04 May 2012

The Breakaway by Michelle Davidson Argyle

May 2012, Rhemalda Publishing
320 pages, Paperback & eBook
Review copy

Young adult contemporary suspence
kissing, closed-curtain sex

Summary from Rhemalda:

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.

Amy's Thoughts:

I had the privilege of reading this book in draft form many years ago, and I had the most wonderful experience when I read the completed version recently. You know how you tend to remember books you like holistically, as general impressions of what was good, and so on? And sometimes, when you pick them up again years later, they're not quite as good as you remember, and you realise you'd forgotten all the flaws. But sometimes, you pick them up, and they are exactly as great as you remembered. That's how I felt about The Breakaway. I know it's changed since the early-ish draft I read, and I can even point to the places where it's changed - but the overall story, the essence of the book, is exactly how I remembered it, and it's wonderful.

Michelle explores an issue not often explored in YA literature - Stockholm Syndrome - and does so thoughtfully and sensitively. The MC Naomi grows up in the course of this novel, and I love how real her journey is; she isn't some fictional hero full of verve and courage and strength, she's just an ordinary girl - and I mean a real ordinary girl, not as in "Oh look at me, I'm so ordinary and average, even though really I have no flaws at all and am actually just a Mary Sue, written so that you can fill my blanks in with your own personality and pretend you are me." I'm not a fan of that kind of story; can you tell? O:)

For all that this is categorised as suspense, it is, like much of Michelle's writing, a very quiet sort of suspense. It's not a high-pace heart-pounder; it's thoughtful, and intelligent, and the suspense is elegantly done, revolving around Naomi's mental state and decision making rather than chases and physical danger. If you like real MCs who have real, mixed up emotions and can't always bring themselves to be strong, and if you like intelligent stories about intelligent people, and if you like thoughtful stories about real issues - with a smattering of romance, of course - then this is very much the book for you.

Final Conclusion:
This is a smooth, effortless read and a really interesting exploration of a topic that doesn't see much attention in YA usually - a fantastic book.

You can pick up a copy of The Breakaway at Amazon or from the publisher's website. Find Michelle Davidson Argyle on her website, and view the trailer for The Breakaway here.

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.

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