Monday, January 4, 2010

Break: Hannah Moskowitz

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?


This story starts out with a punch and keeps on kicking right up until the end. Moskowitz has written it in a way where the reader is eased into the store- starting with the intentional breaks then divulges the reasons for the behavior at a steady pace. Almost immediately, I became engrossed in this story enough that I barely put any real thought in the fact that breaking your own bones intentionally is not actually a good thing. It wasn't until other characters started shedding light on it that it really crossed my mind with any validity behind it and I applaud Moskowitz for that distraction.

The plot line itself ranks high in terms of how unique it is. There are books about cutting, eating disorders, even arson- but how many involve actually breaking your own bones for the feeling of release? The idea is strong and the execution is also pretty strong. There were only a few places things seemed a little disjointed for me and I felt the ending came rapidly and finished abruptly, but I stayed interested throughout the entire book. I could have used a little more embellishment with the ending but the climax hit at a perfect time- the dive afterwards was immediate though. This is one I had to force myself to put down and go to bed which earns it a spot on my favorites shelf and guarantees it to be a reread.

Jonah's character is reminiscent of numerous other self destructive characters but his ultimate reasoning for why he wants to do these things makes sense in a very grotesque sort of way. Watching the spiraling of his mind was gripping, pulling me along with each slam against him. Breaking bones hurt- but everything else hurt significantly more and Moskowitz did a superb job expression this through her writing. Her writing style in this book is a little unique and very heavy on Jonah's thoughts, even the repititon of a word or phrase in times of high stress. She spared nothing as Jonah catapulted deeper into the reality he created unknowingly without ramming it down the reader's throat.

The bond between Jonah and Jesse is strong but heartbreaking. I couldn't help but wonder if it would be the same if Jesse wasn't allergic to most everything. The references to Confucionism was also a nicely added element that came up at just the right times and drove Moskowitz's point home. The reader was able to get a strong feel for Jesse without the focus on Jonah being taken away, even in intense scenes. Naomi's character admiteddly bothered me- in many ways, she was hot and cold and could never just decide on something. Her reactions and decisions didn't make sense to me often times- she supported Jonah in wanting to break every bone in his body then wouldn't allow him to stop, then took offense when he pointed out others who tried. She seemed to have the mindset that she could do no wrong in anything and that bothered me. I don't feel as though her character really was spotlighted enough for me to have any taste left in my mouth for her but dislike. Of all the characters, she is the least well written and her presence did detract a little for me, even towards the end.

Overall, I rank this one 4 stars. Parts of it seemed too fast without enough resolution and Naomi's character irked me but otherwise, this book hit it with me. From the unique and strong plot to the desperation clearly defined in the book through the writing, I could barely put this one down. The writing is simplistic, but it is from the first person perspective of Jonah and that plays a big part of it. He isn't a scholar or a genius- he's just someone trying to help his whole family without realizing what he is doing to himself and them because of it. Moskowitz portrayed that beautifully.

I also have to admit, I didn't realize until I had finished this book but Moskowitz wrote this in high school- she has astounding potential and abilities and I most definitely look forward to more from her in the future as she advances her skills.

Author's Website
Author's Blog

Other Reviews:

The Compulsive Reader
Library Lounge Lizard
Sarah's Random Musings


  1. Great review! This book sounded a little creepy to me when I first read the summery, but I think it might actually be a good read. =)

  2. this sounds...different...but well written, which earns it a lot of points =) Doesnt matter what a books really aobut if the writing can suck you in. I think I'll check it out =) Cool review =D

  3. I'm seriously in love with your reviews. I know I've probably said this a handful of times before but it's never enough haha. I love how you go so deep into the story. I'm gonna have to start taking notes. ;)

    This book sounds terrific. The premise is so eerie and weird but I'm always up for reading anything.

  4. Arya-

    I have to admit, it is a little creepy. It is gory at parts but it builds the story beautifully.

    Michelle- Thank you! That makes me feel so great! =D

  5. I hadn't heard of this before- excellent review! The plot sounds so original, but a little creepy, yes.

  6. Great Review!

    I really enjoyed this book as well, it's awesome. And I love the cover:D