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Break by Hannah Moskowitz
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Break (edition 2009)

by Hannah Moskowitz

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1481480,863 (3.87)11
Member:booksandwine
Title:Break
Authors:Hannah Moskowitz
Info:Simon Pulse (2009), Edition: Original, Paperback, 262 pages
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Break by Hannah Moskowitz

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From book jacket: "Jonah is on a mission to break every bone in his body. Everyone knows that broken bones grow back stronger than they were before. Jonah wants to be stronger--needs to be stronger--because everything around him is falling apart. Breaking, and then healing, is the only way he can 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?" ( )
  mpelleg | Feb 15, 2016 |
(Re-posted from http://theturnedbrain.blogspot.com.au/)

The first thing that struck me about Break was how nice it was to read a YA book that didn't revolve around or devote a huge chunk of itself to romance. Jonah already has a girlfriend, (well, kind of), and while he likes her a whole heap he doesn’t obsess over her or doubt her feelings or worry overmuch about the relationship or any of that standard YA jazz. Break is a book hugely concerned with relationships, just not the teenagers in love kind.

This a book about family. Jonah has a brother, Jesse, who is allergic to pretty much everything. Regular trips to the emergency room kind of allergic. Good chance of dying young kind of allergic. His parents weren’t coping so well with it before, and they’re coping even less now there’s a new baby in the house. It doesn’t help that milk is among the many, many, many things Jesse is allergic to, and with a new baby there’s a lot more of it around. It’s a family on the edge of breaking, (that point between broken and unbroken is a running theme through this aptly titled novel) and Jonah is doing everything he can to hold it together.

It’s a lot of stress for a 17 year old kid, which probably explains why Jonah has also gone a little bit nuts. So apparently when you break a bone it heals stronger. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but Jonah certainly believes it is, and that’s why he’s embarked on a mission to break every bone in his body. As crazy as this sounds Jonah actually has a well thought out system of logic behind his quest, and slowly figuring out where his mind was at with this was one of my favourite aspects of the book. (Hint: it's not as obvious as you might think).

But still, ouch much? I don’t if the author Hannah Moskowitz broke a bunch of bones when she was a kid or maybe in the name of art she went out and broke a bunch for research, but she has the descriptions of it down. The anticipation of pain, the sick feeling, the crunch… It’s not so hard, I think, for an author to make a reader feels empathetic pain, but to make them feel physical pain along with the character… Moskowitza pulls it off, and I don’t know whether to be impressed or annoyed at her. There’s one scene where Jonah dives into an empty pool that made my heart physically race it was so awful. I don’t want to give the impression that the book is full of gore or going for cheap shocks, because it’s not like that at all. But it is definitely full on!

Another thing I liked was the relationship between Noah and his brother. But then, I’m a real sucker for brothers. I liked the way Jesse was obviously so fed up with Jonah’s overbearing concern, but at the same time obviously cares about him and panics at the thought of being without him. Similarly I liked that Jonah cared for Jesse so much, but at the same time resented him just a little. Their relationship was complex and convincing.

Less convincing were the parents. I had trouble accepting that they could be so very bad at looking after Jesse and dealing with his allergies. Or that they could be so blind to the fact that their other son was regularly doing himself serious damage. It’s not that I doubt such parents exist, they just seemed to be a bit over the top with their failing in this book.

I also had some issues towards the end of the book. (No spoilers, I promise). Jonah starts to unravel, and really strange things start to happen. I initially thought it was an excellent example of an unreliable narrator, that Jonah was really, really losing it and his perception of reality was slipping. But by the end of the book this appears to have not been the case, which kind of ruined things for me a bit. I mean, some of these things were really bizarre or just straight up weren’t explained at all.The ending is really abrupt, so maybe that's where my issue lies. Things went nuts and then things just ended.

Moskowitz had a really tight hold on the plot for the first three quarters of the book, so it was a shame to see it unravel all over the place like it did at the end.

Despite this, I still found Break to be highly engaging and also very, very interesting. I recommend it, especially if you're looking for a YA read that isn’t all about the make outs. ( )
  MeganDawn | Jan 18, 2016 |
Jonah is a seventeen year old boy who is on a mission to break every bone in his body. Not for attention, not for the video footage his friend films, but because broken bones become stronger when they heal. Jonah carries a lot on his shoulders - his parents argue, and he always seems stuck in the middle; his 8 month old brother Will has been crying nonstop since he was born; his sixteen year old brother Jesse... well Jesse is Jonah's responsibility. Jesse is allergic to basically all foods and almost anything else in the air. He works out and plays sports to try and make himself stronger, but he still has really serious reactions fairly often. It's up to Jonah to take care of his brother. And when he's unable to, he can't cope.

I love that this book was written by a young adult herself! It had a matter-of-fact tone that worked well with the serious subject matter. I'm not sure I ever felt like I actually knew the characters, though. I think it sits okay with me this way. Moskowitz credits Palahniuk in her acknowledgements, and I can definitely see the influence of his writing on hers. ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
This was a quick read. The author was in high school when she wrote it and I think she's got some real potential. Makes me wish I'd written a book when I was 17. ( )
  Cather00 | Apr 27, 2013 |
This book was freaky. In a good way. Okay, so every book has its flaws, and there is always going to be someone out there who will find those flaws. If I really analyzed this book I'm sure I'd be able to come up with a few. But at the moment, I just don't want to. Because without analyzing the book, I really enjoyed it. Which sounds awful because what Johah is doing is horrible. But really, when you read the book, it makes sense. Or at least it does to those who have felt something similar to this. I have and so the book really resonated for me. And the book is much more than self-harm. It's about what friend's support is and isn't. It's about how far is too far when trying to save someone from their life. It's about what love is and isn't. After reading Moskowiz's newest novel I requested this and when I picked it up from the library today I plopped down and read it all the way through in one sitting. Set aside my other book and homework to do it, and it was totally worth it. It's a quick read, and a powerful enough story to be stuck in my mind for months. I'm still in the high of just finishing the book so perhaps my enthusiasm will die down, but damn, this book hit a spot I didn't realize needed hitting.
Anyways, side note: this was Moskowitz's debut novel and it looks as if she wrote and maybe even published it while in high school, which is a grand feat in my opinion. I'm still working on the book I wanted to have published before I turned nineteen. That day has long come and gone and I'm no closer. So great job Moskowitz. I look forward to more books from her. ( )
  Kassilem | Nov 1, 2012 |
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Book description
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 his family is falling apart around his bickering parents, his allergic-to-everything brother, and the screaming new baby. Maybe if he breaks and heals enough times, he’ll show his family how to pick itself up after a fall. But how does he keep from destroying himself in the process?
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To relieve the pressures of caring for a brother with life-threatening food allergies, another who is a fussy baby, and parents who are at odds with one other, seventeen-year-old Jonah sets out to break every bone in his body in hopes of becoming stronger.… (more)

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