STARRED REVIEW
July 2019

The Art of Breaking Things

By Laura Sibson
Review by

Skye may be known as the school slut, but she isn’t worried about her reputation. Instead, she’s focused on partying with her friends, winning the scholarship to her top-choice art school and getting far away from her hometown. But when her mother brings a former boyfriend, Dan, back into their lives, that plan starts to crumble. Last time Dan was in the picture, he hurt Skye in a way she couldn’t even articulate. And now, torn between leaving home to pursue her dreams and staying to protect her little sister, Skye has to face a truth she’s spent years trying to bury.

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Skye may be known as the school slut, but she isn’t worried about her reputation. Instead, she’s focused on partying with her friends, winning the scholarship to her top-choice art school and getting far away from her hometown. But when her mother brings a former boyfriend, Dan, back into their lives, that plan starts to crumble. Last time Dan was in the picture, he hurt Skye in a way she couldn’t even articulate. And now, torn between leaving home to pursue her dreams and staying to protect her little sister, Skye has to face a truth she’s spent years trying to bury.

Laura Sibson’s debut novel is a total knockout. The Art of Breaking Things tackles sexual assault with all the weight and nuance it deserves and none of the sugarcoating or brushing off it so often gets. Sibson wraps that discussion into a novel whose characters—from Skye and her friends to her little sister and the adults in their lives—are rendered with so much empathy that we can’t help but feel like they’re our friends, too. Sibson’s specificity and her deft prose make readers participants, not just witnesses, as Skye hits rock bottom before pulling herself back up with the help of her friends and her art.

A powerful novel about consent, creativity and the importance of trust (in yourself as much as anyone else), The Art of Breaking Things is a must-read for anyone who’s felt like she had to handle her trauma alone.

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