Friday, May 4, 2012

Book Review: The Breakaway

Last September I had the privilege to be a participant in the official blog tour of Monarch by Michelle Davidson Argyle. So when Michelle requested participants for her newest book's blog tour, I gladly volunteered and eagerly awaited my e-copy ARC of The Breakaway.

The Book...
by Michelle Davidson Argyle

"When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, it takes her parents two days to realize she’s missing. Escape isn’t high on her list of priorities when all she has to return to is an abusive boyfriend and parents who never paid much attention to her. For the first time in her life she’s part of a family—even if it is a family of criminals. But she’s still a captive. In a desperate attempt to regain some control in her life, Naomi embarks on a dangerous plan to make one of her kidnappers think she’s falling in love with him. The plan works too well, and when faced with the chance to escape, Naomi isn’t sure she wants to take it." (via Goodreads)

Released by Rhemalda Publishing on May 1st

My Thoughts...

The Breakaway is a YA contemporary suspense novel about kidnapping, relationships, love, happiness, choices, and survival. It has gritty tones, dramatic conflict, and intense moments. It was a fairly quick read for me, but after some of the intense moments I had to take a break and think about what I had just read. It wasn't confusing, just thought provoking. In fact, a day later I'm still thinking about certain moments and connections from the story. I really enjoyed reading this book despite it being different than my usual reading choices. I was captivated by the emotions and struggles of the characters, especially the main character Naomi.

1) Characters: Naomi is an interesting character. Majority of the story is told from her perspective so the reader is fully able to get inside of her head and almost experience the story through her eyes. She’s rather mousey and weak-seeming in the beginning, but as events unfold the reader sees a change in her. Though, on several occasions I found myself screaming at her for various choices and reasonings. (Yes, I talk to the books I read.) The other point-of-view character is Naomi’s mother, Karen. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about her in the beginning, but I’m fairly certain that was the author’s intent. Much like Naomi, the unfortunate event of Naomi’s disappearance caused a change in Karen and opened her eyes to the way things around her truly are. The other characters in the story were Naomi’s kidnappers, who each have their own pasts and inner turmoil. Eventually, I found myself sympathetic and liking all but one of them despite their crimes and faults.

2) Plot: It’s a story about its characters: their interactions, choices, emotions, relationships, and pasts. The book starts immediately after Naomi is kidnapped and follows her journey of life with her kidnappers. And sprinkled through the events of Naomi’s new life there are sections from her mother’s point of view showing the reader how her parents are dealing with their only daughter’s disappearance. The changing points of view flowed nicely and often came at a moment where Naomi remembered or thought about her past. I found it interesting that the author chose classic books as a way to link Naomi and her mother (as well one of her kidnappers, Jesse). One book in particular is mentioned and used as a parallel to Naomi’s struggle and feelings about her life.

3) Setting: The book takes place over the course of a year and a half, set in modern day. It has a realistic setting involving houses, offices, streets, a beach, and an ill-fated parking lot. I thought the descriptions were good and simple. I also liked how the months of the year and changing of the seasons played an important role in the story.

4) Psychology: This book is filled with psychological issues such as abuse/abusive relationships, parent/child relationships, attachment, right vs. wrong, and Stockholm syndrome. Naomi’s memories of her parents and life before the kidnapping begin to surface during her captivity, making her reevaluate her situation, personality, outlook, and life. She truly wonders if staying with her new “family” of kidnappers is better than her absent and distant parents. She questions the moral issues of right and wrong, even feeling guilty for thinking of wanting to escape. The reader also sees how abusive relationships and experiences can impact the characters and develop how they act/react in life. Submissive and dominant behaviors also play into the story as Naomi deals with her captors.

Definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy emotionally-filled suspense novels, gritty and psychological themes, and complex characters.

Meet the Author...

"Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.

A Little More Info
Michelle graduated from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor's Degree in English/Creative Writing in 2002. Her short fiction has been published in the University of New Mexico's national literary journal, Scribendi (2002), the Rose & Thorn Journal (2010), Suspense Magazine (June 2011), Stories for Sendai Anthology (2011), and Vine Leaves (January 2012). She served as the editor-in-chief of Utah Valley University's literary magazine and has won awards for her short stories. She is also an editor/publisher of “The Literary Lab Presents…” series of anthologies.

Michelle likes peanut butter and tomato sandwiches. And cheese. Lots and lots of good cheese." (via author website)

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(Elvish Farewell)

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