Broken Juliet – book review

Broken Juliet

Broken Juliet is the second instalment in Leisa Rayven’s addictive romance series, Starcrossed.

Cassie swore she’d never forgive Ethan for breaking her heart when they were in acting school years ago. He was her one great love, and when he refused to love her back, a part of her died forever… or so she thought.

Now she and Ethan are sharing a Broadway stage and he’s determined to win her back. He’ll finally get the chance to say all the things Cassie needed to hear years ago. But can she believe him? Has he really changed? Will Cassie rediscover what it’s like to be trusting and open again, or is it too late for these star-crossed lovers?

*

I felt like I knew what I was getting myself into when I started reading this book and that allowed me to enjoy it more than the first one. If you read my review on Bad Romeo, you’d know that I wasn’t expecting to read a New Adult / Romance novel when I picked it up and because of that – and because I haven’t read many books of that genre before – I felt a little confronted by the superfluous mention of sex and use of profanity. However, reading Broken Juliet, I knew what I was getting myself into and therefore was able to brace myself for the onslaught of ‘sexy talk’ while knowing that it if was anything like Bad Romeo, I’d still be utterly – and strangely – addicted.

I think the thing that was so addictive about this novel was not knowing how it was going to end. Cassie and Ethan would break up. Then get back together. Then break up. Then get back together. And continue that pattern over and over for around 300 pages while still managing to hold my attention. That, in itself, was quite a remarkable feat. And I’m not the sort of person that NEVER puts down books. I’m ruthless when it comes to giving up and moving onto something better. I’ll put down a book after fifteen pages if I’m not enjoying it. But, oddly, I never felt compelled to close this novel before the end. As much as I found it problematic in parts of thought the characters were annoying sometimes, I was completely enthralled. I just couldn’t get enough of this fluffy romance.

One of the best parts of this novel was seeing the character growth of both Ethan and Cassie. I honestly would have wanted to rip up this book if they were still the same immature people I met in Bad Romeo. Sure, they were still insanely annoying in parts and I often wanted to slap them because of their indecision, but they were at least tolerable. And I actually wanted to cry of happiness sometimes because Ethan was so much less of a douche than in Bad Romeo! Honestly, this was the highlight of the novel. He wasn’t perfect – far from it – but at least his presence didn’t make me gag. That, to me, was a win.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have issues with Ethan. Him not being a douche for most of the book doesn’t excuse him from my critiques. It should be noted that he gets bonus points for this, but not enough points that make up for his faults. Firstly, I think the main thing that makes readers love this guy is that he is ‘troubled’ and ‘brooding’. His issues felt shallow and underdeveloped, which made him seem a little whiny at times. I didn’t feel empathetic towards him in any way because I felt like his actions and behaviour were sometimes justified by his tormented life and tortured soul.

I was pleased to see Cassie standing up for herself more in this novel. She seemed more capable of standing on her own two feet and didn’t seem to rely on Ethan as much. There were still some ‘damsel in distress’ moments which allowed Ethan to gain satisfaction from being the only one that could ‘save her’, but for the most part I didn’t want to slap her. Cassie was shown to have more friends and more people in her life than just Ethan in this novel, which was great to see because I was so sick of her life revolving around some boy in Bad Romeo. The general way in which she presented herself both to Ethan and the reader were a lot less cringe-worthy in this instalment and I honestly found myself wanting the best for her. I think it’s fairly safe to say that I connected to her a whole lot more than I did to Ethan in this novel.

There was only one problematic aspect of this book, which I felt was a vast improvement from Bad Romeo. It was implied that a girl used and abused illicit drugs from her failed relationship with Ethan. I understand that some people might turn to destructive behaviours after a really tough event, such as a breakup, but the way this aspect of the novel was worded made it feel as though Ethan ‘held power’ over people and was such a massive force in their life that without him, people would feel the need to turn to drugs. Honestly, I think this part wasn’t even important and didn’t need to be in the novel. Perhaps I get offended too easily – heck, we live in a world that take offence to everything – however I don’t think that I’m taking it to far here. I honestly felt as though the novel was this close to implying that Ethan was such an amazing person that without him in your life, you wouldn’t survive. And I just don’t think that’s the message we need to be preaching. Even Cassie relied on Ethan too much at some points, and I would have liked to have seen that she could support herself, not rely on a man to hold her up. As a feminist, this book just infuriated me sometimes.

So after everything I’ve said, do I recommend this book? Well, if you’re a fan of Bad Romeo, I’d say go for it. If you didn’t enjoy the first instalment however, I would recommend saving yourself from a repeat of book one. I’d give Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven a score of 6.5 out of 10. Let’s discuss! What did you think of this book? Are you a fan of New Adult / Romance novels? Will you be reading Leisa Rayven’s Wicked Heart? I’d love to know!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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