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3.43  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  37 reviews
When Anthony's angst-ridden rock 'n' roll lyrics go viral, he's unwittingly cast as the school rebel. The truth is, he's not trying to be anyone's hero.

Anthony Castillo needs a new life. His teachers are clueless autocrats except for Mr. Darren, who’s in charge of the rock band program. The girls at school are either shallow cutebots or out of his league. And his parents
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by Crown Books for Young Readers
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3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  141 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
that was friggin' adorable!
Sean Beaudoin
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a relief! This book is like a crisp peach sherbet on a summer day. While listening to Black Sabbath. It really moves, fast and funny. No boring set-up, no endless exposition or writerly affectations. Dude writes a song that's got some curses in it. How to reconcile? Done. Spot-on band stuff and musical observations throughout, girls and angst, but not belabored. Breakout is fun. A fun book with male characters! It's gonna start a trend.
Mary (BookHounds)
Anthony is having growing pains, massive eighth grade pains, not quite a teen but definitely out of childhood He has experienced his first kiss and breakup and feels no one understands him. He is a bit overwight and is prediabetic, so he can't indulge like a normal teen. The teachers at his school seem to be against him and he can't help himself and acts out in rebellion. The only true high point in his life is a rock band class that meets after school. With his best friend and bass player, Kee ...more
Joséphine (Word Revel)
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Initial thoughts: Generally I prefer protagonists who are a little older — 16 and up, so this eight grade protagonist was on the young side. Nonetheless, I enjoyed listening to this book. For one, Anthony was a pretty witty. For another, it was very deeply rooted in music and what it means to maintain artistic integrity. The plot was simple yet kept good pace. There were highs and lows and it was very evident that the matters at hand were important to Anthony. The debate
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
First, I have to acknowledge my full awareness that I am not the intended audience for this book. A middle school reluctant reader would probably rate it much higher, and I understand why.
That being said, I just couldn't get into a book where we spent the entire story debating whether or not to shout out the F-word at a middle school talent show. I was equal parts bored and too "grown up" to ever take the side of the student as he lamented being treated like a baby and censored by the evil princ
Megan Tonn
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another amazing novel by Kevin Emerson. The protagonist's voice has me re-thinking some of my students - the ones who are similar to Anthony. It reminds us, as adults and teachers, that our students have gifts and talents that sometimes don't always come out in our classrooms. Breakout also encourages conversation about the power of words, and why we regard words the way we do. A beautiful book that will get you thinking about more than just the plot.
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Great book on the importance of words and how they are used. Great read for middle and high school boys and music lovers!
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Finally, a book that captures the brain of an 8th grade boy. Now I get it! Anthony is a decent kid, who sometimes gets in trouble (mainly due to his big mouth), has decent friends (including an on and off again girlfriend), and a loving family (though mom is a bit obsessed over his grades and his weight). His passion is music, and he meets after school with his bandmates and a teacher to compose and perform original rock songs. After a couple of truly awful days, Anthony ends up alone in his bed ...more
Mark Richards
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Definitely catches the voice of an eighth grader. Anthony's dilemma is palpable. I liked how I didn't know what he was going to do until he did it. The tension builds as the song unfolds. This book was challenging to get into. I think it's because I have difficulty relating to all of the negativity surrounding this kid and his life. He is so self focused! I had to keep reminding myself that he is a teenager. This makes the actions/thoughts realistic, but did not alleviate my discomfort. I would ...more
Sarah Donovan
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
censorship, music, friendship, authority, 8th grade
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book was easy to read and follow. I got into it right away. I would recommend this book to any middle schooler who is interested in bands.

I got this as a free ARC.
Liz Friend
May 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
The story: Life would stink a lot less if Anthony could spend all his time playing with his band, the Rusty Soles, or moving up to the next level of Liberation Force, his favorite game. Mostly, though, he's stuck at school, doing (or not doing) stuff he doesn't care about, and getting in trouble more than he should. One night, grounded unfairly and raging at the system, Anthony writes and records a song, sends it to his bandmate Keenan, and next thing he knows, everyone he knows has heard those ...more
Stacy Books
Apr 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book was read and reviewed by my co-worker, Emily:

Breakout is about an eighth grader named Anthony who is in a school rock band. When pressure from school, peers and parents finally brings him over the edge, he writes a song expressing exactly how he feels about it, called “Breakout.” The song is posted online and almost overnight becomes a hit with Anthony’s classmates and beyond, and the band plans on playing it for the upcoming school concert. The only problem is the f-words at the end.
Jillian Heise
There is something about this book that struck a chord with me as a middle school teacher. Anthony reminded me of students I have currently and had in the past who feel misunderstood by their teachers...and seeing events from his perspective makes me want to do better by them. For this reason, I think Breakout is a book that teachers should read (especially Emerson's author's note about the inspiration for this character).

Breakout will appeal to the boys in my classroom, but also some of the gi
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Breakout is a young young adult novel that could almost be middle grade but there’s some stuff that’s definitely more mature than I would give my 10 year old. I guess age wise this is perfect for 12 year olds. However, it has subject matter that I can imagine some parents won’t be happy about so I can see how this is a tough one to get into the right hands. It reads as a younger YA but deals with some more mature stuff. However, I think it’s something that SO many junior high age kids will be ab ...more
Eighth grader Anthony Castillo just can't catch a break. Not only is he dealing with his former girlfriend now dating his best friend and bandmate, Keenan, but his mother has him eating a healthy diet so he can avoid the possibly genetic health issues faced by other family members. All he really wants to do is play music for his band, the Rusty Soles, and move up levels in Liberation Force, his favorite video game. After a particularly frustrating day at school and at home, Anthony channels his ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
“Breakout” by Kevin Emerson represents one world of high school and how the slightest of errors and pains and can seem to feel like it’ll be eternal. The novel wholeheartedly focuses on the inner battle of a young upcoming band from Seattle called “The Rusty Soles” The challenged and ambitions Anthony who is also the writer and vocalist of the band faces a challenge on school grounds for possible expulsion if he continues to break school rules; mainly profanity.

I really enjoyed reading this nov
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
It’s 12 days until the fall Arts Night, where 8th grader Anthony Catillo hopes his rock band, Rusty Soles, will make their successful debut. This is the only bright spot in his life. The only teacher he likes is the Rock Band Club adviser, Mr. Darren; Anthony feels that the rest of his teachers do not understand him.

He’s given up dating. Since he’s overweight, his family’s meals have become healthy, nutritional (also boring and tasteless) plus his parents force him to attend a weekly Fat Class w
Dec 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Breakout follows 14-year-old musician Anthony, who is ready to breakout of the confines of his K-8 school, and the rules that restrict his life and his ability to express himself. He pours his frustrations into a new song for Rock Band club, but there's only one problem--the "f-bombs" at the end of the song. Anthony, who is an expert player of a World War II video game, is no stranger to combat, and is prepared to fight to have his voice heard. The difficult decision lying before him, is whether ...more
Sarah Evans
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: washyarg
Frustrated middle school boy explores the limits of artistic expression. 7th grader Anthony feels trapped in a bad session of his favorite online game, Liberation Force. But instead of fighting Nazi’s, he’s battling uptight teachers, shallow girls, and his own weight (with a parent enforced diet and exercise regimen). The only thing going right in his life is playing guitar in an afterschool rock band club. One night, Anthony pours all his emotions into lyrics for a new song, records it, and sen ...more
Erin Logan
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Anthony is angry - about his town, his teachers, his weight, everything, and his escape route of choice is music and his band, The Rusty Soles. One night, Anthony composes his newest song, "Breakout" and posts it to BandSpace, where it becomes an instant hit. His band decides to play this song for Arts Night, but there is one little problem. "Breakout" has a couple F-bombs in the lyrics, which Anthony purposely and purposefully used to convey his real feelings. Will he cave and change his lyrics ...more
Feb 11, 2015 rated it liked it
While I really enjoyed the premise of this book, I found something's lacking. Anthony is a great character for young readers to relate to and the book does a great job encouraging kids to express themselves in creative ways.
That being said, I thought the writing was trying a little too hard to sound like an 8th grade student. There were times that Anthony's "Come on"s and "this sucks" s were cheesy and inauthentic. And there were times when the adults in the book were cardboard cutouts, but wit
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I don't know if it is just that I don't read them enough, but I adore when a YA book has a male narrator that actually sounds like a teenaged boy. They swear. They talk about breasts and sex and how much they hate the authority figures in their lives. So when an author's willing to go there with their characters, I appreciate it. Emerson does so here, and gives us a great look into a boy's mind when he's frustrated with being treated like a child, but still isn't quite sure how to stop it. Music ...more
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Anthony Castillo is pretty much like any angst ridden rocker. He's fed up with the constraints of day-to-day life and wishes that he could 'breakout' from under the thumb of those constantly telling him how to live his life. The only difference between Anthony and other rockers is the fact that he's still an eighth grader. He's tired of being told what to do by his parents (be healthy!), his teachers (do your work!) and his administrators (tow the line!). What he really wants to do is focus on h ...more
Mar 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Angsty, misunderstood boy finds solace in playing in a band.

I DNF'ed this around 100 pages in when I felt the plot running around in circles and the characters getting stale.

My students don't necessarily ask me for books about kids in music or bands, and while I love some disaffected teenage boys doing disaffected teenage boy things, this one in particular didn't grab me.

If I'm on a spending spree for a classroom library I might consider this title, but otherwise I'll put it aside.
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An excellent, relevant story for the young adult reader. The rock music theme is the perfect backdrop for the dreams, emotions, challenges and choices confronted by Anthony. The author's musical background shines through in the spot-on descriptions of musical equipment and performance. The story moves briskly from initial premise to conclusion with just the right mix of fun,young romance and frustration with the establishment.
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I think middle and high school students will absolutely be able to relate to the main character in this story. Anthony feels like he has no control, his teachers don't listen to him, and all he really wants to do is play his guitar and practice with his band.
Lots of places where F*** is in the text - but exactly like that. Author makes a point of saying how important it is that we use specific words for a reason, including swears.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book and it totally captured how we kids look at teachers.
Sep 20, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This book was stupid. The main character was a whiny brat. His "problems" were ridiculous and didn't warrant his attitude. I was really upset by the comparison the author kept doing to WWII!
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I thought it was slow and fraught with too much teen anger. But the resolution redeemed the story for me. And there was some uncertainty as to how it would end which kept me guessing and intrigued.
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HMSA Summer Reading: Book Review: Breakout 1 9 Aug 15, 2016 04:43PM  
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Author of sixteen novels for children and young adults, most recently LAST DAY ON MARS, BREAKOUT, and the ATLANTEANS series. His books have been published in ten different countries. Formerly a science teacher and a creative writing teacher, Kevin is also a singer and drummer. He has won a spelling bee, lost a beauty pageant, and once appeared in a Swedish TV commercial.
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