I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick
Published by HarperTeen on September 9th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Verse, YA
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Madeleine Kuderick’s gripping debut is a darkly beautiful and lyrical novel in verse, perfect for fans of Sonya Sones and Laurie Halse Anderson. Kiss of Broken Glass pulses with emotion and lingers long after the last page.
In the next seventy-two hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for seventy-two hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain.
When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for mandatory psychiatric watch. There, Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who’s there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems . . . for a moment.
I missed the fact that this was a verse novel before I started it, but for me this was a pleasant surprise. Having been introduced to verse novels only recently, I’ve developed a liking to them. I love how raw, honest, and candid they are. Plus they feel like extremely quick reads, as if you’re just flying through. This one in particular, at only 220 some odd pages, can be read in mere minutes. The disadvantage of such a short novel, though, is that it lacks the emotional oomph and depth that I usually feel with verse writing. It does touch on an delicate subject matter – cutting as a fad – but it fails to deliver something truly poignant.
This is the story of Kenna who was caught in the act of cutting herself – a fad between a group of friends that has quickly turned into an addiction. This book is her narrative of her 72 hour stay inside a psychiatric ward where she’s under watch. It gives us a look inside the mind of an addiction that’s often misunderstood. Cutting is not always something brought on by a dark past or a depressed state, but it can also become something you do to fit in, to be a part of a club or a group. I found this very interesting and eye-opening. We come to understand not only how this addiction can surface, but also how hard it is to stop when your reasons – what you need to overcome to get better – are not so black and white. I also appreciate how the book doesn’t go into this topic with the intention of being a sob-fest. It’s not a story meant to leave us in shreds, it’s a story meant to make us understand. It’s a character analysis.
I do think the story should have kept its focus on the psyche of an addict, and leave the awkward bits of romance out of it. Kenna meets someone at the psych ward, and immediately after she learns his bizarre name she develops an affinity for him. From then on, the story keeps being interrupted to add annoying commentary about his lips and the smell of his skin. I found this unnecessary and more of a distraction than anything.
Kiss of Broken Glass may not have left me with my mind blown, but it’s a great little verse novel with a dramatic writing style and an important subject matter. It focuses not on the story itself, but rather on giving us a peek inside the mind of an addict.
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