we often forget to fully engage. Eventually, this lead to the creation of a brand new feature that Emma and I are co-hosting, where we share a book, preferably UKYA, that’s under-rated and try to start a conversation about it.


The book that I’m kicking off the feature with is the stunning Beautiful Broken Things duology by Sara Barnard. img_2420

Beautiful Broken Things:

I was brave
She was reckless
We were trouble

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

Fierce Fragile Hearts:

‘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.

TW: Abuse, Depression, PTSD, mentions of suicide

Why I Love These Books:

  • Sara Barnard really helped me get into YA and discussing mental health issues with these books. It helped me address social stigmas towards mental health within my own life and realise that recovery isn’t just a straight path. This has helped me be a better ally to close friends and family.
  • These books centre on the complexities of female friendship, something that is rarely addressed. As a teenage girl, seeing this reflected made me feel seen and meant that I connected to the stories even more. They were messy, complex, dramatic and brilliant, all in the space of two books.
  • The characters are just so realistic, complex, memorable and easy to connect to. I genuinely cared about what happened to them and appreciated their vulnerability and ability to be messy. Caddy, Rosie and Suzanna will stay with me for a long time.
  • The writing style just flows really well, making these easily bingeable. It also has gorgeous prose that pulls you into this incredible duology.
  • They tackle dark and heavy issues, with sensitivity and nuance.
  • I loved the change of perspective in FFH, as it allowed Barnard to really delve into the issues she started to discuss in BBT.
  • They really sparked a discussion for me about mental health representation in books and the way that teenage girls are often pitted against each other in the media.

Let’s talk!

Have you read BBT or FFH? What did you think of them?

Thank you for checking out my post and this new feature; any thoughts or comments would be great. Don’t forget to read over to Emma’s blog to see what her suggestion for this week was.

We’ll be shouting about them on Twitter as well, so make sure to use the hashtag #LetsTalkYA.

28 thoughts on “Let’s Talk YA

      • babblesnbooks says:

        Under my skin by James Dawson is a bit similar but with a bit of magical realism. It’s about a girl who gets a tattoo that comes to life and takes control of her, trying to deal with the dark issues in her life. It deals with mental health, body issues, and abusive relationships.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ashortbooklover says:

        That’s one that’s been on my radar for ages, but I haven’t got round to picking it up yet! I’ll order it from the library today, as that sounds great. Also heads up, James is the author’s dead name, so I think all the books have been recategorised under Juno, as that’s her name.


      • ashortbooklover says:

        It’s fine, I just wanted to let you know! If you haven’t read any of her more recent stuff, I would highly recommend them, as there’s that same grit, casual diversity and raw look at tough issues. In fact, she might be my feature for next week.


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