The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (ARC Review + AND SO MUCH FANGIRLING THAT IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY)

the broken girls graphic

Um, can I just take a moment to thank the people at Penguin for making literally every single one of my book dreams come true and give me the book I’ve been crying over for almost a year straight early? SOMEONE GAVE THIS TO ME, AND I THANK THAT PERSON BECAUSE I CAN’T EVEN.

the broken girls

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / The Poisoned Pen (I bought mine here because it will be signedddddddd)

The “clever and wonderfully chilling” (Fiona Barton) suspense novel from the award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare…

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

So, before we get anywhere, let’s take a looksie at my status updates to just prepare yourself for all the fangirling that is about to happen:

the broken girls status updates

Okay, I sat down when I first cracked open this book and said to myself, Mandy. This is something new for Simone St. James. 2014 AND 1950s? Four narrators? Two different mysteries? This may not be the Simone St. James that you’re used to. And thank gosh, I never listened to that voice, but Simone St. James literally can do no wrong. She brings the ghostie goodness literally every time she picks up the pen and I’m just going to sit here for a while and cry/fangirl/turn into a bumbling pile of goo BECAUSE THIS BOOK WAS LITERALLY SO GOOD.

I don’t even know where to begin – which starts off literally all of my reviews for her works because there is just so much – THERE IS JUST TOO MUCH.

Let’s start with the characters. We have five main narrators – Fiona (in 2014) and Roberta, Sonia, Katie, and CeCe (in 1950). Each one had a super distinct and dynamic voice to them. I didn’t quite have a favorite, but all of them were realistically and beautifully done. I immediately knew I was back in a different girl’s voice even if I didn’t look at who the narrator was supposed to be. Each girl had different quirks and different characteristics that made them such standouts. Fiona gave me some trouble at first (mostly because I was like, girl, that’s stupid – don’t do that), but I still GOT her. It was just part of her personality and who she was, and there was all the characterization that backed it up. By the end of the story, I was in love with her as a main character.

Even the side characters were great as well. I thought Jamie was simply fantastic and I was super swooning over him. I just couldn’t deal with his cuteness. He was super adorable and him and Fiona were just so great with each other. The other characters had deep characterization as well that I loved.

The settingggggggggggggggggggggggg. Simone St. James forever gets me with her settings. She has perfected the spooky setting and especially the 1920s setting in her prior books. It made me feel as if I was there. I was wondering how she was going to handle doing the 50s and more current days, BUT IT STILL WAS SO MUCH PERFECTION. I still felt haunted and enraptured with the settings and places she created. I had such clear images of what I was supposed to be looking at and I still felt creeped out by what I was reading about. The atmosphere and setting and descriptions and places that she imagined was just so amazing. The spookiness and ghostie goodness was right onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn – and it didn’t matter if it was in 2014 or 1950 because both were just so spooky.

The ship was adorable, of course. There wasn’t as much romance as I was expecting, but mostly because it focused on THESE FIERCE AND EPIC AND FEMINIST LADIES THAT TOOK WHAT THEY WANTED AND DID WHAT THEY DID TO SHOW THEIR EPIC SELVES. So much fantastic girl power. I AM IN LOVE/DEAD/DYING/CRYING/NOT OKAY NOT OKAY NOT OKAY.

There was no sleeping with this book. Just crying and so much fangirling.

The mystery was super great as well. I have a habit of being too good of a Sherlock and figuring everything out before the end of the novel, but I had no clue where this was going most of the time until I was told what was happening. I guessed a few things, but most of the twists and turns got me. I MEAN, THEY GOT ME. But they were still super organic and felt true to the story. I was stumped but in such a good way and flew through this any time I could to find out what was happening.

I always recommend those that are primarily YA readers that are looking to dip their book toes into the world of adult book world to try her books – but honestly, if you’re looking for an epic ghostie mystery or just a plain ole good book, this book is definitely for you. Simone St. James never fails me, and this is yet again her at her best. The mystery was fantastic, the characters were fantastic, the writing was fantastic, EVERYTHING WAS FANTASTIC. Fiveeeeeeeeeeeee crowns and an Aurora rating since any of her books and especially since one is a classic.


What do you think? What are some of your authors that you always love and that can do no wrong? Do you know any other great ghost stories in adult fiction? Do you read anything other than YA? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

mandy signature

19 thoughts on “The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (ARC Review + AND SO MUCH FANGIRLING THAT IT’S NOT EVEN FUNNY)

  1. Ahahhaha I love your goodreads update photo! You should feature that in more posts! 😀😀


  2. This is going on my TBR! It’s a genre I rarely read, but I like reading something different once in a while and it sounds sooo intriguing! I sometimes – SOMETIMES – like getting creeped out and.. well, you kind of totally sold me on that and the characters so I can’t imagine not liking it at this point?

    Mostly read YA, but also romance and sometimes try reading different genres – such as this one, and horror and the occasional sci-fi, haha.

    Awesome review, girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES YES YES. *cheers* That’s exactly what got me into her – just trying something new and it SO worked. But yes, sometimes getting creeped out is kind of nice.

      Yes! How does horror go? I’ve yet to attempt them. And thanks so much, Kathy! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! You can stumble upon the best authors by simply trying something new and I love that!

        It creeps me out? 😛 The only real horror I’ve read so far is The Shining and I barely slept for a week but hey. That’s me being a pussy. :’) April is King-month so I’ll probably get plenty of horror read then. And way too little sleep.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh no D: I like a few YA horrors, but I’m honestly so scared to try adult horror for that reason. I might be pushing it off for a while there. I used to get scared to death by literally middle grade horror so The Shining might do me in. But I’m intrigued to see how it will go. I saw it was Aprthrill (or was kill or chill or I AM LOSING IT), so I’m so intrigued to see what you got up your sleeve for it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha. I totally get you. I just dive in anyway. I know I’ll have a lack of sleep at some point and it’ll be my own fault but.. as long as I actually enjoy the story.. Fine by me! 😛
        ApTHRILL 😀 Looking forward to that one since it’s out of my comfort zone. :’)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol thank you! But yes! Sometimes I feel like I put way too many pressures on the book and then I can’t ever properly fangirl, but it’s always so much fun when it works. And yes! I think you would enjoy. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mandy!!!!!!!! I’m so happy for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Isn’t it great when your faves just keep raising the bar as a fave?!?!?!
    I’m so glad this turned out to be the epic ghostie novel you were anticipating! 2014 and 1950s settings do sounds quite intriguing, and I love a good multi-POV!
    And your GR updates were the best XD!!! Lovely review!!
    Penguin sent this book to the best person possible, clearly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rendzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. IT IS. When the push the boundaries of epicness, it’s too much but also everything. But yes! I was a bit skeptical about the two timeframes, but it was great. And lol, thank you. The excitement never stopped. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Rendz! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This has been on my list ever since I saw its cover months ago!! I don’t usually splurge on hardcover books but don’t think I can resist this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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