by Jenny Valentine
I feel as if my review can't do this book justice, since I've read so many other reviews that are much better than mine. I agree with a lot of them, so I'll include a lot of links.
After the death of her brother Jack two years ago, 15 year old Rowan has been taking care of her 6 year old sister Stroma. Her father doesn't know about this situation, and the fact the their mother has been in a "state" where she doesn't do anything and just wallows all day. Rowan sacrifices a lot for her sister, who is one precocious, adorable child. A small event of not-dropping a negative picture leads to Rowan discovering and forming relationships and friendships with people she never expected to talk to. She grows as a character, with her 2 new friends, who all seem to be brought together by Jack.
Broken Soup was great. It was wonderful. Funny. Heartbreaking. I loved it. First, I need to comment on Rowan. She's brave, strong, caring, mature, and forced to grow up too fast when her mother basically 'abandons' her and her sister. She adds little bits into the narrative the makes the story so much richer and enjoyable, like small tidbits that aren't really needed but sweet all the same. She cares so much for her sister, and the bond between them was great. I loved Stroma too, she could be funny, mature, naive, but somehow this all works.
The theme of grief and moving on was well written. Simple things like walking into Jack's room were detailed and thoughtful. I also liked Bee and Harper, the to people who become important to Rowan in their own way. Bee, who is enigmatic, likable, and caring, but grieving, and Harper, who takes care of Rowan because she has already spent too much time caring for others. The dad, who wasn't there, but was when they most needed him.
It was sad in many parts, and I admit I got a bit choked up in more than one part. I felt the writing (first person from Rowan's POV) fit with her character perfectly.
Broken Soup is an enchanting novel of grief, family, relationships, and moving on.
Here are a few links to other reviews, which I mostly agree on.
The YaYaYa's (here)
Wondrous Reads (here)
9.3/10 - because I loved it. It felt real to me, the characters, the situation, the plot. I felt Rowan's concerns, worries, and hopes, but also her grief and sacrifices. Struggling to do things by herself, Rowan is amazing in so many ways. I've heard a lot of comparisons of Broken Soup to Jellicoe Road, but I personally haven't read Jellicoe yet, so I'm not sure. I would recommend it to anyone, but maybe with a warning that it isn't exactly a light-hearted read. Oh, and I love the cover :)