Part mystery, part love story, Broken Soup is not the average "my brother died and now my family is falling apart" novel. Sure, Jack died unexpectedly, and now Rowan is left as the primary caregiver to younger sister Stroma because their mom just lies in bed all day and their dad has moved out of the house. But the two girls are hanging on alright for now.
What makes this story so intriguing is how it all begins: a strange teenage boy - a cute, interesting, strange teenage boy - hands Rowan a negative of a picture telling her that she had dropped it. Rowan's never seen it before, but her new friend Bee encourages her to see what's on it. When she develops the picture she sees her brother smiling back at her. Through the hardships of grief, Rowan learns how the good is intertwined with the bad, how coincidences don't always mean anything but sometimes they can mean everything, and how you sometimes have to open up your heart in order to be able to receive gifts in the most unexpected ways.
The twists and turns, especially toward the end of the novel, may not necessarily agree with the most discerning or realistic reader, but the emotional connections of the characters help to take readers' minds off the need focus too much on the details. Recommended to readers looking for a touch of mystery with their angst, plus a dose of a really awesome crush.
Call number: YA VALENTINE
Reviewed by kate the librarian.