Cruel Heart Broken is Emma Haughton’s third YA novel. I enjoyed her previous two books, Now You See Me and Better Left Buried, so I was keen to read this latest offering and I’m pleased to say I loved it.
Cruel Heart Broken is a more introspective novel than her other books which are more overtly thrillers. In Now You See Me and Better Left Buried the female protagonists confront external threats and dangerous situations as well as relationship and family problems. In Cruel Heart Broken there is no external threat, as such, to Laurie and Charlie, but the situation they find themselves in is nevertheless very real and terrifying.
The story is narrated in the first person by 16 year old Laurie Riley, known to her friends as Lee. Emma Haughton writes in a very clear, flowing style and skilfully alternates scenes in the present with scenes in the past to build suspense throughout the novel.
It wasn’t too difficult to guess Laurie’s secret. The real interest in Laurie’s story comes from how she deals with the situation she finds herself in and how she handles her disintegrating relationship with Charlie. But Charlie also has secrets and has done something with devastating consequences. Emma Haughton handles all her characters, teenagers and adults, with real warmth and understanding.
Although this book is undoubtedly marketed at teenage girls, it would be a very good book for teenage boys to read as well.
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