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Breaking Paperback – 10 Aug 2017
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Stephen King's Firestarter meets Walter Dean Myers' Monster ... With its subtle yet timely commentary on police brutality, interracial dating and LGBT rights, the novel addresses contemporary issues without didacticism. A wildly fulfilling and frightening read (starred review Kirkus Reviews on BURNING)
Burning is Firestarter for the next generation! Vivid, suspenseful, and tautly wound, this book reads like a love letter to the modern thriller genre. Teens will relate to the accessible, well drawn characters and tight pacing (Micol Ostow author of AMITY and THE DEVIL AND WINNIE FLYNN on BURNING)
Chilling - think Mean Girls meets The Exorcist ... a fast-paced thrill-ride (MTV.com on THE MERCILESS)
Pretty Little Liars fans, get a sneak peek at your new favorite book (Seventeen Magazine on THE MERCILESS)
Prep school gets a scary twist in this commercial, fast-paced thriller, perfect for fans of Gossip Girl and Stephen KingSee all Product description
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This book is part of a companion series, but I hadn't read the one that came before Breaking and I don't feel as though I missed out on anything. Described as a prep school thriller with slight paranormal elements, I would say this book lived up to expectations. It was a genuinely enjoyable read and I sped through it, dying to find out what was going on within the halls of the prep school. I did find the main character slightly annoying although I can't put my finger on exactly why. I also feel as though there were some parts of the book that were pretty shallow and not fleshed out well enough. It worked well as it was, but a little bit more detail and fleshing out of certain parts would have made this much better in my opinion. If you love prep school mystery thrillers, I'd recommend Breaking.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
HERE’S WHAT I LOVED:
The dark and gritty, almost fairy tale-like quality of Ariel, Devon, and Charlotte. It almost read like magical realism with a sci-fi twist. I adored the dreamy, twisted idea of them being archetypes of fairy tale princesses whose mothers either abandoned or neglected them and all they had was a sisterhood. Yes, that. Yes.
The characters are imperfect. In fact, they aren’t even really likable for the most part. The more Charlotte reminisces about Devon and Ariel, the more cruel and sadistic they seem. Some scenes are truly horrific and disturbing. Like if you love animals…one scene will give you some serious anxiety. I held my breath through that one. The anticipation and fear are too real. Charlotte is one of those characters that you sort of sympathize with, though she does have quite a bit of self-pity. She thinks she’s less attractive, less intelligent, etc., than everyone at her school. There is a total of one scene that shows where that insecurity comes from-the pretty much abusive mind games her mother forced her to play as a child. I wasn’t entirely sold on her character. She was okay. As the story progressed, she did get better. She became rebellious, angry, and a little vicious. Not everything was so black and white.
Mystery definitely propels the plot forward. What at first seems like a string of suicides becomes suspect. What made two girls who were relatively happy and popular kill themselves? There are all sorts of clues and weird incidents that make you question everything.
The ending. Violent, vengeance-fueled, incendiary 😉 it’s sort of evil, but also justified. It was deeply satisfied with the ending.
HERE’S WHAT I DISLIKED:
The romance. There is so much build up that makes you think it’s something it’s totally not. Something more. Maybe Charlotte is blinded. Whatever. But the reader can see. There’s chemistry sure. And lust, definitely. But anything else, I wasn’t getting any strong emotions, even before the numbness started to set in.
I read Burning. There were several references to things that happened in this book that it kept throwing me off and I flipping through my memory trying to remember anything that might be relevant to the story. There is SO little about what happened in Burning and as a companion where the events that happened in the first book directly influence major plot points, I felt like there should have been more than a few measly clues.
The pacing was a little slow for me. It did pick up but way, way towards the end. Then it’s just crazy action and violence and all sorts of chaos.
While BREAKING certainly met its goal of being a thriller, I was mostly disappointed with the book. The hints of the supernatural were disappointing and though it kept my interest, there were too many questions left unanswered for me to be completely satisfied with the read.
To be fair, I read BREAKING in one sitting. It kept me completely glued to my seat, and I was desperate to know how it ended while I was reading it. Once I finished and thought about it, the more I realized I had some issues with the book.
One major problem I had was that Charlotte's friends, Ariel and Devon, are already dead at the beginning of the book. There are flashbacks, but not enough, in my opinion, for you to really understand Charlotte's friendship with the two of them. It was hard to get myself to care about Ariel and Devon and what happened to them, because I didn't have any connection to them other than that Charlotte cared about them. Another issue was the ending. It seems to end on a cliffhanger, as if there should be more books, but I don't see any news about further books in this series. So that was disappointing.
Had I realized when I requested it that it was a companion novel, I'm not sure I would have read it, but you don't need to have read BURNING, the companion novel, to understand what is happening in BREAKING. I easily picked up all the drama, and in fact think I may have appreciated the thriller aspects more since I didn't have hints from BURNING.
So, enough though I was entertained by BREAKING, ultimately I was left feeling unfulfilled. If you enjoy mysteries and thrillers, BREAKING might be up your alley, but if you like a little more closure when you read a book, I can't confidently recommend it.