Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY — What’s Broken Between Us

Posted December 27, 2015 by Jess in books / 0 Comments

What’s Broken Between Us
by Alexis Bass
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: December 29, 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction




Alexis Bass’s heartbreakingly beautiful second novel is a tale of love, loss, and learning to forgive.

Look to the left, look to the right. We’re all going to die. But someone has to do it first. So who’s it going to be?

Tragedy struck Amanda Tart’s town a year and a half ago when a sophomore girl was killed in a car accident on graduation night.

Amanda’s brother, Jonathan, was behind the wheel and too drunk to drive. He’s spent the past year in prison and has cut off all ties. But now Jonathan is coming home. Just as Amanda’s trying to figure out what that means for her family and herself, she’s paired up for a school project with Henry Crane—a former crush, and brother of Jonathan’s ex-girlfriend, who survived the crash with horrible injuries.

Everyone is still incredibly damaged by the events of that night. Can Amanda and Henry finally begin to heal what’s broken and find some peace?

When I started What’s Broken Between Us, I knew it was going to be a turbulent, emotional read. What I didn’t expect was to see a completely new perspective on the impact of tragedy.

This book is about life after the death of a teenager due to drunk driving. This is something that occurs SO frequently in our culture, so much so that most of us can relate to this story in some way. Whether it was that girl or guy who flitted through the school or one of our very best friends, the shock of that life cut short is a thread we can cling to during this story.

So, imagine my surprise when I found out the main character wasn’t someone who was in the car… It wasn’t the person who survived the accident, or even the person who was behind the wheel. Instead, it was the sister of the person convicted of manslaughter and put in prison.  This one decision of the author made the world shift for me. When a crime is committed, your first thoughts are with the families of the victims… Then you think of the person who committed the crime. But rarely do we reflect on what it is like for those left in the wake of the tragedy — the family.

Amanda is the little sister of the ‘it’ guy in school. She coasts through her life on the wings of his reputation and is happy rather happy to exist in this bubble. But when he kills his best friend and permanently injures his girlfriend, Amanda is left to walk the halls of high school with a spotlight on her.

It was SO interesting to see how Bass dug into the mind of Amanda. She had to be perfect and she had to practice every part of her persona to the public — down to the practiced smile and the words she’d say to show some feigned remorse just for being related to Jonathan. It was so frustrating at times I wanted to scream at her, because what kind of life is that? How exhausting must that have been?

These characters are gritty. They aren’t always pretty. There are not all these redeeming qualities and sweeping grand gestures.  Instead, there are several emotionally exhausted people trying to cope in the world. There are parents trying to save their image at all costs. There is a guy who screwed up so bad and continues to screw up, because sometimes people don’t get their act together like they should. And there are people like Amanda who can’t help but love their family members, even when they’ve done something unforgivable.

If you read other reviews, you’ll see this book involves romance — and cheating. I don’t say this lightly, because I know it is a semi-spoiler, but it happens. So many reviews say they hated it, but for me — it was real. It happens. Yes, they could have chosen to break up with their significant others first. But… life doesn’t always happen like that. Sometimes we screw up. We do the wrong thing even when it feels like the right thing. And I loved that Bass had the courage not to give us what we wanted, but to write some incredibly complex characters who despite everything were human. Sometimes we’ve got to see that side of life. And rather than it being an example of what to do, it becomes a domino effect of what happens when you make these choices.

This book isn’t going to be for everyone, but I think it has its place in this market. The book is above all, an interesting look into the people stuck in the middle. The people who are stained by the guilt of those closest to them, even though they are innocent.  I’m most impressed by the author — her writing such an honest and flawed story that was just…. life.

Look to the left, look to the right. We’re all going to die. But someone has to do it first. So who’s it going to be?

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Alexis Bass grew up in Washington, went to college in Arizona, and spent her early twenties in Seattle. She currently lives in Northern California with Dylan McKay, her gorgeous and rambunctious golden retriever. She loves good fashion and good TV as much as a good book, and is a huge advocate of the three C’s: coffee, chocolate, and cheese. LOVE AND OTHER THEORIES is her first novel.

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