Review of Cracked by Clare Strahan

(The team at Allen & Unwin sent me this for review. My opinions haven’t been affected as a result.)
When I was told I could get a copy of this book, I did what I tend to always do when searching for new books: jump on Goodreads. I read the synopsis, and it seemed like a strange book. One that didn’t have a very complex plot, rather detailing a life as it happened, namely Clover’s life. When I read the first few pages, I honestly wasn’t too sure what to expect. I wasn’t disappointed.
Clover’s 15, and life’s tougher than she first thought it would be. She’s struggling with family, her friends, her surroundings, her rebellious streak, her concern for the local environment. Add Keek’s broken promise, the football mad boys being bullies, school being just a bit rubbish, her parents being annoying, her beloved but old dog starts dying and the fact that she’s arrested for vandalism, what else are you supposed to feel other than just a bit broken? And how are you supposed to feel whole again if you’re broken.
I do have a small confession to make before I properly get into this review. I wanted to like this book much more than I actually ended up doing so.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a book I very much enjoyed reading. Clover’s a very interesting character and the way we see her blossom alongside her fellow characters is very heartwarming and charming to read about. Her friendship with Keek and her fallouts allow us to see her as a character, which means we need little initial description of her at the start, because this book does something incredibly unique: the book almost is her character.
I’m finding it hard to put into words my thoughts on this book, because I have a lot of thoughts on the book.
Cracked feels less like a novel and more like an autobiography. An autobiography of what should be an ordinary life, not one that particularly deserves an autobiography. Yet despite Clover being an otherwise pretty normal 15 year old in the fact she hasn’t had a reality TV show made about her or done whatever constitutes an autobiography (because who knows?), the book feels like an autobiography worth reading.
Why? Because of how it’s told.
Cracked’s selling points lie in the way it’s been told, and the character’s portrayal. I very much enjoyed Cracked, but perhaps the disappointment I mentioned at the start was pretty self-inflicted. Whatever I was expecting, it was not delivered. But maybe, just maybe, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Thanks Clare for writing Cracked! I look forward to reading more from you soon!
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