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When Jason Marshall’s younger sister passes away, 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 on to 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.

290 pages, Hardcover

First published September 15, 2015

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About the author

Kat Spears

7 books218 followers
Kat Spears grew up moving every few years and is still looking for her hometown. Kat writes realistic, edgy, honest, sometimes heartbreaking, often funny books about and for young people. Being a teenager sucked for Kat, and she’s still trying to write her way out of it. She spends her free time rearing caterpillars, vacuuming up dog hair, and writing letters the old-fashioned way. Her favorite job, ever, is being the mother of three perfect and hilarious humans.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 129 reviews
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,005 reviews1,050 followers
December 18, 2017
The title matches the quality of the book very much because it is a rather radical break from the usual YA contemporary. There’s something about the way Kat Spears relates her stories and her characters. Hers is an unadulterated, unfiltered way of showing the truth and I admire it.

Breakaway much like Sway is an encompassing story about a teenage boy grieving in his own unusual way over the death of his younger sister, while maintaining some semblance to a home, taking care of his mom, keeping watch over his friends and all the while sticking with his studies and holding up his almost always empty stomach while working. Of course he doesn’t need another distraction in a form of a pretty, smart and rich girl who is completely out of his league but he doesn’t have much of a say when the heart interferes.

The romance is too cute and the banter between Jaz and Raine are hilarious.

“Thanks,” she said without even a hint of sincerity
“Well” I said, “that was…awful.”
“Yeah. I kind of hope I never see you again,” she said as she crossed her arms over her chest.
“You want a kiss good night?”
“I’d rather eat vomit.”
I chuckled at that. “Good night, Lorraine.”
“Drop dead,” she groaned as she turned and let herself into the house. “

So sweet, right?

I was really feeling and liking these characters but the plot became kind of too much for me. There were too many things going on, too many problems and it started to feel too unfair especially with that too abrupt ending.

The first greater half was great, the latter half just okay. It would have been a great read if the plot were more solid and focused and with a better ending but it was still worth a read. I’m starting to think that Kat Spears will be an auto-buy for me. I hope she writes another book soon.
Profile Image for Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books).
489 reviews344 followers
September 25, 2015
Holy emotions!!! My heart hurts.

After the death of his younger sister, Jason comes to realize that his crew of soccer friends (him, Mario, Jordie, and Chick) are growing apart and there's nothing he can do about it. Jordie is more interested in impressing his "high class" friends, Mario has fallen in with a druggie crowd, and Jason is having a tough time controlling his anger. The only person that even cares about saving them is Chick, a small sickly boy that the other 3 have let tagalong with them for years. The problem is, while Jason is quick to look out for Chick, he's not sure how to relate to his odd behavior.

Jason meets Raine, but doesn't know if he wants to put himself out there since they come from such different circumstances. And after all, people always find a way to leave Jason.

My Thoughts:
This book!!! An emotional book to begin with, and then there's that surprise twist of the knife that left me in tears. It's been a long time since I read a book that made me feel so much, but this one just crawled right up into my heart.

I didn't love this book right away. It started off kind of slow, and I was starting to question if I would like the book at all when all of a sudden I didn't want to put it down. I fell in love with Jason's character. He was a guy with a lot of layers. He has had a rough start to life, and he has a lot of anger about that, but he's also someone who cares a lot. I also found it endearing how he put up this tough exterior, but really he was just this insecure guy who felt lost. I didn't love Raine, but I really liked the way Jason interacted with her. Somehow he was able to have this back-and-forth smart-ass relationship, while also being really respectful towards her. There was just something about the way he acted with her, that made me want to make him one of my new book boyfriends.

It was interesting and sad how the friendships between the boys broke down. I wanted them to care about each other and come back around, but I also know how it is when you grow apart from friends you never thought you would grow apart from.

The only thing I would have changed is that I wanted more from Raine. I didn't find her all that interesting or unique. She tried to act like a hard-ass, but once she got with Jason, she changed all that, and I didn't like it. Be who you are. The only thing I found interesting about her was Jason.

I know this book is not one of the "hot", hyped books that everybody has to read right now, but I hope if you are reading this, you will give it a try. If you push past the first chapter or so, it gets SO good. The feel of it and the writing was just so honest. It's definitely one of those books that's going to stay with me for a long time. I'm really, really happy I read this and I will be reading more by this author!

WARNING: The ending is as real as the rest of the book, and I appreciated that the author didn't try to "fix" everything and make things perfect for all the characters. It wasn't a lessons book and I was happy for that, but I also felt like things were cautiously optimistic.

PS- What happened to Silvia?? Did I somehow miss that this was explained?

OVERALL: An emotional book that I hope everybody reads!! I fell in love with Jason and everything going on with him. I totally recommend this awesome story about friendship and loss, family and abandonment, and love and redemption.

My Blog:

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,851 reviews34.9k followers
June 26, 2015
"You're still mad at me, I said.
She eyed me coolly. letting the silence hang between us as she considered my question.
I was thinking about her lower lip again when she spoke.
"Don't flatter yourself. I have better things to do than sit around being mad at you."
"What kind of things?" I asked.
"What?" she asked, her brow wrinkling in confusion.
"You said you had better things to do", I said to remind her. "What kinds of things?"
"Are you trying to be funny?" she asked.
"I don't really have to try," I said with mock humility. "I'm just naturally funny."

This is a wonderful, page-turning-enjoyable-contemporary YA novel - Teens in High School.
...Teenage friendships & bonds forming-
...Family troubles and tragedy
...Teen fights, Teen jealousy, Teen love, Teen death
...A look at the privileged and the poor--- money & entitlement
...The reader feels like you know the kids we follow in this novel well.
...Dialogue conversations center around dating, soccer, classes in school, drinking,
work, sexual desires, parents, teachers, labels, (ADHD - Dyslexia - and just being different)
...There's are a few powerful conversations between the characters discussing expectations they have on themselves, and what they think their parents, teachers, and older people expect of them.

The author handles trials and tribulations with tenderness....not overly heavy: The awareness speaks for itself.... Therefore, the author allows the reader lots of room to do our own thinking.
For me...a book like this....( with message reminders),....only wants to make me be a better

Thank You to St. Martins Publishing, Netgalley, and Kat Spears

Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
July 23, 2015

That's how it ends?

Certainly I'm missing a chapter?

Okay.... good thing I wasn't all that crazy about the rest of the book. What a completely unresolved and depressing conclusion. I can't figure out exactly what the author was going for, with that.

Ah, well. Honestly, I thought I'd like Breakaway a lot more. I was looking forward to reading a male point-of-view, knowing Jason would be a bit of an anti-hero if Kat Spears' first book is anything to go by. She does write a boy's voice believably, but that doesn't mean I felt much for his character. Mostly, I was indifferent. Jason uses sarcasm as a defense mechanism, not always having the best attitude about things, and while I felt bad for some of the stuff he was going through, he lacks a strong presence. I also couldn't care less about any of the relationships - his romance with Raine, which was confusing, awkward, and uncertain, his shifting friendships with the boys he grew up with, and his (again) tepid relationships with his parents. It all goes down the drain during the last chapter, anyway, when the message remains unclear and there is no attempt at a resolution.

Ultimately Breakaway is an unmemorable, aimless story with an unsatisfying ending, not at all a "me" book.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for approving my request in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Molly.
474 reviews73 followers
December 29, 2015
I really, really, really recommend this book.

Jaz is trying to process his grief after losing his younger sister while his mother falls into a deep depression, and his father is mostly out of the picture. To top it off, he feels his three best friends growing apart as they grow up. Mario is falling in with the wrong crowd; Jordie is distancing himself from his poorer friends in favor of his fellow country-clubber girlfriend; and Chick is his same old quiet and troubled self. It's so refreshing to read an honest story about friendship between teenage guys, a subject not often explored in YA fiction. Spears captures the complicated dynamic of evolving social statuses, expertly portrays the experiences of teens living in poverty, and writes Jaz's voice so authentically. I highly recommend BREAKAWAY to fans of contemporary realistic fiction. If you missed her debut, SWAY, be sure to check it out, too.
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,434 reviews898 followers
July 22, 2015
I really liked this one. A bit of a grief book and a lot of a coming of age story. Great guy point of view and male friendships -- so rare in YA. Unresolved ending, but I don't mind that...
Longer review to come.

Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!

Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics or follow me on Bloglovin

Profile Image for Kylie Simpson.
17 reviews10 followers
May 19, 2015
I Like to think I discovered Kat Spears, when a lonely ARC of Sway landed on my desk. I devoured it, and then told everyone that they needed to put down whatever else they were reading and read Sway. So when I heard about Breakaway, I thought "there's no way this author can produce two books of that quality in two years", but I was wrong. Breakaway is an excellent follow up novel, and Kat Spears has once again shown herself as being a peer (dare I say rival) to much better-known authors such as John Green.

Breakaway, like Sway, had a male protagonist that teenage girls would fall in love with if he came out of the pages. There's just something about a slightly damaged hero, and Jaz had the perfect mix of self loathing and heart that made him not only extremely likeable, but so real. Without the swagger of Kat's previous hero, but still with the hint of bad boy and the ability to be protective of and repulsive to his love interest, Raine.

At its heart, this is a story about friendship between young men, and the tenacity of it. The four misfits in this book are so different, and yet there is that mateship (sorry, Im an aussie, for us that best describes it) that means they are there for each other in the tough times. The beauty of Breakaway though, is that there is something for everyone in here, romance, death, love, family, suicide, drugs, soccer (sorry, Football), friendship, abandonment and hope. Yet they all balance so well, that none of them overtake the story, and when you finish, you feel that you have just met and lost some wonderful characters.

There was at times a real John Hughes feel to this book, one of the characters will forever in my mind be James Spader from Pretty In Pink, while the friendship between Chick and Jaz made me think of The Outsiders.

This is yet another wonderful novel for adults young and old to enjoy, and Kat Spears is most definitely an author to keep an eye on. #quietYA may well have been created for books, and authors, such as this.
Profile Image for Ashley.
478 reviews12 followers
August 4, 2015
After I read an ARC of Sway last year and heard the author speak at the VLA conference, I knew I'd want to check out anything she published in the future. I saw this on Netgalley and had to request a copy.

I loved this book. There was a lot going on during the novel, and all of it was bookended by two tragedies.

In a way, what I loved most about this novel is how normal most of the plot was. It wasn't jammed packed with action and adventure, but it rang true to a typical high school experience. I think Spears does a fantastic job creating an authentic teenage male voice. I didn't always love the things Jaz did or thought, but it never came across as contrived or phony. (Of course, to be fair, I've never been a teenage boy so I could be missing something.)

As with Sway , I really loved how Breakaway had characters that were really rather unlikable. I consider it a success when I dislike characters but remain invested in what happens to them. In this case, I feel as though I disliked the characters because they reminded me so much of my own high school experiences. I had those friends that I thought would be with me forever, and I experienced the same drifting apart that the guys did in this book.

Chick, oh my goodness. I loved him. I wanted to wrap him up in bubblewrap and keep him safe. I wanted to reach into my eReader and punch every character who was harsh to him. What an absolutely heartbreaking character. All of my feels were felt when it came to Chick. ALL OF THEM.

I don't want to talk too much about the plot because I think it is better to just dive into the book. It is a pretty basic novel about the teenage experience, including relationships with friends, with romantic partners, and with family. Spears manages to make it special, though. She takes an age-old story and really put me through the emotional wringer. Even the simple 'friends growing apart' plot managed to tug at my heartstrings (and got me looking at an old online journal I kept during my tortured teenage years where I wrote novels about how my friends and I were drifting away from each other - oh, the angst!).

Anyway, I am super glad that the author's follow-up novel went above and beyond my expectations. She is definitely being put on my list of 'read everything this author puts out.' I loved it!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley to read and review.
Profile Image for Shelleyrae at Book'd Out.
2,419 reviews496 followers
September 21, 2015
Breakaway by Kat Spears is contemporary young adult fiction for an empathetic and perceptive reader.

In the wake of his younger sister's death, Jason Marshall is sad, angry and lost. As his single mother sinks into depression, Jaz should be able to rely on his best mates, but Mario is too busy getting high, Jordan is distracted by his new girlfriend, and Chick has his own problems.

Written in the first person, Jason doesn't really have insight into much of what motivates him, nor Spears other characters, so the underlying pathos that unravels his story has to be pieced together from the context and subtle leads in the narrative.

Struggling with his past and present, Jason is a sympathetic protagonist. Desperate to protect himself from further pain related to his father's desertion, his mother's emotional absence, and his sisters death, he retreats into himself, often taking refuge in an abrupt, defensive and sarcastic attitude.

While previously the linchpin for his group of best friends, Jason simply doesn't have the emotional strength to confront either Mario or Jordan, or cope with Chick's distress at the relationship drift. It's easier for him to just let it go and pretend it doesn't matter, or to blame circumstances outside his control, especially as his experience has taught him that everybody leaves.

Raine proves to be an excellent distraction for Jason. Convinced she couldn't be interested in him, he feels in control of their interactions, and most importantly to him, there is no risk of the rejection he fears. Raine in turn is good for Jason, calling him out on his worst behaviours and attitudes, and eventually offering him hope that things can be different.

An edgy, poignant coming of age novel exploring the themes of friendship, loss and love, Breakaway reflects the ordinary, often messy, complicated and dark, reality of adolescence.
Profile Image for Mari.
301 reviews27 followers
June 28, 2015
You know how artists, authors, musicians, etc suffer from the dreaded "sophomore slump"? Well, Kat Spears looked Sopho S. right in the face and gave it the finger. She's got the effed up, devil-may-care male POV down pat and it makes you realize that there's no age (or EQ) limit that the asshole-with-a-soft-side persona cannot break.

And while the storyline was a tad too predictable, and the events leading up to the end did not come off as a surprise, the book was so heartfelt and Jaz's voice so well written that the ending still broke my fucking heart.

One of my fave reads of 2015. Read it.
Profile Image for Summer.
202 reviews123 followers
July 19, 2017
Later rerated to*: 3 Stars

*I'm rerating a lot of the books I read in the past to fit my current taste. Most of the time it's downrating books that I thought I really liked at the time but there are a few exceptions. :) And it'd be too much to try to reflect these changes on my blog, so the ratings will remain as the original ones on Xingsings.

4 Stars, Completed September 13, 2015

This book was raw, harsh, and honest.

Breakaway is a story about four teenage boys anticipating the best senior year together. However, this expectation falls short as their relationship becomes more strained. As the school year begins, Jordie is more preoccupied with his new girlfriend and strives to fit in with the privileged, wealthy crowd that he himself was bred into. Mario starts to chill with the addicts on campus and resolves to drugs. Chick having only felt anchored to this world because of his close friends starts to break. And Jaz, after his sister’s death, deals with grief, poverty, and a loneliness he never thought he’d have to face. Then Jaz meets Raine who understands and respects his limits and knows the exact moment to stop questioning him about his sister and his family, yet still is able to see him for who he really is.

In my junior year of high school, my school and town experienced a terrible tragedy. A couple of kids that I grew up decided to drink that night and ended up in a severe car accident. One death and two physically injured. No doubt, the survivors were emotionally traumatized. These were people that I never really had the chance to talk to but we lived in the same neighborhood, went to the same schools, and were Facebook “friends.” Then this past year, a girl that graduated with me in high school was found dead in her dorm. Even though I only exchanged a couple of words with her in our four years of school together, I was incredibly saddened by the news and remembered crying when I received an influx of texts from my high school friends.

My point in mentioning these somber anecdotes is that dealing with death is never easy. It breaks people. I found that Spears was able to illustrate this accurately in Breakaway. I know that some readers had trouble getting into the story for the first fifty pages because it was slow, but I found the beginning relatable and necessary. Jaz was going through his first stage of loss and it made sense for Spears to include this period of grief. I think a lot of people that have lost loved ones would have been able to fathom this denial, self-pity, and fear. Instead of being slow, it just felt right.

I really enjoyed how each character in this story had his own unique set of characteristics that made the reader feel invested in learning more about them. By the end of the story, it was hard not to care about these flawed boys.

However, Raine’s character in the beginning confused me. It was evident she had a crush on Jaz but after really meeting him she changed quite quickly. And this became an “I hate you” standoff between the two. After some harsh bantering and a slap or two, Jaz began to take notice of her beauty, which was strange for me. I mean if a guy slapped me, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t feel attracted to him much less like him.

Yet, I really loved this slow burn type of romance between Jaz and Raine. With Jaz’s background being the “accident child” and product of two young parents, he had strong morals about sex. It was sort of refreshing to see a guy that cared about abstinence and respected women. Jaz swears like a sailor and throws punches before he thinks but behind that facade he’s a gentleman, sensitive, and kind. I also really liked that he has great character growth throughout the story. After Sylvia’s death he was disguised as an infallible antihero, but by the last scene he was racked with sobs. The vulnerability in him finally cracked through, which was a very pivotal scene. Not to mention, the other one with his heart to heart with his father. That father son scene really hit home for me.

This book begins sad and it ends sad, which was probably the best route to go. If there was a happy ending, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been as satisfied. I noticed that a lot of readers had reservations with this book because of the ending. It’s true, the book just stops. But the fact that it’s open ended, with heavy grief in the air was what made it feel very real and honest to me. There doesn’t always have to be a resolved ending. And a young adult contemporary doesn’t always have to end with the main couple staring off into the sunrise contemplating their undeterminable future. Breakaway ended in a way that sort of symbolized more change to come and left the readers thoughtful.

For me, this was not a love story but rather a story about friendship, life’s ability to inevitably change, and loneliness. This book took me by surprise and there were moments where I felt a few tears slipping through as I read. Surprisingly, this book was relatable in many levels for me. The death. The absent parents. The broken friendships. Breakaway was told in an almost crass way with lots of profanity, but it was still completely moving and beautiful in it’s own way.

And I have to admit the last thing that sold me was the music references. It’s probably known that I’m a huge K-pop fan, but in actuality I listen to diverse genres of music. My favorite being alternative and rock. The music taste Spears has and the bands she decides to feature is just plain fab. Yet, another minor (but kind of big for me) detail was that Spears incorporates “unicorns” at least three time in this book. That alone made me smile. Since you guys know I love me some unicorns.


Thank you St. Martin’s Griffin for giving me the opportunity to read and review this. In no way did this affect my reading experience or honest review.


More reviews at Xingsings

Blog @xingsings | Instagram @readxings | Twitter @xingsings

Profile Image for Kris.
543 reviews11 followers
June 12, 2017
Once again, Kat Spears manages to achieve what few other writers have: she has broken my heart on more than one occasion, and made me cry while reading her book.

I have been very fortunate to have had the pleasure to receive ARCs of both of Spears' books, Sway and Breakaway: A Novel. Her second book is just as complex, original, truthful, and gritty as her debut, if not more so. Jaz and his friends reveal the intricacies and variability of relationships as they traverse through the landmine filled world of adolescence.

Despite my paying avid attention to every word she placed on the page, I was tripped up by numerous revelations as they came throughout the story. Never once does she go for the expected, the cliche, or the desired outcome. Her only objective is to tell the truth in all its painful variations in order for the beauty of simple existence to shine through. No life needs read as extraordinary in order to be extraordinary.
Profile Image for Madison.
1,063 reviews59 followers
June 17, 2015
A harsh and expressive book about friendship. Both confronting and endearing.

Breakaway is about four boys who are friends, but as their final year of high school progresses they realise they don't really know why they are close or what they have in common. Let's start with Jason, or Jaz as he is know by his friends. He is our main character and he narrates the novel. At the start he is mourning the death of his sister. Jaz reads like a typical 17-year-old boy. He is slightly dislikable, yet honest, harsh and sometimes apologetic for the way he comes across. His life is falling apart, but he copes with it pretty well and is smart, making wise choices (sometimes) and thinking about the consequences of his decisions (though this sometimes comes after the fact). I felt like Jason didn't have any goals, nothing he was working towards. He is just suffering through each day. As his circle of friends break apart, he finds a reprieve in Raine. A girl he once dismissed as rich and shallow, but now realises he can be honest with her and connect with her in a way he no longer can with his friends. Mario, Chick and Jordie complete the friendship group in question. Mario is perhaps Jaz's closes friend, but is now hanging with a different crowd and taking drugs Jaz wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. Jordie has always struggled to align his friendship with Mario, Jaz and Chick, to the life his wealthy family want him to have. His new girlfriend (also rich and a member of the country club) makes the disparities between his two lives even more apparent. And then there is Chick. Overlooked and unassuming. Which is exactly how his friends see him. They look out for him, but can't quite connect with him.

I cannot say I loved this book, it made me too sad to really love it and didn't give me enough hope to redeem it. The ending hit me out of nowhere and just tops off what is overall a really tragic book. I felt that I must not have the complete book, in fact I even contacted the publishers to confirm it was the full text. It was. So I was left hanging, feeling like I didn't really know what the point of the book was. Maybe it was to look out for your friends before it's too late, or don't put a girl above your friends. But it's only as I am writing this review that I realise what the title means (his group of friends breaking away from one another) and how much the friendship was the focus of the book. Yes, this friendship, and it's gradual destruction is indicated in the summary, but I still didn't pick up that it was the main focus. I still don't know what the book's main message was, but I can appreciate the book as it was.

Breakaway was, as with Sway, well written. Threads are interwoven seamlessly, such as the boys' friendship, Jaz's growing relationship with Raine, the grief of Jaz and his mother and the undercurrents of Jaz's absent father. I liked how I was reading and understood the things that go unsaid and are only confirmed much later. Im not entirely sure how much I liked this book, but perhaps it is one to read again and mull over the fine nuances.

The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Find this review and more like it on my blog Madison's Library.
Profile Image for Lisa (lifeinlit).
695 reviews460 followers
September 15, 2015
I knew going into this story that it was going to be quite different from what I normally read. Kat Spears writes depressing, difficult-to-read stories that are extremely realistic, yet tough to read at times. I had attempted to read Sway last year after falling in love with the cover and unique synopsis, but I had such a difficult time with the MC and all of the drug use that I ended up putting it down. I’m honestly not too sure why, but I have a difficult time reading books with a lot of drug use and abuse. I knew this book would have some, but I was happy to see it wasn’t the major focus of the story and I was still able to enjoy it regardless of the topics that I don’t enjoy.

A male protagonist – the main reason why I wanted to read this book. It’s a new-found love of mine. I really enjoyed seeing the story through the eyes of Jason. He was such a unique MC, one that I honestly didn’t care for at first. I can’t say I ever actually liked him, but more pitied him and felt sorry for him. He was suffering a lot… he just lost his sister, his mother was basically non-existent and lost in her own misery, and his friends (Mario, Jordie and Chick) were slowly fading away. Jason wasn’t quiet about his feelings towards things, no matter who he hurts in the process of venting. He WAS, however, kind to one person in particular… his friend, Chick, who was special. Chick had a lot of health problems, was extremely emotional, and was absent from school for long periods of time. Jason almost felt like his bodyguard and guardian at times, which he took very seriously.

Jason meets Raine while double-dating with his friend, Jordie, as a favor, and he finds himself strangely drawn to her unique personality and even more unique appearance. Raine doesn’t shy away from telling him how it is… that he’s a huge jerk and treats girls like crap. Jason needs to hear these things though, someone to be blunt with him and not tiptoe around his emotions. With Jordie lost in his new girlfriend’s shadow, Mario hanging around with a “tougher” crowd and getting into drugs, and Chick absent from school again, Jason finds himself spending more and more time with Raine.

I don’t have much to say about this one, honestly. It was sad, it was emotional, and it broke my heart. It’s unlike my usual type of reads, but that’s why I felt the need to read it. It was harsh and depressing, but carried with it strong messages. I can’t say it’s the most memorable of books, and I honestly don’t think I’ll remember a lot about it in a month or two, but while reading I was fully invested in the story and it punched me right in the feels many, many times. An emotional roller-coaster of a story about love, loss, friendships, and finding yourself. Life isn’t always happy and filled with rainbows and sunshine, and Kat Spears has us experience that firsthand.

(Thanks to St. Martins Griffin for the review copy!)

Find this review and others like it at Lost in Literature!


Profile Image for Sara.
33 reviews1 follower
June 23, 2015
I read and am reviewing an ARC of this title (digital copy). I will struggle to match this book to readers in my high school library. Some of the girls will want more romance. Some of the guys will want more action. It's unfortunate that it doesn't really attract an audience because the writing is great.

This is not a spoiler, just a notice: There is no climactic, feel good moment. The ending doesn't tie up loose ends; I was left thinking "okay and then what?" but not in a frantic "I need to know now" manner that I get with some books. Again, this is not a bad thing, it just makes it a different reading experience.

The characters felt real; the dialogue didn't seem like the author worked too hard to make it "teenagery" and the storyline wasn't over the top. This may be a good thing or it may be what holds it back from being really desirable.

All in all, it would be a second-round pick for my library if, and I hate to say this, the cover was different. The cover has the typeface, colorings, and art of a YA romance book which would definitely turn away some of my male readers.
Profile Image for Nicole.
326 reviews31 followers
September 21, 2017
Kat Spears, please keep writing books, because the first 2 you have put out I have loved! Like Sway, Breakaway kept me glued start to finish. This author can write male protagonists! I agree with another reviewer here that says she is as talented as John Green. Can't wait to read her next one!
1 review2 followers
September 10, 2018
In the book, “Breakaway” by Kat Spears, a boy named Jaz is going through a very emotional time in his life right now, he just lost his little sister Sylvia who died in a coma. His mom falls into a very depressing state and eventually Jaz avoids coming home because he doesn’t want to be around the sad energy that fills it. He has 3 friends by the name of Jordie, Mario, and Chick. Mario starts hanging out with the wrong group of friends. Jordie starts spending all of his time on his new girlfriend. Chick tries his best to keep the group together, he clings onto Jaz hoping Jaz won’t leave him to. Eventually Jaz starts to find interest in a girl, and now the fours friendship is hanging by a thread. Which relates to the lesson author Kat Spears teaches readers to take care of your friendships. This is important to know because friends are important. You should always check up on your friends mental health and dedicate some of your time to them. This book is for people who like romance and and drama genres, this book is a tear jerker and honestly a amazing book.
Profile Image for Maxine ❃ etherealpages.
115 reviews20 followers
April 26, 2017
DNF - 9%

Never had me since the start but completely lost me at the part where Jason says "In case you don't know, talking yourself out of having sex when there's a mostly naked girl lying in your arms is virtually impossible." Okay, I don't even know what to say about that. Just no. No for that quote and no for this book in general.

Extremely late but thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for granting me access to an eARC.
Profile Image for Gabi.
11 reviews
May 7, 2021
I read it for the first time 4 years ago, during my junior year and it wrecked me the way no other book ever had. Then, as I was having a hard time in my senior year, I thought I might read the ending just to see if it would mean the same to me. I cried like a baby. I thought it was just me being overwhelmed by everything.

Now in 2021, I wanted to see if the book was as earth shattering as I remembered to be. Oh boy, I haven’t reached half of it and I was tearing up already. By the end, I was a slobbering mess. I couldn’t stop crying and feeling every word was written there. It inspired me and destroyed me at the same time; and if that doesn’t show how much of an astonishing book this is, I don’t know what will.
Profile Image for Cynthia (Bingeing On Books).
1,610 reviews119 followers
September 16, 2015
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This is kind of a hard review to write because I didn't actually feel any emotion for the main character until the last ten percent of the book. Up until that point, I was more apathetic about it than anything.

The book opens with the funeral of Jason's sister. With the book being told from a male POV, I can almost forgive the fact that he didn't really show that much grief. When people brought it up, he would either ignore it or pass it off as a joke. Listening to his internal monologue, I was able to tell that he was grieving. I just couldn't connect with him enough to feel it. It also bothered me that no one ever tells how his sister died. They did kind of allude to it. But when Jason's mom blamed herself for her death, I really wanted more of an explanation.

I thought this was a book about friendship and the fact that his friends drifted away from him. But that was actually a subplot. The main part of the story was about the romance, which kind of bored me a little. First of all, there were a lot of issues his other friends were dealing with and Jason wasn't helpful with any of them. I would like to think it was a reaction to grief, but he didn't actually stop having anything to do with his friends until he started going out with Raine. I don't get why he was friends with those guys at all. He had been friends with Mario forever and Mario had always dabbled in drugs, but when his drug use gets out of control, there is no explanation and Jason just starts ignoring it. Jordie was someone with more money and he started distancing himself from his "poor" friends when he started going out with a girl. Then there's Chick. He was always just . . . there. I felt sorry for him because he thought so highly of all those guys (for some crazy reason) and yet, none of them seemed to care about him.

Let's talk about the love interest, Raine. I didn't like her and didn't connect with her at all. She kept getting mad at Jason for every little thing. It drove me crazy the way they would snark at each other for nothing. And they kept arguing about money. Her family had it and his didn't. How many times did he make a snarky comment about her money? And how many times did she get defensive about it? The answer to both of those questions is: too many. She did state at one point that just because her family had money didn't mean she didn't have problems. I do agree with that, but the problem is that she never, ever said what those problems were. Throughout the entire book she would make these random and vague statements about her life or issues that she had, but nothing ever came of it. The author didn't allow us to get to know Raine.

Here was the problem with this book: there were a lot of issues and very few resolutions to them at the end. There was the death of Jason's sister, poverty, a grief-stricken mother, an absentee father, a friend struggling with drug addiction, depression and another issue that I don't want to say because it would give too much away. So there were all these issues that the author incorporated into the story, but all of those issues either had a) a too quick and too neat resolution or b) no resolution at all.

As I stated, I did have some connection with Jason at the end of the book but it just wasn't enough. I wanted so much more from this book.
Profile Image for Bri.
222 reviews1 follower
September 4, 2015
Even though I gave this book a slightly low rating, I still really enjoyed it. It has some fluff but it also deals with tough concepts which makes the fluff less fluffy. It was a moving novel and overall I really liked it.

The book moved smoothly. I loved how it dealt with coming of age topics like death and losing friendships. Nothing was sugarcoated and even though that was a part I enjoyed, on some level I didn't really like it. When I went into this book I didn't really think it would be so deep, what with the male narrator and all. I assumed it was more of a "guy book" with sports and a relationship with no real feelings, just attraction. I was kind of looking forward to that, it would be a nice change from all the mushy books I've been reading lately and since it wasn't I was a bit disappointed. What I found in this book was much better though and I'm glad it wasn't how I expected it to be.

The romance was pretty well written and I absolutely loved Jason and Raine together. I liked how she wasn't the spoiled rich girl like she seemed on the outside and how at first her and Jason were just friends. They actually got to know each other and even though they hated each other at first they found a way to get around that. They were perfect together.

This book was so sad in some ways. I felt so bad for Jason since his sister died and his mom seemed to wish it had been him instead. It also kind of depressed me how his friend group kind of breaks up and all that's left is him and Chick. Mario gets hooked on drugs and Jordie gets a new girlfriend and doesn't seem to have time for anyone else anymore. The author did a good job getting me to feel for Jason and I really liked that.

I'm not really sure why I didn't give this a higher rating, there was just something about it that didn't really appeal to me. I don't know if its because I don't really go to a school like Jason's where everyone seems to be divided into rich or poor, or if its simply because its narrated by a guy. I just seemed to be distanced from what was happening and that's the reason for my rating. Overall I would strongly recommend this book though.
9 reviews
October 11, 2016
This story tell about a young boy, Jason, whose sister, Sylvia, just passed away and is now counting on his three best friends, Jordie, Mario, and Chick, to help him through this tough time. Connecting with a girl was not one of his top priorities, especially not with Raine, the mystery girl with pink hair and an extravigant wardrobe. As Jason's friends all start drifting away, he finds himself feeling closer and closer to Raine and finding that ever since Sylvia died, his life turned upside down, but maybe not in a bad way.

This book did a great job of explaining things to the point that it felt like you were in the story with the characters. The author used great descriptive words and uses topics that can be easily related to and learned from. The only thing I would fix about this book is showing what the main character is thinking, sometimes, so readers know how he is processing some of the things that happen. I would suggest this book for high school students because it can be related to real life senarios in most high school students experiences. I would highly suggest this book if you enjoy sports books and also realistic love stories.
Profile Image for Estelle.
852 reviews81 followers
March 11, 2016
What an honest look at grief & changing friendships. It's quite a challenge to tackle a friendship foursome without it feeling like some part of the square is ignored or undeveloped but Spears did a really great job here. Through the eyes of Jason, we know just how he thinks of each of his best friends and how much he depends on them.

I have to say. The marketing copy and the cover art are misleading. This book is very dark, and full of heartbreak -- the cover makes it look like a fluffy YA. While there is romance, most of this book revolves around Jason dealing with all the changes in his life, the cards he's been dealt, and surviving as best he can. I did really enjoy Raine and wished there had been more of her, and more dialogue in general. A few twists, some interesting writing choices, but overall, a well-told, engrossing story.

Keywords: death, senior year, low income, single parenthood, male friendship, Washington DC, a bit of soccer
Profile Image for Brittany.
1,012 reviews17 followers
July 2, 2015
Through the majority of this book, I was all set to give it four stars...until I got to the end. It really had no clear conclusion and this made me rethink everything I had just read and enjoyed. I had to ask myself, "what was this book really about?" There's Jason and the fact that his sister has just died and his three best friends who are *supposed* to help him get through this. But, that doesn't really happen. There's Jason's absent father...but, is he really? There's Raine, the girl that shouldn't fall for Jason and vice versa, but of course they do and again, what really happens? I think this story had a solid premise, but somehow along the way it all got muddled as too many pressing issues were competing with each other. I really enjoyed Jason as a main character, but thought he deserved more. Maybe I am completely missing the point here, but I just would have preferred this to have a more hopeful, concise ending.
Profile Image for Stacey Conrad.
1,067 reviews17 followers
May 9, 2016
Kat Spears has become a go to author for me. I love her characters: flawed but redeemable boys, believable girls, and realistic adults.

Looking at the cover of this book, one might be led to believe it's really more about soccer, but soccer is just a background, a link between the four guys in this story, the only one they have that keeps them together after a while. Jaz, or Jason, is reeling after the death of his younger sister. Everyone is grieving, his mother, her friends and the rest of the high school, even those who didn't know her. His friendships are starting to change: Mario, has chosen a life of oblivion through drugs, Chick, has always been the small, socially awkward one, Jordie, having landed the girl he really wants, is letting his family's wealth dictate his social life. Jaz needs to figure out how to grieve, who he is, and what he wants. I loved going on his journey and watching him grow.
Profile Image for Jantine.
669 reviews40 followers
July 24, 2017
Somehow I couldn't remember requesting this book at Netgalley when I got an email with the approval. I saw it was about a soccer-playing teenage boy, and I hesitated if I should start at all. Needless to say, looking at my star-rating: I am very, very glad I did anyway.

'Breakaway' is a great coming of age-story. The main character being male is, I noticed, quite refreshing; seeing some teenage troubles concerning life and (dealing with) death, parents who might or might not do a good job parenting, through his eyes is different from what I'm used to with this kind of books, in a good way. I must say that I'm quite impressed. Obviously the parts about soccer were not my cup of tea, but since those parts were not that many anyway, and were merely a kind of setting, they were not distracting.

I received a free copy through Netglley in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Tabitha.
169 reviews
September 14, 2015
Let me preface by saying that I am reviewing an advance proof sent to me by the publisher. That being said, on with the actual review.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Based on the synopsis, I didn't have high hopes, I assumed this would be a YA book cut from the YA cookie cutter mold. It wasn't. This book was really about a young a man on the cusp of creating an adult life. Yikes, that sounds a bit cliche. The secondary characters are a bit one dimensional, but that's fine, this isn't about them. This is all about Jason and how he copes with his sister's death, who he is, the life he was dealt, and who he wants to be. I would say that this is one of the better YA books I've read in quite while. My one caution is that this book is certainly YA, but the issues it addresses are difficult, dark, and "adult" in nature.
Profile Image for Laurie.
Author 4 books91 followers
July 6, 2015
BREAKAWAY is an updated OUTSIDERS story with a compelling, self-protective narrator named Jaz who is grieving his sister’s death and watching his relationships with his three best friends change as he pursues a tentative romance with a wealthy girl. There is a lot going on in this novel, and there are many poignant moments, especially between Jaz and his three closest friends and Jaz and his love interest, Raine. Spears effectively sets up the novel’s climax, and the title is apt, both because Jaz plays soccer and because he and his friends are breaking away from each other. The pastel, illustrated cover suggests that the book will be more soccer-focused and more uplifting than it is, but this is an emotional story with strong characters.
Profile Image for Esther Haddie's Haven.
899 reviews56 followers
September 12, 2015
DISCLAIMER: I received a review copy (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. I will try to refrain from giving spoilers, but I will just state the facts that have already been stated in the description.

My Honest Opinions/Thoughts: I lost two younger siblings. I was able to relate to the first portion of Jason's story. I really liked the storyline, the characters. It did take me a while to get into reading this book, but I still loved it. I did not have that glued-to-the-book feeling, but I did love it, and I would totally recommend this book to anyone who likes plots (as the description describes) witty and emotionally moving tale of friendship, first love, and loss.

Full review will be posted here - http://haddieshaven.blogspot.com/2015...
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