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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Broken Dreams is the second installment in the Spiraling series by H.L. Karhoff. Here you follow a deceptively simple young adult drama about the coming of age of Tori Douglas. If you put yourself in Tori’s shoes, you won’t have a second thought about punching your close friend Kennedy when she tells your boyfriend Devon that you slept with your friend Carter, so that your boyfriend will break up with you. A friend like that is not worth it, anyway, but punching a popular girl in school comes with a price—you become a pariah because you fall prey to the ridicule of Kennedy and her entourage. Your boyfriend Devon just got out of a youth detention center, and he becomes your shoulder to lean on. Yet you sense something different about Devon, and you pretend that everything is fine. You fear letting go because everything else in your life threatens to disintegrate— including your relationship with your mother and your stepfather. As for Devon, would losing you be the one thing that he would ever want?
I will not hesitate to recommend this book as a top priority in your young adult reading list. Broken Dreams is a brilliant work of dramatic realism blended with metaphysical and psychological elements to tell a powerful story that gives deep meaning to the term 'teen angst.' The plot sticks close to Tori as the storyline explores her relationship with the people around her. H.L. Karhoff knows how to build tension that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Just consider the scene between Tori’s stepfather, James, and her brother, Chris, as these two vie for dominance in the household when Chris refuses to turn down his stereo’s volume. Much about the pains of growing up is explored in Broken Dreams, but it does have lighthearted moments that will give you hope about the gift of youth. Without even trying it becomes a memorable story about survival.