Karri Shea's Reviews > Break

Break by Hannah Moskowitz
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Sep 07, 11

Read in May, 2011

Her sneakers make bubble-gum smacks against the pavement on her way to me… I choke out a sweaty, clogged piece of laughter… She waits while I pant, my head against my skinned knee. Colors explode in the back of my head. The pain’s almost electric… I expand and burst in a thousand little balloons.

- Break by Hannah Moskowitz

I am not a comtemporary YA kind of girl. I didn’t read it when I was of the age to be considered “YA,” and I don’t often read it now. I’ve always found the resolutions dissatisfying, the need to dissect them in English class irritating, and the general absence of magic – well, lacking. But that’s just me.

While I’ve yet to have found a contemporary YA plot that truly thrills me – real life is just so, ugh, realistic – there’s no doubt that there’s great writing to be had within the genre, and Hannah Moskowitz’s Break is no exception. I pulled the quotes above from the first four or five pages of this debut novel about a boy on a mission to break every one of his bones, and each is descriptive gold. Reading this novel feels like careening pell-mell down a hill on a bike or a sled with no way of stopping – and I mean that in the best way possible. Jonah, our narrator, experiences life with all of his senses wide open and dictates it for us with vivid colour and dreamlike imagery. I spent a couple of hours in an increasingly lukewarm bathtub turning the pages of this book (a relatively quick read, but maybe two or three baths’ worth of time would have been better planning), and became invested enough in the characters to still be wondering about them once I’d reached the end – what was wrong with baby Will? Was Jonah going to have to answer for running away from the care home? Did the others at the home really start following in his footsteps near the end, or was that simply Jonah’s fevered imagination?

Ah, the curse of the contemporary novel – leaving me with just as many questions as life does.

To all you comtemporary fiction lovers out there – I’d highly recommend this one for its gritty realism and descriptive wizardry (had to fit some magic in there somehow).
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