REVIEW: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Broken Girls Book Cover The Broken Girls
Simone St. James
Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal
Berkley
March 20, 2018
E-ARC
336
Penguin First Reads
November 12 - 23, 2017

A breakout suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare.

Vermont, 1950. There's a place for the girls whom no one wants--the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It's called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it's located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming--until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she's tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister's death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister's boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can't shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past--and a voice that won't be silenced. . . .

Review

BE STILL MY HEART!!!
If you read just ONE book in 2018, let it be THIS book!

I don’t even know where to begin with this. I finished reading just before Thanksgiving and I tried to tell my family how amazing this book was but I simply could NOT put all my feels into words to describe them! I’ll try my best here.

The Broken Girls is part ghost story, part mystery. It’s a dual timeline, which I loved, because every time we jumped to the other time period, I wanted to keep reading the timeline we had just left. Both story lines were equally compelling.

In 1950 we follow four boarding school girls, we know from the start of the book that one is murdered. Why we don’t know is which girl it is, why, and who did it. Was it the ghost? Was it one or all of the other girls? Another human? You’re literally guessing until almost the end.

Meanwhile, in 2014 we follow Fiona, a 30-something year old woman who’s life was torn asunder years ago when her sister was murdered and her body dumped on the property of the creepy boarding school. With the boarding school property purchased by a mysterious millionaire, Fiona—a journalist—sets out to write a story about the restoration… and maybe find a way to find closure with her own sisters murder.

This is a story filled to the brim with secrets. Every thread of this story is woven so intricately together that if you don’t read closely, you may miss a clue.

Seriously you guys, I can’t even. This book is everything. Upon finishing it, all I could think was, “Damn. I need to read EVERYTHING Simone St. James has ever written.”

Seriously. This is a must read. Though I received a digital ARC for free for review purposes, at some point I will probably go buy the actual book for my bookshelf to reread in the future.

 

I received a copy of this book from Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

* Note: Whittling down the number of passages I highlighted to feature here was HARD. I had so many markups on my digital edition!
Also note these quotes were taken from an advanced copy and
may differ in the final book.

 

She’d always known the monsters were real.
And they were here.

 

“Fee, Fee.” He was clearly laughing at her now. “You’ve spent too long with that policeman of yours. The police don’t have all the answers, and neither does the government. The people are where you find things. Like those records you just found. The people are the ones who keep the memories and the records the powers that be would rather erase.

 

Why do I have the feeling you’re not home in bed right now? Fiona stopped, staring down at the words. How the hell did he know? She wiped tears of cold from her eyes and typed a reply. Wrong. I’m snug under my covers, asleep. His reply was immediate. Oh shit. Where are you?

 

“Anthony,” Fiona managed as they crossed the field. “I think I saw—”

But he tugged her, nearly unbalancing her, and suddenly she was so close her shoulder touched his. “Shh,” he said, his voice lowered. “Please don’t say it. I think she listens.”

 

Deb had been three years older, and Fiona had followed everything she did— she’d worn Deb’s hand‑me‑down clothes, her old shoes, her old winter jackets. She was quieter and more introverted than her outgoing sister, but she’d tried her best not to be. Deb had been a road map of what to be, and when she’d died, that road map had vanished, leaving Fiona adrift. For twenty years and counting.

 

Unable to help herself, she tugged on the first box sitting at eye level and hauled it out, placing it on the cold ground and popping the lid off. Inside were textbooks, old and yellowed. The top was titled Latin Grammar for Girls .

Jamie read the title over her shoulder. “The good old days,” he commented, “when apparently Latin was different if you were a girl.”

 

Sonia laughed, though it was a painful story. She knew that laughing at it was one of Katie’s weapons, a way for her to make the experience smaller, easier to manage.

 

Mary knew everything. Mary saw everything. Everything. Even the things you didn’t say to yourself, deep in your own mind, ever.


My (Writing) Life

We survived Christmas!

Well, mostly. The family spoils my kids so much that it looks like a toy store blew up in my living room and kitchen. I’ve got them doing some organizing their toys right now, but they’re mostly whining and throwing fits. Is it time for them to go back to school yet??? (Parents who homeschool must have infinite patience!)

I had a wonderful holiday, spent lots of time with all of my family, and gave and received all sorts of wonderful gifts. Some highlights: My kids are beyond thrilled to finally own Minecraft, no longer limited to the hour long demo that doesn’t save their progress. Hubby received some delicious Pecan Canadian Whisky and a heater for the garage. And I received a beautiful tea box for all my tea bags, season 2 of Outlander, and a design tablet for my computer. I spent four hours yesterday evening putzing around on the computer and training myself to use the stylus instead of the mouse. I’m far from a professional with the stylus, but I’m getting better. Plus, last night I created a layer mask on a book cover I’m designing in Photoshop and it was the easiest – and quickest! – layer mask today. Also the most accurate. I think I’m in love.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well.

Now though, I’m ready for life to go back to normal. However if there’s one really good thing that came from the holiday season it was that it forced me to post a whole bunch of reviews (for the 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge) and now I’m sort of in the habit of posting a review a day. I MIGHT CATCH UP ON MY BOOK REVIEW POSTINGS BEFORE JANUARY!!!

Alright, I’ve got kids to wrangle, a house to clean up, laundry to wash, and a headache to boot.

Until next time! (When maybe I’ll even have some writing updates???)

 

6 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

    • I fan girl over my favorite books, but aside from those I can be difficult to please. I honestly can’t remember the last time a book left me feeling the way this one did!

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