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Break Paperback – August 25, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416982752
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416982753
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Seventeen-year-old Jonah is on a quest to break every bone in his body, and his best friend Naomi is there to film each attempt, as he crashes his skateboard or dives into an empty pool. His 16-year-old brother, Jesse, has deadly food allergies and their parents aren't vigilant about keeping the house safe, so that job has fallen to Jonah, who is weighed down by the responsibility. He breaks his bones so that as he heals he becomes stronger ("It's sort of a natural bionics thing. Break a leg, grow a better leg. Break a body, grow a better body"), a belief treated with almost religious reverence from some, like Naomi (who calls it a "revolution"), but that eventually results in his being institutionalized. Moskowitz, who wrote the story while a high school junior, paces the story well and creates in Jonah a believable and complex protagonist. Love interest Charlotte is one-dimensional, and Naomi strains credulity as she eggs Jonah on. But the brothers' relationship is poignant, and Moskowitz's depiction of Jonah and Jesse's respective traumas-and a family drowning in dysfunction-are viscerally real. Ages 14-up.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Seventeen-year-old Jonah is determined to break every bone in his body, and to this end he stages accidents that are quite disturbing and painful to read. His friend Naomi encourages him and videos the sickening stunts, which include jumping into an empty 14-foot-deep swimming pool. Jonah's dysfunctional activity stems from family dynamics: parents who argue; an infant brother who wails incessantly for no known reason; and a 16-year-old brother who has life-threatening food allergies that frequently land him in the ER. Jesse is a constant worry for Jonah, who believes his brother is primarily his responsibility. There's plenty of teen angst and drama, but the resolution feels rushed and somewhat implausible. Jonah escapes from a juvenile psychiatric unit with the help of Mackenzie, a teen volunteer at the facility who has access to the isolation unit and knowledge of security codes. Mackenzie is enamored with Jonah's explanation of his self-destructive actions, calling them "adorable." Later that evening Jonah learns that Jesse and Naomi are a couple; this inexplicable union is also crucial to the climax. Despite its shortcomings, the unique, emotional story line may draw in teens who want a quick read and are willing to overlook some of the unlikely plot twists.—Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Hannah Moskowitz wrote her first story, about a kitten named Lilly on the run from cat hunters, for a contest when she was seven years old. It was disqualified for violence. Her first book, BREAK, was on the ALA's 2010 list of Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. She is a student at The University of Maryland.

Customer Reviews

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See all 46 customer reviews
The plot, characters, and storyline were very enjoyable.
Between the Lines
Also the ending felt like it was missing something... the whole book was intense and fast paced but towards the end it sort of just died down.
Brooke (Brooke-Reports Blog)
I guess I just felt that he had so much going on that he didn't need that from her piled on top of it all too.
L. Reeves

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tabitha VINE VOICE on January 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I first picked this book up, I was hooked. Jonah's voice is so fresh and real, and the writing is sharp. His relationship with his brother, Jesse, is heartfelt and strong. In fact, all of the younger characters in this book are very real.

The first two thirds of the story really pulled me in. I was dying to find out why the baby brother, Will, cried so much. I had to know more about Jesse's allergies. And, this question was burning a hole in the back of my mind: what is Jonah going to do to make things better? I happily read the story, unable to put it down, until the big intervention. After that, several instances didn't make sense to me.

-I just couldn't believe that Jonah would willingly remove himself from his home. It was clear that he believed his parents were incompetent, which set off Jesse's allergies constantly. Since Jesse is obviously so important to him, I just can't see him leaving without putting up a serious fight.
-I can't believe Jonah's medical condition would have been overlooked for so long at the rehab center. Or that he'd be thrown into isolation so easily.
-The twist with Naomi threw me for a loop. The whole story was set up such that she liked Jonah - she doesn't like seeing him with Charlotte even though she likes Charlotte, she wears his sweatshirt, she encourages him to break his bones, etc. So I didn't understand why she suddenly went for Jesse.
-I was incredibly disappointed we never found out why Will cried so much. This aspect of the story played such a huge part that it should have gotten a bit more attention in the end.

Overall, I think my reaction to this story can be boiled down to the characters: the kids vs. the adults.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Theoden Humphrey VINE VOICE on October 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's a great concept: Jonah McNab wants to get stronger, so he decides to do something drastic. He starts breaking his bones, knowing that a broken bone grows back stronger than it was before. He breaks his wrist and two ribs "falling" off of his skateboard; he breaks the hand on the end of the wrist when he punches a wall; he breaks several more bones with another intentional fall. His count gets above 30 bones broken; not a bad start on the way to his goal of all 206.

But there is more going on than just Jonah's quest. There is his best friend, Naomi, who cheers him on in his breaking; is she being supportive, or pushing him towards self-destruction? There is Charlotte, who is NOT Jonah's girlfriend, regardless of the time they spend making out. Then there is Jonah's brother, Jesse, who is deathly allergic to most foods, who cannot eat, nor touch, nor even be in the same room as eggs or peanuts or milk -- the last one being the most dangerous for Jesse right now, as Jonah and Jesse have a baby brother, Will, and therefore the house is full of milk. Will brings his own set of problems into Jonah's life, as he is eight months old and has yet to stop crying. Their parents argue all the time, which only adds to the stress in the lives of all three sons -- which in turn increases the burdens they already carry, in dealing with each other.

It is a great concept, especially once the thought process behind Jonah's breaking is revealed, near the end of the book. The writing doesn't quite come up to the same level, but Moskowitz certainly pulls it off, especially considering her age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Darcy Wishard on September 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Right off I can tell you that this book is not for the faint of heart...more than a few times I found myself skimming through the sections where Jonah describes his many injuries on his path to breaking every bone in his body. On the other hand that is always a sign of great writing when the reader gets such a visual representation of the written word that it causes an actual physical reaction (in other words me getting queasy!)

Jonah has a lot of issues...a brother with deadly (this is no exaggeration) food allergies. I mean the poor guy can basically only drink these special blended drinks and he needs a lifetime supply of Benedryl...a baby brother who cries non-stop day and night and, well, obviously distracted parents. Jonah is constantly stressed out about the health of his brother who seems to be in and out of the hospital with horrible allergy attacks that almost bring him to the brink of death!

With the help of his best friend Naomi, who is filming his "accidents" as some sort of bizarre documentary, Jonah sets out on his goal of breaking bones. Whether its skateboarding or using a hammer...lets just say mission accomplished. He has to get pretty creative when trying to explain the injuries and before too long, he just can't hide it anymore.

I think that most readers will see the significance of Jonah hurting himself soon after something happens that causes more stress or anxiety for him. Most of the time when we think of self-mutilating, we think of girls who cut themselves or as a lot of teens refer to them "cutters". Jonah's story shows us the "macho" side of self-mutilating, which is almost more scary because I think a lot of us might write it off as "boys will be boys" especially in the age of TV shows like Jack Ass and Scarred.
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