Monday, 6 October 2014
Review: Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick
Publisher: Harper 360
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: October 9th, 2014
In the next 72 hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for 72 hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain. When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for a mandatory psychiatric watch. There Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who's there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems... for a moment.
Kiss of Broken Glass is a short book that took me a while to get into and fully appreciate. At first I felt detached from Kenna and her story, but gradually I got lost in her world and began to understand her more as the novel progressed. I've never been in Kenna's position and I hope I'm fortunate enough to never find myself there, but I do think that's why I struggled to connect with her right off the bat.
Kenna cuts herself, and she gets caught, which is how she ends up in a psychiatric ward for seventy-two hours. Lots of girls at her high school cut themselves, so it kind of becomes a peer pressure exercise to see who caves and follows who. I really didn't get this aspect of the story, because really, what fifteen-year-old would cut themselves just because somebody else does it? Then I remembered how stressful high school and fitting in can be, and I gradually thought that it could well be a reality, albeit not a nice one. So, giving Kenna the benefit of the doubt, I started to get into her head a little more and understand her internal struggles.
Kiss of Broken Glass is written in verse, which is one of my favourite ways to tell a story. Readers of Ellen Hopkins will like this one because of its prose and hard-hitting, realistic plot, but also because it really is well written. Once I'd familiarised myself with Kenna and her life, I read it all in one sitting and didn't stop until I reached the end. It's easy to read in a literal sense, but the content and serious nature of the plot make it quite difficult at times. Self-harm is a very real occurrence not to be taken lightly, and I'm glad Madeleine Kuderick approached it with maturity and sensitivity.
Kenna's story won't suit everyone - it's dark and sometimes difficult to empathise with - but it's a fascinating look into how trends and fashions aren't always positive. It also looks at self-harming and the effects it can have on the person and their family, and how it's a genuine serious issue in today's world. It opened my eyes to what it must be like to feel that way, and I'm glad I picked up this important book. It's one I'll most probably revisit in the future and it's a well-deserved addition to my permanent collection of verse novels.