Broken Like This

Photo: Philip Friedman/Studio D

3 of 4
Broken Like This
336 pages; Thomas Dunne Books
After a car accident on Ibiza, American Kate Harrington lies comatose in a Spanish hospital. But as Monica Trasandes's bittersweet novel, Broken Like Thisunfolds, it's clear that, even unconscious, she exerts a powerful pull. When her boyfriend, Louis, receives word that she's been hurt, he calls Angela, the one person who loves Kate as much as he does. As the two fly to her bedside, the story flashes back to when they each fell under Kate's spell. For Louis, it is 12 years earlier, lazing in Kate's pool until her lewd stepfather, Don, arrives home, plunging her into a funk. Kate and Angela meet several years later while abroad in Madrid. As they grow closer, Angela realizes "she's never had this combination of friendship plus a quiet, nearly silent, yet amazingly constant physical desire." In the present, Angela and Louis scheme to prevent Kate from landing in Don's care. While Kate remains enigmatic to the reader, we don't need to know her to understand Trasandes's point: that even after lying dormant for years, love, for better or worse, can suck you right back in.
— Abbe Wright