Title: Summer of Broken Things
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 11, 2018
Fourteen-year-old Avery Armisted is athletic, rich, and pretty. Sixteen-year-old Kayla Butts is known as “butt-girl” at school. The two girls were friends as little kids, but that’s ancient history now. So it’s a huge surprise when Avery’s father offers to bring Kayla along on a summer trip to Spain. Avery is horrified that her father thinks he can choose her friends—and make her miss soccer camp. Kayla struggles just to imagine leaving the confines of her small town.
But in Spain, the two uncover a secret their families had hidden from both of them their entire lives. Maybe the girls can put aside their differences and work through it together. Or maybe the lies and betrayal will only push them—and their families—farther apart.
There were a few things that intrigued me about this book. The title was gorgeous. The premise was a mix of the well-known plot of enemies forced together and twists that made it original and so much better than that YA trope.
As with the premise, I thought the characters would be stereotypical as well. The whiny rich girl, the sullen not-so-rich girl wanting to escape her life. And while they started out that way, Haddix only uses these stereotypes to show her character’s growth and to surprise the reader later. Especially with Kayla, who is the more likeable and shows the most progression.
The setting was also a nice change. So many things are used to keep these girls out of their comfort zone and keep the story fresh. Adding a foreign country into the mix added a richness to the story and a few plot twists.
The prose was well-written and the message of being grateful for what you have and overcoming obstacles was integrated well. I especially liked that it had no violence, swearing, or sexual content so if you have a young reader that reads up to YA, this would be a clean choice.