LGBTuesdays: Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

An LGBTuesday post with a title like “broken things” looks like it will be a victim of the too-common bury-your-gays trope, but don’t be fooled by the title! This is a mystery book surrounding the death of a 13-year-old, but bear with us, this book is worth it.

The story centers around two girls-Brynn and Mia-who are both drawn back to their hometown on the fifth anniversary of their best friend Summer’s death. The town blames Brynn and Mia, who were the last ones confirmed to have seen their friend alive and who had technically written the entire death in a fanfiction based on a novel the friends all loved. If that story sounds familiar, it’s like that you’re remembering the Slender Man stabbing in 2014 where two girls killed their best friend to appease the fictional entity. The key difference is that in this story, Brynn and Mia didn’t do it.

We flash back and forth between present day and five years previous to weave the tale of their past friendship and their current hunt to uncover the real murderer and clear their names. Brynn at the start of the story identifies herself as a lesbian, having had multiple girlfriends in the five years since she’s last seen Mia. Mia has a new best friend, Abby, who identifies as an omnisexual (this term isn’t used frequently, most people have switched it for pansexual ever since Janelle Monae popularized the term in early 2018 when she came out in a Rolling Stone interview), which means she is attracted to people of all genders.

Mid-story, Abby calls out Brynn for starting at her, assuming it’s due to her body as she is a plus-size person. Brynn was actually staring because she was attracted to Abby, which leads to the pair kissing but Brynn leaving soon-after as she wrestles with memories of Summer’s previous gaslighting of her with regards to her sexuality.

It’s mentioned throughout the book that Summer would frequently flirt with Brynn to get her attention, confusing her and often hurting her in the process. This internalized homophobia is a topic that may stir some unpleasant memories in readers, so proceed with caution.

The ending of Brynn and Abby’s relationship is a spoiler, but be sure to check out the book to see what happens!

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