Sunday, October 11, 2009

Book Review: Break by Hannah Moskowitz

Title: Break

Author: Hannah Moskowitz

Pages: 262


The first feeling is exhilaration.
The second feeling is pain.
The feeling that never comes is regret.

Jonah is on a mission to break every bone in his body. Everyone knows that broken bones grow back stronger than they were before. And Jonah wants to be stronger—needs to be stronger—because everything around him is falling apart. Breaking, and then healing, is Jonah's only way to cope with the stresses of home, girls, and the world on his shoulders. This is the story of his self-destructive spiral, his rock-bottom moment, and how he finally learns to accept help and find true strength through recovery.

The thing is with books such as these (self-destructive feel-good one-sitters) is that there is always the chance that all it will involve is angst and crying and whining and crying and self-revelation and more crying and zomg we all feel sooo much better! Especially when they involve boys and brothers, for an authors insane need to make their boys all sensitive and shit. So I picked up Break with hesitation, prepared for disapointment.

Where did I get this book: the store.

And, I'm thrilled to say, this disapointment did not come.

Break begins as such:

The first feeling is exhilaration.

My arm hits the ground. The sound is like a mallet against a crab.

Pure fucking exhilaration.

Along with his trusty camera women Naomi, Jonah embarks on a mission: break every bone in his body. Falling, slipping, crashing--each time more violent then the last, each break bringing him one step closer to being 'healed'.

I'm just going to get this out there right now; the kids fucked up. His brother Jesse, a year and half younger, is basically allergic to air, more then likely to break into hives at any given moment. His eight month old little brother literally won't stop crying, and with him in the house Jesse can only get worse (milk allergy + breast feeding child=you know what). His parents who really, really should be divorced have decided the best alternative is having said baby. He can't eat without worrying what might set his brother off. He can't think without his other brother wailing across the hall. The only thing he can control is where and when his bones break. Which is...bad.

This takes the old "emotional pain into physical pain" teen cliche and makes it into something completly uncliche. When people thing of self-mutilation, they think of dark haired, pale teenage girls cutting their wrist. Break takes a far needed look at the "macho" side of self harm. The author, who I understand to be a teenager herself (see website), does a refreshing job at creating a real teen voice, instead of the "teen voice" older authors image teens to have. There's lots of cursing and blood and emotion and breakdowns and all them good stuff I know we all secretly love.

Jonah was a wonderfully drawn out character. Though I wasn't crazy about how easily he broke down in a certain therapy session (or in general) it's so easy to see where he's coming from and why he does what he does. I loved his relationship with all the characters, especially Designated Love Interest Charlotte and, of course, Jesse. Naomi I wasn't crazy about, and I can't say I was happy with how their relationship turned out, but I digress. This is without a doubt a character-centric book, one that takes the entire premise and miraculously makes it seem like a sidenote. And, I'll say it again, so very angsty.

Another thing that set Break apart from other YA books is the relationship between Jonah and Jesse. You hear a book involves brothers, you immediatley get this image in your head--protective older brother, destructive younger brother, lots of lovin', lots of cryin', lots of angst, lots of "I'm always here for you!" nonsense. But it's never in the point of view of the older brother. It's never the older brother who's the self-destructive one. It's never an instance where both of the brothers are killing themselves trying to protect the other one. It's never an instance where both of the goddamn brothers have deadly issues. It's either one or the other. A very fine point for Break.

Overall, I lovedlovedloved Break. The plotting was a bit off, some things probably needed to be dwelled on a bit longer. But this is a heart breaking (pun so completly intended), character driven novel that will no doubt leave you completly satisfied.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Also: Don't break your bones. It hurts. XD


ladystorm said...

Sounds like a odd but and I don't think it would be my type, but great review.

Anonymous said...

It hurts just reading about it.

How does it compare to Cut?

Dannie said...

Well, Cut is way shorter, and it delves a lot deeper into the whole "treatment" aspect of self injury. Plus, the main characters a girl, which in itself is a huge plot difference. Both are very emotional, though I did prefer CUT just because I'm a girl and I can relate a bit more.

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

I don't think this would be something I'd read but very good review. Nice job on the disclaimer!

Template by:
Free Blog Templates