Broken Soup

First Lines: It wasn’t mine.  I didn’t drop it but the boy in line said I did.

This was a book I bought at a used book sale for super cheap and, occasionally, I like to actually read them.  (In between library books and whatever I have on my Kindle.)  This little book was tiny in just about every way, and I figured it might be good to take with me to the lake to read.

When a stranger presses a photo negative into Rowan’s hand, assuring her it’s hers, Rowan doesn’t really know what to do but she doesn’t think too much of it either.  After all, her brother is dead, her dad left, her mom won’t get out of bed, and Rowan has to take care of her little sister because no one else will.  A photo negative that isn’t hers is the least of her worries.  But she can’t help but be intrigued by it and the boy who gave it to her.  Who is he and why was he so insistent?  When the photograph develops, Rowan discovers the last thing she ever expected to see in print.  Everything is about to change…and maybe for the positive.

So, just to put it out there, not a good beach read.

Objectively speaking, this was a good book.  It covers a wide array of real problems that young readers may have to deal with and shows them how they can cope with a sibling’s death or a mother who is depressed.  It never shied away from being realistic, even when I wished it would.

The little book is probably the heaviest thing I’ve read in a long time.  It deals with so many serious topics, like death and depression.  Rowan is only 15 and she’s dealing with way more than she should have to.  Obviously, I know this kind of thing happens in the real world all the time.  But it’s never happened to me, and that made this really hard to read at times.  It was a very serious book with very little levity of any kind.

There were a lot of secrets in the story, which did help drive the plot but they became somewhat predictable.  There were a few that threw me off my game, but I saw how many were going to go.

Also, because I wasn’t expecting it, this story is set in London.  I didn’t know that for many chapters and it kept confusing me.

Overall, it was a good book, but just so heavy and depressing.  This is not a happy book.  It deals with harsh realities, but it can be quite touching when it wants to be.  It wasn’t what I was expecting it to be and, I think, it probably wasn’t the right book for me.

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