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  • Writer's pictureLeoOtherland

Compound Fracture Review

Special thanks to NetGalley and Holiday House / Peachtree / Pixel+Ink | Peachtree Teen for the ARC copy they provided.

Holy. Hell.

Those are the first words that come to mind when sitting down to review this book. I fell in love with Andrew Joseph White’s writing with Hell Followed With Us, and while I don’t think any book can take the place of Andrew’s first book in my heart, Compound Fracture is a close second.

Let me start by saying, as a queer, autistic person, reading Andrew’s books is like finding a bit of myself in every page. In Compound Fracture, I found myself in Miles’ self discovery of being autistic. The realization emotions, and showing them being physical work that has to be thought through. Every. Single. Time. Hit me like a brick. Because that’s me. What are emotions and why do they exist?? Like, it’s hard to get why things hit people so hard, while I’m sitting in a corner going, “What?” Knowing that this isn’t just me, and that I’m not alone, is relieving. And validating. I’m not alone in working hard to relate to the people I love and care for.

Thank you for that assurance, Andrew. I needed it.

As for the story itself… Holy. Hell.

I was pulled in immediately, and though I knew there wouldn’t be any traditional “happy ending,” because that isn’t what Andrew has written thus far, and Compound Fracture isn’t a departure from his previous style, I was still floored by several of the twists and turns this book took.

And the rep for trans people in the age before gender affirming care? Top notch. I wasn’t expecting it and I loved it. I think I fell head over heels for Saint Abernathy, and wish I could have more of him and his story. That in itself would make an amazing book.

One thing in particular I found interesting with Compound Fracture is the fact this is the first book by Andrew I've  read that’s set in the present day, with little to no supernatural elements. Sure, Saint lingering around long after his death lends this a magical realism element, but it is not a huge focus of the book, and is almost unnoticeable, given for most of the story Miles doesn’t know if he’s just hallucinating because of his head injury. I love seeing authors try new things, and this setting, and lack of supernatural forces driving the horror, was a great turn. Truly can’t wait to see what Andrew will write next.

Seriously. I think Andrew Joseph White has taken the place of my favorite author of this age of my life, and I look forward to more from him. And if you are into horror and queer characters, raging against societal injustice, you’re going to love his books, too.

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