I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.Other Broken Things by Christa Desir
Published by Simon & Schuster on January 12, 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Nat's not an alcoholic. She doesn't have a problem. Everybody parties, everybody does stupid things, like get in their car when they can barely see. Still, with six months of court-ordered AA meetings required, her days of vodka-filled water bottles are over.
Unfortunately her old friends want the party girl or nothing. Even her up-for-anything ex seems more interested in rehashing the past than actually helping Nat.
But then a recovering alcoholic named Joe inserts himself into Nat’s life and things start looking up. Joe is funny, smart, and calls her out in a way no one ever has.
He’s also older. A lot older.
Nat’s connection to Joe is overwhelming but so are her attempts to fit back into her old world, all while battling the constant urge to crack a bottle and blur that one thing she's been desperate to forget.
Now in order to make a different kind of life, Natalie must pull together her broken parts and learn to fight for herself.
From the outside, Nat seems to benefit from her privilege; she got drunk, got in a wreck, her dad paid for a lawyer, and she got some court ordered rehab and AA meetings. As you dive deeper into the story, you see that Nat is a person who struggles under the weight of two unhappy parents, she is a person who gave up something she truly loves to do because of “appearances”, and a person who keeps a secret burden that she can’t , or won’t, release. Other Broken Things felt very immersive. Nat’s narrative was honest and raw in a way that really sucked me into the story. Her court ordered sobriety and AA meeting attendance was something she resented and, in Nat’s mind, was something she didn’t need. Then, slowly, Nat begins to see the cracks in the structure of her life. The cracks were always there, but not as visible through the haze of alcohol and drugs. Other Broken Things recognizes the agony, defeat, triumph, and struggle of addiction. Nat held two people inside of her, the Nat who drank to escape and the Nat who had purpose. Part of any 12 step program is an examination of what got you there and the things that are within you that might send you back, and this book did such an amazing job of showing the hard emotional work it takes to face those truths. Other Broken Things is one of the most honest stories I have ever read in YA.
I don’t really know how to describe it, but I really felt this book. Perhaps because I’ve had close family members in twelve step programs, but everything about this story rang so true. It wasn’t just about the recovery aspect, either. Honesty, in all of its painful glory, was at the front of this story. It wasn’t just being honest with other people, but being perfectly and painfully honest with yourself, which it the toughest kind of honesty. That was really Nat’s struggle, as I saw it. While reading this book, it really did make me think about the ways that I am both honest and dishonest with myself. I think people readers will get a lot out of Other Broken Things, not just because it is a well told story, but because it really makes you think. I loved the way it handled the relationship between Nat and Joe, which was not always comfortable to read because it did not look away or try to gloss over any part of it. It was important to the story, though, as was Nat’s relationship with all of the adults she met in AA. They became her sponsors, her friends, and her small glimpse into what her future might hold, for better or for worse. The ending was not an easy one, because there is no real ending to addiction, but I thought it was perfect. I always say this when I read one of Christa Desir’s books, but I think this one is my favorite. I hope you’ll give it a place on your reading list.