Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Tour: Review: The Broken Hearts' Society of Suite 17C by LeighAnn Kopans

The Broken Hearts' Society of Suite 17C by LeighAnn Kopans
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: May 22nd, 2015
Friends don’t let friends make the same horrible relationship mistakes twice.

Rion, Amy, and Arielle, the three occupants of first-year dorm Harrison Tower’s Suite 17C have never met before the first day of school, but they soon discover they have one thing in common – being on the wrong end of an epically awful breakup.

Heartbreak sucks, especially when the girls should have seen the trouble coming from a mile away. But there’s no better time than the beginning of college to take charge of your own love life, and nobody better than a roommate to keep you accountable. Over ice cream and pizza their first week, the girls vow never again to date anyone like the assholes who ripped their hearts out and smeared them across the quad.

And that’s how the Broken Hearts’ Society of Suite 17C is born.

Now, if only Crash, the tattooed, pierced, and probably stoned guy who works at Rion’s newest job, wasn’t so damn sexy and sweet…

If only Matt, the thoughtful and driven pastor’s kid, would quit being so okay with just being Amy’s friend…

If only Lauren, the innocent small-town girl with her own set of issues, would stop finishing Arielle’s sentences and invading her dreams…

it would be a lot easier for the girls to keep their promises to the Society and to themselves.

If only.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC to review as part of this tour. This did not affect my review in any way, nor am I being compensated for it.

I have to start by saying that I am in love with Kopans' writing. I only haven't read One and Two. So when I saw that she was having this tour, I knew I had to be a part of it. And I'm so happy to be able to share my love for this book.

Kopans always does a great job at writing complex and real characters, particularly female characters, and Broken Hearts' Society is no different. The three girls are all very different but are joined together by similar experiences in break ups. They each had their own issues and their own way of dealing with such issues, but I also really liked seeing how much they supported one another and built one another up, while not letting the others necessarily dictate and make their decisions for them. It was like a independent interdependence, if that makes any sense. It was especially effective in Amy's character arc of becoming independent and finding herself.

It was really interesting to see the girls change and grow throughout the story, both on their own and with the help of one another and with some of the other characters in the story. I think Rion's portions always remained my favorite parts, though I can't necessarily pinpoint why, but I started out feeling a bit bored by Amy's story and feeling really awkward about the whole super-ultra-religious aspect (not because I'm against it but it was just too much at times), but then there was one turn in the story that turned that all around. I really came to see and understand her and her struggle, and I could relate, though not to the same extent. I understood how she (and most of the time, Rion) felt, and my heart broke for her. On the other hand, while I started off also really enjoying Arielle's story, after a certain point, I stopped being really interested in her story, not because her conflicts and the plot weren't engaging and interesting but just that I would have rather read the other characters' portions.

Overall, I thought all the romances were very well done and led to arcs that complimented each girl's personalities and issues. I particularly liked how each was about a different kind of acceptance and finding your identity. I liked how Kopans subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, showed how strength doesn't mean not crying or not being hurt by something someone says or does. It doesn't mean having control all the time. Strength, and weakness, is so much more than that. A girl can be strong and still cry and break down and have her heart broken and show the world her heart. A female character can be a "strong female character" without fitting into a given mold--being strong doesn't mean being physically strong, it doesn't mean not crying, it doesn't mean not needing anyone else. Strength is about finding yourself, trusting both  yourself and others, and being the best person you can be at that moment in time. It's about being able to know when to ask for help but know when to make your own decisions and stand up for yourself. This showed through so clearly in the book, and I really loved the message of love, friendship, and acceptance Kopans is putting out there.

And the book is certainly diverse--in color, sexual orientation, religion, experiences, interests, conflicts, you name it. The girls were different enough that I could always tell whose perspective I was reading, and as someone who sometimes has trouble with multiple POV books, I was very glad about this fact. But at times, I couldn't tell if it was a little forced too. While I obviously appreciated Lauren being Chinese, it sometimes felt like a bit much for her to always be talking about how she didn't fit in as American but also not as Chinese. I understand her completely because I often feel the same way, but I feel as if this could have been communicated much more subtly. Overall, I really appreciated the diversity presented in the novel, though.

The three character arcs and plots were, for the most part, compelling, keeping me engaged and reading. Even if I wasn't particularly interested or invested in a certain character at one point or another, I was looking forward to reading more about one of the other characters. Kopans crafts the story so well so that the girls' stories are parallel but also vastly different. All the romances move slowly, but it never feels like it's too slow. I love how the ending was open ended for each of the girls, but it was also very easy to imagine where their stories could go beyond that.

There were only a few small things that negatively stuck out to me besides the aforementioned one. Firstly, I felt like Rion's arc with her mother felt incomplete, felt sort of forgotten about after some time. Also, it's not like it's necessarily a fault, but it sometimes felt like the guys were just perfect (not including Lauren). Like a large part of the conflicts between the boys and Rion/Amy felt like it mostly the girl's fault. I don't know if this was because it was from their point of view, but it felt like the guys were close to being flawless. The last thing is that it was strange to me that none of them seemed to have friends outside of one another. I understand the different reservations the girls had, and I appreciated Arielle becoming the exception near the end, but it was difficult to believe that there weren't any other people they would talk to/be around. But again, all of these felt very small in comparison to the things Kopans did well. That's why the book fell somewhere between a 4.5 and 5 for me, but I've decided to round it up to 5 because it's LeighAnn. ;)
The Broken Hearts' Society of Suite 17C: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
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