Wednesday, January 28, 2015
8:11 AM | Posted by Ashley G. |
Author: Madeleine Kuderick
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Rating: 4 Cows
Madeleine Kuderick’s gripping debut is a darkly beautiful and lyrical novel in verse, perfect for fans of Sonya Sones and Laurie Halse Anderson. Kiss of Broken Glass pulses with emotion and lingers long after the last page.
In the next seventy-two hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for seventy-two hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain.
When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for mandatory psychiatric watch. There, Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who’s there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems . . . for a moment.
“Kiss of Broken Glass” is a verse novel, written about the serious issue of cutting. From the start, what I really liked about this book was that it was written in verse. For me, it took off some of the edge that can come with reading about such a serious topic. Not to say that it sugarcoated it by any means, but poetry and writing in verse always seems to add some beauty to the subject itself, no matter how dark the topic gets to be. It was my first time reading anything by Madeleine Kuderick, and I thought her writing was compelling and beautiful. I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for any other books from her, because I’d be interested to see how her writing is on a less serious topic or just another story in general.
In “Kiss of Broken Glass” the main character Kenna is sent to a psychiatric ward where is she put under watch for 72 hours. How she handles being in the ward determines her future: if she is let out, or sent to rehab. When she is there she makes a few friends. Donya (her roommate) and Skylar are both there for the same thing as Kenna, and warn her how to act if she wants to get out. They tell Kenna her freedom is dependent on what she says at group discussions and to her nurses. If they think for a second that she’s not going to change when she gets out, they’ll send her to rehab. At first, it’s the threat of getting sent to rehab that forces Kenna to straighten out and behave for a few days. Over time though, she questions her reasons for cutting. Eventually, by the time she is let out, she realizes she has a new chance to start over and Kenna honestly seems willing to try to get help.
These days before she is let out though, prove to be tougher than she’d ever thought. The urge to cut is great, and the book describes the thought process Kenna goes through every time she wants to take the blade to her skin. As someone who’s never dealt with this before, I found it really hard to read this book at first. Madeleine Kuderick leaves nothing to the imagination, and is pretty graphic with her word choices in “Kiss of Broken Glass.” As I got further into the book though, I realized how important it was that Madeleine’s writing was like this. It was so descriptive that I put myself in Kenna’s shoes without even realizing it. I believe Madeleine’s choice to be so descriptive in the book, was to present the reader with the harsh realities of what people who suffer from the urge to cut, are going through. That connection that is formed when you start reading this book is crucial to understanding the pressures people go through.
One aspect of the book that I really want to touch upon was the motives behind Kenna’s decisions to start cutting. While many people believe this is an issue associated with depression, low self esteem, or other issues (such as family problems) Kenna isn’t doing it for any of those reasons. In fact, she is cutting because of something I’d never considered before: peer pressure. When she first gets to school she meets a girl by the name of Rennie, who encourages her to start cutting as an escape. In order to fit in with all the girls at her school who are cutting competitively, Kenna starts to do it. As sad as it is to think that girls her age are actually doing this as a source of competition, it’s a phenomenon that’s been happening in schools all over the country. After reading this book I did a lot of research on this because I couldn’t believe it. What I found was shocking, and even if you don’t get a chance to read this book I urge you to research it as well. Being informed is always a good thing.
For me, reading the authors note in the back of the book really touched me. Madeleine’s daughter suffered from the urge to cut, and she wrote this for all the people out there like her daughter who feel the urge to do this. I admire her for writing this on such a touchy subject, and for giving her daughter the benefit of the doubt on this. I’d imagine many parents would have a hard time understanding that their kids might be cutting out of peer pressure, and not for any other reason. By using her daughter’s own experience, Madeleine wrote a book that will hopefully help and impact many girls worldwide that are dealing with the urge to cut.
“Kiss of Broken Glass” is an inspiring and informative read. Whether you’ve dealt with something similar to this before, or whether you’ve never experienced this or known anybody who has, you should read this book just for perspective alone. It can really teach you a lot about a struggle that many people are going through, and being aware of this is really important. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and I felt like I took a lot away with it. When I’m reading books for review there’s one question I always ask myself before I rate it, and that’s whether I would read it again or not. If I know I won’t, I take that into consideration on how many stars/cows I will give it. Although I enjoyed reading “Kiss of Broken Glass,” it’s not something I could see myself reading again. That was one of the only things that prevented me from giving this a 5. Otherwise, “Kiss of Broken Glass” is a must read!
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