Review | The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

“Books were her salvation. As a child, she’d had a shelf of childhood favorites that she loved enough to read over and over again. But after, during the hospital stay and the long voyage and the cold days in Idlewild’s dreary hallways, books became more than mere stories. They were her lifeline, the pages as essential to her as breathing.” 4.75/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: gifted radios, archive boxes, black veils, writings in book margins, whispers, newspapers, beautiful notebooks, concentration camps, police stations, dead bodies and a lot of mystery.

What a great book. For me this was very close to being a perfect thriller/horror book.

This story is told in two parallel timelines, one in 1950 and another one in 2014. In 1950, we are given the daily life of four friends that lived in a boarding school for “troubled girls” named Idlewild. There were rumours that the school was haunted by a ghost named Mary Hand, who knows all about the girls’ worst fears. The four girls share a room and they become close friends after sharing their fears with each other… until one of them disappears. Nobody knows what happened to the girl and the mystery was never solved… until 2014. In the present, a journalist named Fiona can’t let go of her sister’s murder. Her sister’s body was found twenty years ago in the famous boarding school grounds, but she never found peace about what really happened that night. She keeps investigating her sister’s case with her police officer boyfriend, but when an investor buys the property and starts the renovations, everything changes. A dead body is found and with that, a lot of secrets are also brought to life.

I really liked how the book made me wonder so much. While I was reading this I kept thinking about how the entire story would fit and where all the elements and facts would collide. Another thing I kept thinking was “is this a ghost story or are there really murderers”… well, you get the answer to that.

I loved the story, I was entertained the entire time, and I couldn’t put the book down because I was so invested in everything. Not only that, but the book was so creepy that after I put the book down I kept looking at the corners of my house afraid I might see something scary! It was an amazing experience that both intrigued me and made me anxious. The only “problems” I had with this book were the explanations given for the two deaths that happened in 1994 and 1950, and also the way the “Mary Hand” story is connected to the main plot. Don’t get me wrong, the story is really well done and some crazy elements were added that will make you say “WHAT!”, but I still felt the lack of surprises and shocks regarding the main events. And yes, some things come full circle which I liked, but some of them do not.  Basically there were some things that I wish were done differently but… oh well, what can you do?

If you are worried about not knowing about what really happened in the end, I would say that I didn’t consider this to be a book with an open ending. With that said, there are “small” things that are never explained. I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone, but let’s just say that if you are a naturally skeptical person, you probably won’t like some of these “small loose ends” – if you can even call it that.

I really liked it. Dark, full of mystery, very atmospheric, super creepy and Halloween perfect! Like I said it’s not a perfect book but, to be honest, it was a really close call.

xoxo, Neide

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