Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Module 9 Mystery

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf


Allie begins the novel in recovery of her car accident with her boyfriend Tripp.  Tripp doesn’t survive the accident, but he continues to haunt her with his past deeds.  He physically and mentally abused Allie throughout their relationship.   Allie can’t even look in the mirror without a reminder of Tripp.  Her face is scarred and depression keeps her in bed.  Once Allie finally returns to school she is mistreated by other students because she survived and Tripp did not.  She even receives threats in her locker.  Allie begins to seek comfort in Blake and even the new detective questions Allie’s knowledge and involvement of the accident.  Her brother tries to help Allie recover emotionally, but it becomes clear that Allie find out who is threatening her safety now.  

Bibliographic Citation

Wolf, J. S. (2012). Breaking Beautiful. New York: Walker and Company.

My Impressions of the Book

The book is creative and looks at abusive relationships through the eyes of both the victim and her family as well as the unsuspecting and judgmental public.  Allie faces the pain of her injuries and heartbreak as well the blame of her classmates.  If she shares what Tripp did to her then she looks guilty, but if she keeps the past a secret Tripp remains the town hero.  Allie’s determination to carry on is slow to build, but it is great to see her regain a sense of self.  The take away from the book is that she does have hope and with a little help she can overcome her past. 


Eighteen-year-old Allie's life changes in an instant when her boyfriend, Trip Phillips, drives off a cliff in small-town Pacific Cliffs. Allie survives the wreck but wishes her secret would have died with him. She is haunted by the fact that Trip was physically and emotionally abusive. She can't remember that fatal night but is sure that the incident wasn't an accident. Maybe her twin brother was trying to protect her from Trip's abuse, or maybe it was her best friend, Blake. Regardless, the case is reopened as suspicious circumstances begin to emerge, and Allie must relive that night and find the courage to speak up about the abuse even though she fears that no one will believe her. Teens will be consumed by the mystery, and romantics will hope that Allie and Blake can make it even though it seems that the town is against them. The author has done a good job of helping readers understand the accident as it is told in flashbacks yet intertwined with present-day events. The story unfolds in a convincing manner; nothing is left open-ended, which leaves readers sure that Allie is no longer in turmoil, and that she has moved forward.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI

Alexander, K. (2012). Breaking Beautiful [Review of the book Breaking Beautiful, by J. S. Wolf]. School Library Journal, 58, 178

Ideas for Library Use

Breaking Beautiful is a creative mystery and would make for a fun book club read.  It could be paired with a mystery solving contest for book club members.

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