Just Finished Reading ...Breakaway by Kat Spears

by Kat Spears
To be published on September 15, 2015
by St. Martin's Griffin

Source: eARC for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: When Jason Marshall's younger sister passes away, he knows he can count on his three best friends and soccer teammates—Mario, Jordie, and Chick—to be there for him. With a grief-crippled mother and a father who's not in the picture, he needs them more than ever. But when Mario starts hanging out with a rough group of friends and Jordie finally lands the girl of his dreams, Jason is left to fend for himself while maintaining a strained relationship with troubled and quiet Chick. Then Jason meets Raine, a girl he thinks is out of his league but who sees him for everything he wants to be, and he finds himself pulled between building a healthy and stable relationship with a girl he might be falling in love with, grieving for his sister, and trying to hold onto the friendships he has always relied on. 
My take: I really enjoyed Spears' debut novel, Sway,  a book about Jesse, a morally flexible high school student who gets hired by a football player to plead his case to a girl and then (awkward!) falls in love with her.  While the cover of Breakaway might suggest the books are linked, they weren't in any way that I could see.

Jason (or  Jaz, as some of his friends call him) is trying to cope with an absentee father and the recent death of his sister. He's a working class kid with a tight group of loyal friends. I loved this aspect of the story -- realistic guy friendships are way too rare in YA as far as I'm concerned. Jason's family situation has made him a bit wary of romance, but one day he meets Raine, a tough-but-vulnerable girl who's trying to navigate her own family problems -- well-off but controlling parents.  They're an unlikely couple, but just keep being drawn to each other.

That's about it. I loved the fact that this book was about ... life. About crappy things that happen and the people who step up and help you get through them. The book shows Jaz navigating not one but two tragedies and trying to find his way in two new relationships: with Raine and with his father.

On her Goodreads bio, Kat Spears mentions Richard Peck and Katherine Paterson as writing influences, and I see that in Breakaway. This book felt current and timeless all at once. The ending is a bit unresolved, but I thought that fit the story. I really enjoyed this one. It's a bit of a quiet book, but if you enjoy contemporary YA, definitely give it a try!


  1. I loved Sway so I definitely want to read this one!

  2. I haven't read Sway, so I'm not familiar with the author's work. This sounds simple enough. :)

  3. Wow. I hadn't heard of this one. It sounds really cute. I believe that people come into your life when you need them. I like that this book sorts of fits that theme. I'll check it out.

  4. Definitely smelling the potential here, though neither quiet nor contemporary describes what I'd reach for first in a bookshop :) Lovely review, Jenny. (Sorry, I know I'm being repetitive, but it's your own fault!)

  5. Great review! I have this ARC, but I haven't read it yet. I haven't read anything by this author before, but you have made me even more excited to do so.

  6. Love the sound of the characters and just doing life with them

  7. Oh nice! I hadn't heard of this book but I liked Sway too.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  8. This sounds like a really realistic slice-of-life quiet YA, which is just the kind that I am most fond of. And the fact that there is a support group of tight-knit male friends make it so much more endearing too. That's not something you read everyday at all, especially in this demographic that's mostly composed of heroines and female friendships!

    Faye at The Social Potato

  9. Haven't heard of this book before but I love how it deals with some close knit relationships. It feels really realistic the way you described it. Lovely review!


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