What's Broken Between Us

304p. ebook available. Harper Teen. Dec. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062275356.
Gr 8 Up—Amanda and Henry have danced around their feelings for each other the entire time their siblings, Jonathan (Amanda's brother) and Sutton (Henry's sister), have been dating. They finally decide to act upon them the night of Jonathan and Sutton's graduation, not knowing tragedy is about to strike. While the two of them leave a party for privacy, Jonathan, Sutton, and their best friend Grace head to another party. Jonathan, drunk, crashes the car, killing Grace and nearly paralyzing Sutton. A year later, he is being released from prison and Amanda, now a senior, is not sure how she feels about everything. Her feelings for Henry still exist, but she's spent the last year keeping all of them pent up. Henry, trying to help Sutton, wants Amanda's help keeping his sister and Jonathan apart. Amanda is more worried about her brother staying out of prison. Amanda and Henry have to decide if they are ready to heal and focus on each other. The narrative is told from Amanda's point of view, starting before Jonathan's release from prison and flashing back to the events that changed everyone's lives. Jonathan, Grace, and Henry are fully fleshed out, and even the secondary characters are distinct. References to drinking, sex, Alcoholics Anonymous, and drug testing are included throughout the story. This well-done realistic novel presents an honest look at the aftermath of bad decisions.
VERDICT Hand this to fans of Lurlene McDaniel and Simone Elkeles; purchase where realistic YA fiction is in demand.

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