Publishing Info: September 9, 2014 by HarperCollins
Genres: Contemporary, Psych/Mental Health, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 18, 2014
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.
When I first started KISS OF BROKEN GLASS, I actually had no idea it was in verse. Verse is not usually my thing, but I decided to roll with it and I was glad I did! It was a very interesting story and definitely one with a powerful message.
The story starts with fifteen-year-old Kenna being brought to a facility for psych evaluation after being caught cutting herself in the girls bathroom at school. What really intrigued me about the story as I was reading was Kenna’s reason as to why she was cutting. See, it’s become sort of a fad at her school. Girls do it for a thrill, for bragging rights, for proof that they’re daring. Some of them really are hurting inside and we find out throughout the story that Kenna is a little bit of both.
For some, the fad of cutting may seem like a really unrealistic concept but I actually read the afterword when I completed the book and it broke my heart to read that Madeleine Kuderick’s daughter actually went through a very similar situation that Kenna did and that’s how she came up with concept for the story. I’ll also tell you that I’ve witnessed this fad first hand at my own high school – not as quite as portrayed in the book but I’ve had friends who used to cut and I’ve seen how that idea can take off as something appealing as a physical release of an emotional struggle and catch on with others.
The book sort of reminded me of something like a YA Girl, Interrupted. It definitely had the same kind of feel and it was shocking and intriguing all at the same time. I really appreciated the message and how the story evolved too. Even though it was verse which is something I’m not really as into, the book really moved quickly and it was a very easy read.
The only lack of connection I had was actually because of the verse. There were small rhyming poems strewn throughout the book which were actually composed by one of the characters that I seemed to connect with more than the overall composition. I used to write some really bad high school poetry, but it worked really well for dumping all of my feelings into a creative outlet like that so I had hoped the verse would make me feel the same way writing my own poetry had, but I think it actually had the adverse effect on me. KISS OF BROKEN GLASS didn’t at all feel like bad high school poetry, but I felt like I would have personally connected with Kenna better if I had been able to really dig deep into her feeling through more conventional prose. I really wanted to read through long paragraphs, climb into her mind, and sort of let all of those feelings wash over me. I feel like the verse really put up a small wall that I couldn’t break past in order to really connect with the characters.
KISS OF BROKEN GLASS didn’t bowl me over but it was still a powerful story nonetheless. I think it’s a great read and a really great selection for those who don’t normally read verse. It was actually really quick and easy, but also enjoyable and carries a really powerful message.
“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!
Kenna // Character Obsessions: Friends, popularity, family, control, cutting.
I really felt for Kenna as I was reading. It’s quite complicated when you want to fit in with your friends, when what your friends are doing becomes appealing to you even when it initially isn’t, and even when you know it’s a bad idea. I feel like a lot of people who read this book won’t believe that something like cutting can become a fad or something that girls would do to impress one another but I’ve actually seen it at my old school and I can tell you that it is a real thing. I understand how fitting in with your friends and wanting to be important in the group, not wanting to be that goody-two-shoes feels. Not to mention that I felt like expressing myself through poetry in high school was the way to get my feelings out too haha!
Kept Me Hooked On: Serious issues. I don’t read a lot of “issue” books, for lack of a better term, but when I do, I try to choose them carefully. I think there are a lot of different stories to be told about people who suffer from self-harm and I think they’re important stories to read. I think if you’re not someone who has suffered from it or knows someone who has, it may be difficult to understand why it happens so I really appreciate the authors who write the genuinely realistic stories for others to read and experience and understand.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. As much as I wanted to connect to the book and initially didn’t expect the verse to hold me back, it actually did a little bit. I was hoping it would help the story flow and infuse more emotion but I actually felt like it took away from the emotional side for me. I didn’t have time for those long, emotional paragraphs to really take me over.
I think this book is definitely an important read, even if I hadn’t connected with it as much as I had hoped. It’s a important topic to read about and inspire conversation and awareness and also a really good book for those who are starters in verse.
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3 thoughts on “Kiss of Broken Glass – Madeleine Kuderick”
Hmmm… I’m not so sure about the verse either. It can either work really well – or REALLY not. The topic does sound really interesting though, so it might be worth a try. It’s always good to try something new, right?
Ah, I don’t know about the verse… But sense you liked it, maybe I will too? Who knows? I honestly never would’ve read the Afterword like you so I’m glad that I read your review so I can go into the novel knowing that it carries so much weight with another human being. I’m intrigued to read about cutting being a fad. Since I go to a smaller school, we don’t have as many issues with drugs/smoking/cutting/bullying as most large high schools, therefore I’m not really exposed to any of that. It will be interesting to read about it, that’s for sure! Thanks for the review 🙂
I was kind of hesitant to pick this up because of the verse. I’m still not really sold, but it definitely sounds interesting. I had a friend in high school who cut and it was always so hard for me to watch her go through that and feel so helpless. Oh and I also wrote really bad poetry in high school. lol.
I was reading your GR updates and you said there was mention of DeKalb, IL! I went to college there! NIU! Crazy. I might have to read it just for that mention. 🙂