Thursday, July 25, 2013

Breaking Glass (review)

If you'd like a version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - YA style, then Breaking Glass, by Lisa Amowitz, is for you. It's not set in Sweden, but it is about a missing girl and complex relationships. Instead of computer hacker goth girl Lisbeth, Susannah is curvy and bronzy and an artist/videographer. Though she's missing,  we get to know her through a series of expertly crafted flashbacks. 

Then there's Jeremy, who is down on his luck (way, way down on his luck) like Mikael Blomkvist and determined to solve the mystery of the missing Susannah. And you've got some really dark history in this story like with the Vanger family in Sweden. 

Susannah's YouTube stop-animation videos are a fascinating touch, and Susannah herself, she's such a vivid character even though she's missing for most of the book (kind of reminds of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca). But is she missing or is she dead? And if she's dead, as her videos imply, how is she able to send messages to Jeremy from beyond the grave? Wow, this book had some wild elements to it, and some great twists. None of which I can really share, because it would ruin the surprises. 

There are two things that aren't hinted at in the book blurb that are worth knowing and we find these out in the first 50 pages so I think it's okay to bring them up here without hiding them behind spoilers. But first I'm going to share my favorite quotes here, to share a taste of the writing style. Scroll down past the quotes if you want to find out what issues the book deals with. 

Here's a taste of Susannah:
She glanced at me and smiled a darkly shy cat smile, as if she knew she'd just taken permanent possession of my soul.
Love this description:
Dad gives me his sorrowful one-cornered smile, as if there's a tax on using both sides of his mouth. Or maybe they don't work in tandem.
Another impressive description:
...the floor is slanting beneath me, pain peeling away my vision in strips of hot black
One of things I loved about Jeremy is that he's a history buff. Artists are fairly common in YA lit (though Susannah's stop-animation is new to me), but I'm not sure if I've run into a history buff before, and I loved it (his friends bring him the complete set of Ken Burn's Civil War series while he's recovering). 
No one tells a history freak he can't dig up the past.
Marisa is another character worth mentioning; I liked how she developed into the story.

Now, here's the stuff that's borderline spoiler:





Jeremy is in a accident and his leg is so badly damaged that after 3 weeks the doctors decide to amputate it. This, no surprise, drastically worsens Jeremy's alcoholism. At times I felt like Jeremy's severe depression as he deals with these things would drag me down, too, but he's driven (almost saved, in a way) by his determination to solve the mystery of Susannah's disappearance (there's also some interesting manipulation that goes on). Anyway, the few times I was tempted to set the novel aside for a while because it was too depressing, I'm glad I didn't, because these issues were dealt with realistically (I believe) and in an eye-opening way.

 I imagine a teenage boy - a track star, no less - would be suicidal after losing a leg, and Jeremy borders on this for a long time, but the story follows him through different stages of depression and recovery without being too heavy-handed - and it's hard to deal with a heavy subject without getting heavy-handed. So kudos to Breaking Glass for pulling this off. 

I was provided a copy of Breaking Glass by Spencer Hill Press for my honest review.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds interesting, I'll have to look it up.

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  2. Oh my, that description of Dad's smile? Brilliant! I think I saw the cover reveal on this one, and I'm thinking it might go on the list.

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  3. Is Jeremy Susannah's beau or a good friend? Poor Jeremy though - but looks like finding Susannah saves him! Mind you you can't get any darker than the Vanger family skeletons - that was pretty horrific stuff! Take care
    x

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  4. Interesting! I'll have to check this one out. Thanks for the rec.

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  5. Okay, Margo. Since our tastes are so freakishly alike, I have to read this. *reaches for Kindle*

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  6. Oooo, sounds intriguing! I know just who to recommend this to!

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