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The City of Broken Girls by Erika Strauss (BOOK REVIEW) 2/5

I wanted to love this book. In many ways, I enjoyed it, it’s not a bad book. However, several aspects tugged down my score, and they’re mostly things that can be improved upon. As an editor, my way of reading books is a bit technical- I always notice the editing right off the bat, and it does affect my score. I suspect this book to be in dire need of a professional edit or proofread. From the table of contents alone, I spotted three issues, and several within the writing of the story afterwards. I would highly recommend a keen eye going over Ms. Strauss’ next novel, as these mistakes and flaws- to a trained eye- can be enough to jar a reader out of their reading experience.

Let me start with some of the downsides to this novel, so that I can end on a good note- because there are good notes within The City of Broken Girls. My main issue came from an overall feeling of inconsistencies within the story. There were a few plot moments that made me pause and go, “Wait, that doesn’t make sense.” I always notice when a situation isn’t quite realistic or isn’t quite explained enough. Certain spots of this story felt a little too convenient, a little too plot pushed and didn’t exactly feel like a realistic way of explanation. There were some glaring plot holes that could have been adjusted with more explanation or emphasis.

Particularly, I felt as though there were emotional inconsistencies within this novel. The way characters reacted, the emotions behind certain moments, I didn’t always find it to be believable, or to make sense. There were times where I felt like the writing was over dramatized, leaning into the cliche. While some people enjoy that, especially in thrillers, I personally didn’t care for it. There were times I was told the character’s emotions- but they weren’t felt in the writing itself, and I felt very little connection to them.

Now onto the good aspects of this book. As a thriller, the plot is a great premise. I liked the direction it went, and the situation. As is a constant complaint of mine with novellas: I wish it had been longer, and gone into more detail. I think it takes on a very classical story of a woman scorned by a selfish man who broke her more than he thought and then lost it all when she took her revenge. I think this particular situation is a great one to base a thriller after. Some aspects of it were really unique and interesting. I enjoyed the double perspectives of the detective and the main character, giving some variety to the situation.

I think that the author of this novel has a lot of promise, and that her future books will be worth reading. Considering The City of Broken Girls is a quick, easy thriller, I would say it’s a fair read as well, as long as you can overlook some editing flaws. My congratulations to Ms. Strauss on her debut novel- here’s to many more!

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