Thursday, November 26, 2009

BREAK by Hannah Moskowitz

Is the feeling of exhilaration? Is it the possibility that it will make him stronger? Or is it an attempt to help his brother? Jonah doesn't know why he is driven to do it, but he does know it may be out of control.

Jonah breaks himself. He breaks his own bones. Staged skateboard accidents, intentional falls from high places, or direct blows with a heavy object - whatever it takes to break his bones. He keeps a tally of total breaks with his goal being the magic total in the human body - 206.

There's anorexia, bulimia, and cutting as a way to control the world around you, but Jonah seems to have found another method. The resulting pain and adrenaline rush give him special pleasure, but the real reason is linked to his younger brother Jesse. Jesse was born allergic to everything. He can't be in the same room as a cooking egg or spilled milk. He can't even touch their youngest brother for fear that he might be wearing traces of their mother's breast milk. All their friends are cautioned not to breath in his presence after eating certain foods like peanut butter. Even airborne contact with just about everything can stop cover him in hives and stop his breathing, sending him to the emergency room and possible death.

As people gradually begin to realize Jonah is not just a klutz, and that his broken bones are some sort of cry for help, he finds himself defending his strange obsession in an attempt to prove he is not crazy. Is there another way to control the world around him, or will one of the breaks end everything?

First time author Hannah Moskowitz has created a truly unique tale. In a modern world of escapist behavior, she has created a character with a whole new twist of self-destruction. BREAK gripped me on the first page, and I couldn't put it down. Jonah's family takes "dysfunctional" in a totally new direction that had me almost talking back to the book. The emotions that drive the characters practically jump off the page and demand attention. I can't wait to read her next book.

No comments: