Author: Hannah Moscowitz
Release Date: August 2009
Published By: Simon Pulse
Goodreads Rating: 3.95 stars
Review: 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. When Jonah's self-destructive spiral accelerates and he hits rock bottom, will he find true strength or surrender to his breaking point?
I picked up BREAK for two main the reasons: (1) I'm a follower of the author's blog and she's amazing, and (2) the concept is very intriguing. There are many books out there where characters deal with issues of self-harm, but nothing is quite like what the summary of this novel portrays. And of course, once you actually start turning pages, it's striking how honestly everything is shown.
In particular, I thought the relationship between Jonah and his brother was wonderfully depicted. His brother struggles with food allergies, and not just the kind you may be familiar with - violent allergies to seemingly everything that require him to be on guard everywhere he goes. This leaves Jonah feeling protective of him, and the actual dynamics of the relationship are very moving. While it didn't draw tears from me, it did come close.
However, I did think that his relationship with his parents seemed more odd than real. His parents were written as ridiculously oblivious, and I just have trouble believing that they could be so ignorant of what was going on. They were supposed to be generally okay parents, not abusively negligent or something, but the slips they kept making with Jesse's allergies or the fact that they would question Jonah's broken bones and then drop it struck me as weird.
All in all, BREAK was an emotional, moving story about a boy's struggle to cope with his crumbling world in the most destructive way he knows how. There's not a huge emphasis on love, which is refreshing, but rather his relationship with his brother. I did wish that his relationship with his parents was more realistic, but it didn't mar the story too much and I would still recommend this to any fans of contemporary fiction.