Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review: Break by Hannah Moskowitz


Break by Hannah Moskowitz

Pages: 262
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: August 25th, 2009
IBSN: 9781416982753

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?

Jonah believes that the family is the smallest unit of measurement. He and his brothers and his parents aren't components of a family, in that they can't be split apart from the family. With a brother deathly allergic to pretty much everything, including their newborn brother, and parents constantly at odds, Jonah decides he needs to be stronger in order for the family to be stronger.

So begins Jonah's mission to break his bones and have them heal stronger. No, it isn't as pointlessly self-destructive as it sounds. It started with a car accident that broke both femurs, and evolved to intentionally taking a few fingers, a wrist, a rib. "The first feeling is pain...the feeling that never comes in regret."

Break appeared on my radar after I read the wonderful Invincible Summer, Hannah Moskowitz's sophomore novel. Going back to her debut of two years prior, I was worried that IS set me up for disappointment, but while I could see how Hannah's writing developed between the two, Break was still an highly emotional and enjoyable read.

Hannah Moskowitz's style is raw and arresting, adopting a common family setting teeming with stress and worry and love and pulling it off with the believability of someone who's been there. The dynamics are so realistic and touching. The bond between Jonah and Jesse especially, both constructive and destructive at the same time, felt so real, and the exploration at their impact on each other's lives felt so deeply personal that remembering them as fictional characters came as a shock.

The characters' conflicts and motivations, the dynamics between them, their situations: everything is realistic and gritty. Hannah Moskowitz is skilled in bringing to life the most difficult and complicated of relationships and characters and making them relatable.

Break is a powerful and personal contemporary family drama I'd recommend to fans of Courtney Summers' novels. It's one lovers of Invincible Summer should check out to help pass the time until Gone, Gone, Gone's April release.