I honestly enjoyed this book more than it’s first novel Beautiful Broken Things. To see things from Suzanne Watt’s perspective three years later open my eyes and made me understand the characters more. I bought the first book just to read FFH, and I’m glad I did. It would’ve felt like a whole part was missing if I hadn’t read BBT first.
Fierce Fragile Hearts, the companion novel to Beautiful Broken Hearts by Sara Barnard follows the story of Suzanne Watt’s life three years later, back in Brighton. Her friends Rosie and Caddy are continuing their lives in college which leaves Suzanne all alone in Brighton to figure things out. At eighteen she can do things she couldn’t do at fifteen, but something is holding her back. Especially when boys and responsibility enter her life to add onto the list.
I’ve received a copy of FFH by Pan Mac Millan Australia in exchange for an honest review. I’ve been given this opportunity through the AusYABloggers! It’s my very first book blog, and I’m really excited for you all to read this review. My blog is the third stop in the Fierce Fragile Hearts Blog Tour. Check out here for the rest of the fantastic reviews, interviews, and giveaway for the book!
The plot itself in this book was slightly better than BBT. However, I’m not here to compare. At first, I thought it was a bit too fast-paced as a few chapters concluded what happened in a few days or weeks. Barnard added a few events that happened, but once I realized why she summarised it, I understood it was to make way for the rest of the rising tension. Suzanne lives in a small bedsit and has a regular job at a cafe. Caddy, her best friend, is dating a guy named Kel who introduces Suzanne to Matt. Kel’s best friend. At the start, I didn’t think Matt was that important, but he was part of the rising tension, in a good way. Trust me, Matt grew onto me because I was skeptical of him at first.
Once I reached the climax of the story I was happy with how it resolved because in a way it didn’t…quite easily. Suzanne spiraled out of control, and that’s her initial reaction to the situation. I’m trying not to spoil anything here, haha, so excuse my bland explanation. I loved that Barnard made Suzanna better, but she still thinks about her past and still attached to it as well as her parents. It obviously couldn’t be resolved in one book through another character. I felt like the end of Beautiful Broken Things was a new beginning for Suzanne Watts.
When someone knows you've been broken, all they see is the cracks. The knowledge colours everything, an extra filter between me and the world. People look at me differently, and maybe I look out at the world a little differently, too. - page 4
One character I had a problem with was Caddy. I wasn’t entirely happy with her character development. I loved that she’d come out of her shell and found Kel, but it seemed a bit too much. First, she assumed Suzanne was the same girl she’d met fifteen years ago, and I think to myself. Has Caddy forgotten South Hampton and Gwillian House? Also, the fact that it’s been nearly three years. She wasn’t the only one to change. I hated how she reacted to things and found it totally unnecessary for Barnard to include an external conflict. Maybe I’m just saying that because I preferred Kel over Caddy.
One thing’s for sure. I loved Rosie’s character in BBT, and I loved her in this book too. She hadn’t changed and instead became more close to Suzanne. Or us readers, we given the missing insight as to Suzanne and Rosie’s friendship.
"I thought you needed a friend. And I figured, just this once, that friend should me." - page 187, Rosie
The other characters like Dilys, Marcus, Kel, and Matt were absolute sweethearts. I loved how they tied along to the story. If it were just the three old friends again, it wouldn’t have made the book as good as it was. Dilys was the friend that Suzanne needed to reach that realization that she’s an adult. Marcus opened her eyes to her future. Kel was there for her when Caddy and Rosie weren’t. Matt, ugh I love Matt. I think I’ve mentioned that already but I don’t care! Their relationship was pure and meaningful. Barnard showed us that a random guy that comes into a girls’ life won’t be the only solution. Matt was everything for Suzanne that no one else realized.
Also, the fact that we finally get a chance to see the conversation between Suzanne and her parents. Those moments were heartbreaking, and I just wanted to yank her away from them. I was surprised by what Barnard decided to do with Brian, Suzanne’s older brother. That was more surprising than the parents.
The little things in this book got to me. Rosie’s strong personality where we get to see both sides to her. Dilys and her adorable dog Clarence who I found odd at first but they flowed through the story and miraculously connected throughout the plot. Matt whenever he’d visit Suzanne, and they’d hang out. Suzanne’s friends whenever they visited her in her small bedsit. It was like an introduction to their new lives as adults. Clearly, there were stumbles along the way, but they were resolved, and on the way, Suzanne found herself. She made some fantastic friends who were there for her through her tough times. I enjoyed the ending especially since Sarah, her aunt was included. Each character was spoken of and received closure which left me in a happy mood to write this review, worthy of four shiny stars!
Let me tell you, anyone who thinks romantic love is the pinnacle of human emotion has never had a friend who looked at them like she looked at me. Love might burn the brightest fires, but fire burns out. Friendship is warm and steady; constant. It keeps me alive. - page 333