Kat Spears is quickly becoming an author to watch. Her book, Sway, is easily one of my favorite contemporary reads. Her characters are far from perfect, but they feel genuine. They also make me laugh a lot. Breakaway manages to be thoughtful and funny, and it is a solid four star book that will interest readers of both genders, especially fans of books like The Spectacular Now. Breakaway is publishing on September 15, 2015.
From Kat Spears, author of Sway, comes a new novel that asks the question: when a group of four best friends begin to drift apart, what will it take to bring them back together?
When Jason Marshall’s younger sister dies, he knows he can count on his three best friends and soccer teammates — Mario, Jordie, and Chick — to be there for him. With a grief-crippled mother and a father who’s not in the picture, he needs them more than ever. But when Mario starts hanging out with a rough group of friends and Jordie finally lands the girl of his dreams, Jason is left to fend for himself while maintaining a strained relationship with troubled and quiet Chick. Then Jason meets Raine, a girl he thinks is out of his league but who sees him for everything he wants to be, and he finds himself pulled between building a healthy and stable relationship with a girl he might be falling in love with, grieving for his sister, and trying to hold onto the friendships he has always relied on.
A witty and emotionally moving tale of friendship, first love, and loss, Breakaway is Kat Spears at her finest.
I really enjoy this author’s male protagonists. They come across as the perfect mix of devil and saint, and they feel honest, believable and fragile on some level. Jaz is certainly an interesting mix of tough and gentle as he struggles with the loss of his sister, the evolution of his closest friendships, and the introduction to what may be love or a bad case of indigestion. While Jaz isn’t as charming as Kat Spears’ leading man in Sway, he certainly is compelling. I enjoyed this book, but I think some readers will struggle for a couple of reasons. First, the romance is a more organic and real portrayal of love that some people will not easily embrace because it isn’t the fast, pretty and manufactured romances that they are trained to expect. Second, this isn’t a character or plot driven book. It feels to me like it is a theme driven book, and that results in a sense that there is no real resolution. “But that sounds horrible!” you say. But it isn’t! This is a book about responsibility, and we all know that responsibility never really ends – it just morphs into something else. “Blech,” you spit, “Who wants to read about responsibility? This sounds boring.” But it isn’t. You don’t even realize this deep thinking is going on inside you – you are just mesmerized by the pithy and smart dialogue and the humor and sorrow of teen drama. It isn’t until you reach the end that you start thinking about the deep stuff. And you need to think about the deep stuff. We all have responsibilities – as children, as friends, as parents. This isn’t going to go away. And this book doesn’t hold the punches when it comes to showing readers the consequences that radiate outwards when someone fails to live up to their responsibilities (or even just feels like they didn’t live up to them). I’m not going to lie to you. I think that Sway is the author’s stronger book, but if you have already read it and loved it, you should give Breakaway a whirl. I promise it will resonate long after you’ve turned the last page. This is a book with mature language and sexual references, and there are a lot of drugs and alcohol flowing, but it comes with thoughtful commentary and honest consequence, so I think it is appropriate for mature high school readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.