Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard

by - October 06, 2020


'This time around, I'm going to be so much better. I'm going to prove to them that it was worth waiting on me.'

Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. Again. She's back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they're about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you're the one left behind?

Fierce Fragile Hearts is the stunning sequel to international bestseller Beautiful Broken Things.


What a beautifully flawed book. That was the first thought that popped into my head once all 368 pages were complete. While we all despise the long wait between books, the three-year wait was well worth it because as time went on, our favourite Brighton girls grew up and became young women. This allowed the readers to age along with them and meet them again in a time when our similarities and life expectations were mirrored.

However, it also had its flaws and that's kind of what made it the perfect read.

I'm not sure if it was the timing or the familiarity of the girls but I could not place this book down. I was a huge fan of Beautiful Broken Things because of Suzanne. She reminded me a lot of a friend I had that had been troubled and misused by her family. And I was Caddy, struggling to find the solution to adult problems. So because of this strong attachment, I was hesitant to pick up the second book. I found that I wanted to hold on to the goodness that is Beautiful Broken Things.

I was thrilled to find that all my fears were holding me back from my favourite Sara Barnard book to date. I absolutely loved this addition to the series (?) and found that it far outshined the first book. Here, we got to follow 18-year-old Suzanne who has spent most of the past few years preparing herself mentally and emotionally to face the world. Everything was planned out and Suzanne was on the road to success. But as we've learned in 2020, life happens and sometimes you have to throw out the planner and go with the flow.

This realistic life lesson was not overlooked. I think that's what makes Sara's writing feel so authentic and genuine. Suzanne's life was a complete mess at times but there were beautiful moments (thanks to Matt & Rosie) and there were times that all she seemed to do was make mistakes. And I loved every bit. 

The flaws of this book did little to stop me from reading through the night but it's important that you know there is no actual plot. The plot is Suzanne and there are times you're going to have to read about her fixing plumbing issues or doing the washing. Once I accepted this fact, the book flowed effortlessly and you'll begin to understand what Sara wanted to do with this book and character. 

I also felt like there were pieces that could have really matured the character of Suzanne. For instance, she considered the nursing position but we only read about that towards the end. I feel like this came out of nowhere and would have been more suited to the story if Suzanne had spent more time at the care facility, mingling with the staff and patients.

The book continued in the realistic route by not tying up all loose ends. Things still hung in the air and I appreciated that we were encouraged to accept a not-so-happy ending. Some part of me felt like Sara was leaving room for a third book, one that followed the life of Rosie. 

Honorable Mention:

Rosie was my shining light throughout this book and she deserves so much more. More from Caddy, more from her friends, and more, more, more. I can already see Rosie getting her own book in the future and I'm hoping that it's filled with bisexual goodness.

Star Rating: 4/5

This book was sent to me by Pan Macmillan publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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