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Breaking Boxes Hardcover – September 8, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition edition (September 8, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385325134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385325134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,844,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Winner of the 14th annual Delacorte Prize, Breaking Boxes just may break your heart. It's the story of a loner named Charlie Calmont, his older brother Trent, and how they get by after both of their parents are gone. Most of the time Charlie feels lucky: Trent never hassles him, and, for the most part, they get on fine with fish sticks and canned vegetables. The calm disappears, though, when Charlie gets suspended for fighting with guys at school who care more about the kind of shoes he wears than who Charlie is on the inside. In this alternately heart-warming and heart-breaking tale, A. M. Jenkins tells what happens to Charlie after he befriends one of the guys who tried to beat him up. What is a friend, anyway? How will Charlie, who's never had many friends, know when it's appropriate to open his heart for a new friend or when it's time to shut himself off from the world and act cool?

From Publishers Weekly

According to PW, "Though the plot may read like an after-school special on accepting homosexuals, [the first-person narrator's] funny, angry voice will keep up readers' interest." Ages 14-up. (Feb.) .
- funny, angry voice will keep up readers' interest." Ages 14-up. (Feb.) n
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 17, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book, by A.M Jenkins, could have an incredible affect on your heart. The plot, while it is somewhat predictable, has interesting twists and turns. This book is very realistic about what happens in it.. The main character is sixteen year old Charlie Calmont. His parents are gone, his father left the family and his mother drank herself to death. He lives in a poor neighboorhood with his down to earth brother, Trent. Everything's fine in Charlie's world until some rich boys at school make fun of him and he lashes out at them. Only one of the boys who harassed him is punished, Brandon Chase, the class leader. Brandon and Charlie get to know each other while they are punished at school. Then Brandon offers him a ride home in his Corvette. Their friendship comes quickly after that. Brandon tells Charlie that he is a real person in a world of fakes, and Charlie feels that Brandon is not who he seems to be, and that Brandon is trapped in a bad nightmare. Eventually, Charlie feels close enough to Brandon to reveal his biggest secret about Trent to him. Brandon has a bad reaction and the whole school knows about Charlie's secret. With this Charlie tells himself he will never let someone get close to him ever again. One last fight brings the boys back together again, and helps Charlie to admit that he really does care about things. Charlie's story is in a voice that most teens can understand. Yet, Charlie is someone to care for. This novel tells with clarity the risk of opening up to others.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Breaking Boxes clearly brakes the traditional barrier in teenage readings. It effectively deals with contemporary issues incl. alcoholism, domestic violence and homosexuality that are often avoided or dealt relunctantly in young adult literature. AM Jenkins's potrayal of the characters are all thorough and emotionally touching. It's an excellent reading for both young adults and adults alike.
Personally I would include Breaking Boxes as one of my old-time favorites.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Progress doesn't always come in enormous leaps and bounds, and it comes harder for some than others. By the conclusion of 'Breaking Boxes,' protagonist Charlie Calmont has made progress- in some small, cautious but positive steps. The novel may strike some people as bleak because it doesn't compromise in portraying the world of its characters in honest terms. Young adult readers could use more, not fewer, works of the quality of 'Breaking Boxes.' If you want a fun, moving, candid novel about the struggles of being open and trusting both to oneself and others, 'Breaking Boxes' is right for you. If you want empty moralizing, look elsewhere.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I really loved this book a lot. The reason I liked it so much is I could relate to the characters because a similar thing that happened to Charlie Calmont, happened to me. I think this book is very realistic, and while it displays the everyday issues teens have to deal with, it also shows how two different people (or so it seems) could have so much in common and end up being friends. I also really liked the ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Russell A. Nelson on October 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Charlie is such a wonderful character -- he reminds me so much of what it was like to be a teenage boy, while at the same time he is so complex and interesting...a study in contrasts at times, which makes him so more real for the reader. I like the way he gathers his inner resources to cope with challenges on his own....I know YA books these days are supposed to provide the reader with everything right down to 1-800 helplines -- but this book is much more realistic than that, which is one reason it is so good. Because so often in life there IS no help that is readily available or even apparent, and it is through dealing with these challenges that a person's inner strength is grown and matured.
I am astonished at A.M. Jenkins's ability -- especially as a first-time author -- to get into this character's head so perfectly. I also love the interplay between Charlie, his brother Trent, and Charlie's new friend, Chase. An emotional, satisfying read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
So many of the teen stories of today are from the female's point of view and it is nice to see one from the male point. I liked this story because I thought it was typical of the way that the "popular" kids treat others who might not be as fortunate as they are. I liked the book and would recommend it to anyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This story is an uncompromising view of teen lives. It examines the expansive role of peer pressure and how it forces young people to trivialize major life experiences and choices. The characters engage in casual sex, alcohol consumption, vicious behavior toward each other just to win acceptance, and yet the book manages to make their participation seem effortless and at the same time lets us see how uncomfortable they really are with the choices they make. One wonders if the age of the reader plays a role in the impact of this book; this novel's abrupt ending and under-developed subplot made the story all the more painful and left this 39 year-old reader unable to let the characters go long after the book was finished.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A. M. Jenkins' handling of tough issues such as homosexuality, alcoholism, and parental abandonment in her Delacorte winning novel, Breaking Boxes, makes this a book well worth reading. Dealing with such difficult subjects could easily result in a dark novel, but by weaving in redeeming messages of hope and friendship, Jenkins creates a compelling novel that kids will appreciate for its candor.
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