I’d heard great things about Crichton’s books and how entertaining they were, but I’d never had a chance to read any until now.
When I actually began reading, I realized that my idea of this book was very different than reality. To be completely honest, I requested All Our Broken Pieces without knowing what it was about. I’d thought it was a friendship book, but uhhh—
I was wrong, to say the least.
But it’s cool. I moved past that relatively quickly, and don’t think it influenced my reading except for that brief moment where I realized that this was a romance, not an exclusively friendship book.
All Our Broken Pieces definitely fulfilled the entertaining part of the story, but there were a few things that I was so-so on that made it kind of a meh book for me. Positives first, though.
The romance and plot and characters were definitely engaging.
I thought Lennon and Kyler were individually interesting, and their own struggles were engaging and there.
I’ll talk about this more later, but I did think they were individual who are naturally intriguing. Like, if you met them in person, you’d want to know more. They have this type of magnetism to them that makes the story a lot more engaging.
Kyler has his own struggles with his scars and his relationship with his father, and Lennon is forever balancing looking okay on the outside and her OCD on the inside, as well as grief over her mother’s death and adjusting to a new family with a dad who doesn’t understand and a step-sister who hates her.
They’ve each got a lot of baggage, and it makes them interesting to read.
But I did feel like Kyler was a bit of a soft-on-the-inside bad boy cliché. Abusive father (emotionally, not physically), overprotective of sister, beats people up, hardened to life because it dealt him a bad hand, etc. Oh. And he has long hair. Do with that what you will.
Parts of his story felt a little bit dramatized (like his story for his scars etc.) and it sometimes felt just a little bit out there. He felt just a little bit too much like a cliché bad boy, and I was kind of hoping for someone softer for Lennon.
Lennon was a lot more complex and nuanced in my opinion, which I enjoyed.
So definitely interesting, even if they were each Characters with a Capital C at times.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about the OCD rep.
I’m not #OwnVoices for OCD, and even if I was, I still wouldn’t be able to speak for the whole community. Even with someone looking over All the Broken Pieces from a medical perspective, as well as sensitivity readers, things could be missed.
I could not find any #OwnVoices reviews for this, but if you have one, please let me know!
I can say that there were two instances in the book where I felt like it was borderline on romanticizing OCD with the phrasing. I didn’t mark them, and unfortunately I could only find the quote for one without rereading the whole book.
In general, I avoid books that mix mitigating the effects of mental illness and romance (i.e. All the Bright Places) because tragic or not, I feel like there’s a subtle undertone that suggests to the reader that romance “cures” mental illnesses.
I feel like it’s important to establish that the romance is not the reason the character is doing better. They’re doing better because they’re working on it themselves, not because having a partner suddenly makes things better and “cures” them of their illness.
This is the quote that gave me iffy vibes, and I tried not to take it out of context by including the full. (It’s on page 159, if you want it.)
“The place somewhere deep inside me where I understand that speaking to him, with him, about important things, trivial things, or shouldn’t be things, fires each piston in my brain, and for the first time in recent memory, I get deliverance from the storm that forever brews inside my head.
And it never lasts long enough.”
Do with this what you will. I personally can’t say whether or not the rep is good. But I feel like there were a few moments that could have used some rephrasing.
Similarly, something that I can definitively say is that I felt like some of the therapy Lennon did in a center was glossed over and overshadowed by the romantic motivations. The effort she put in while at the center was very much overshadowed by the fact that she was doing it to go back to Kyler, and it felt like there wasn’t enough emphasis on the fact that she was working on doing better.
It’s just she goes in after a spiral and comes out being able to face her worst fear, seemingly because of love and desire to get back to Kyler, which was the focus of the story while Lennon was in the center.
I wanted more emphasis on the benefits of therapy and what the center did for Lennon.
I realize I’m being kind of picky. But I also realize there are a lot of harmful stereotypes about OCD out there, and I was iffy with the way the romance and mental illness rep was mixed.
(I also want to note that there was no resources page or note at the end or beginning of the book, so do with that what you will. I didn’t remove stars for this, but it did make me hmm.)
Overall, All Our Broken Pieces had a lot of potential, but I’m not actually sure how I feel about the result.
I thought there were a lot of compelling elements in All the Broken Pieces, even if they were a bit cliché at times, but I was undecided on the OCD rep and how it factored in with the romance.
I’d definitely love to read an #OwnVoices review for this and am not sure if I’d recommend or not.
After her mother died, Lennon moves to L.A. to live with her dad and his family. However, adjusting to a new school and environment is hard, especially with her OCD and desire for security in the number five.
Kyler is the boy next door, and he hides his scars with his hoodies, instead keeping to himself and his notebooks where he writes music.
But when Lennon and Kyler’s lives collide, something new grows between them, but maintaining it may be more effort than it’s worth.
Content Warning: casual mention of girl who self-harmed, OCD (a spiral etc.), loss of a family member, bullying, outing of OCD,
Thank you so much to Disney Books & Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review. I read the finished copy, courtesy of the Class of 2k19 Books and L.D. Crichton.