Cracked – book review

Cracked by Clare Strahan

Cracked by Clare Strahan is a book with a realistic portrayal of the sometimes-messy lives and friendships of teenagers as they struggle to find themselves and stand up for what’s right.

Fifteen year-old Clover is finding that life is more difficult that she has ever imagined. Her relationships with her family and her friends is up and down, learning about first love is brand new, and Clover is also searching to find who she really is when the world is on the edge of environmental disaster. Everything seems to be falling apart. When school sucks, her mother is impossible, her much-loved dog is dying, the people at her school are awful and she’s arrested for vandalism, Clover feels broken. Can she pull her pieces together and try and form something whole, or will she only spiral further out of control?

The main thing that I liked about Cracked was how well developed each character was. I was grabbed from the very beginning not by the plot, but by Clover, the main character. Her personality seemed to jump off the page and pull me into her life. The events of this book didn’t interest me as much as the characters did, but overall, I really enjoyed reading this book.
One thing that I really didn’t enjoy about this book was the dialogue. The speaking between characters was uninteresting to read and was often extremely dull. The way characters spoke to each other seemed unrealistically ordinary. I presume that the author was trying to portray the conversation between teenagers realistically, but not all teenagers have such a limited vocabulary and the inability to hold sophisticated conversations with one another. I would have loved to see some interesting conversations being held and I felt as though the dialogue added nothing to the story whatsoever. Which leads me on to talking about the descriptions. Because the majority of the dialogue held no information, the descriptions needed to show how the characters were feeling and what was going on in the lives of these people. Besides the dialogue, this book is well-written and flowed smoothly.
It was refreshing to read about the differences and problems that teenagers in Australia face. I’ve only read a few books that are set in Australia and I’ve liked how I can connect with the places in the book because I’ve lived in Australia all my life. Although I love reading about people and issues with books set in America or England, I find it nice to read about people and issues closer to home. I really loved the characters in this book. All of the people seemed real and relatable. I enjoyed getting to know Clover and Keek and I was grabbed by their story, their lives and there friendship.
Clover was a fascinating character to read about. She’s angry with her mother and the people at her school, and in particular, herself. However, she doesn’t realise how much emotions she has inside her. This book is a story Clover takes to discover who she is and find out what her place is in the world. I love reading books about characters finding themselves and this book was no exception. Clover’s voice seemed so real and I felt like I could really connect with her in lots of aspects. She makes some good decision and some bad decisions. But what I liked most about her is how she stands up for what she believes in and won’t let others shut down her opinion. Even if that means getting suspended from school or getting into trouble with the law. Keek was another great character and I enjoyed getting to know him and his relationship with his parents. I found that the parents of Keek and Clover played a major role in this book and it was interesting to see how their parents influenced their decision-making.
The plot didn’t grab me as much as the characters did. I was only interested in the lives of each character. The events that took place in this book weren’t the thing that kept me reading. Seeing how each character was affected by these events and how they acted because of their emotions and what they thought was right was what kept me reading. My favourite part of the book was definitely reading about the characters and how events affected them.
If you’re going to read this book, read it for its unique character that have lots of different sides to them. Not one character is one-dimensional and I enjoyed following the lives of all of them. I’d give Cracked by Clare Strahan a score of 7 out of 10. I’m looking forward to seeing what Clare writes next!

Thank you to Allen & Unwin Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

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