Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: BREAKING NOVA by Jessica Sorensen

BREAKING NOVA by Jessica Sorensen

Author's: Goodreads   Website    Twitter   Facebook

ARC received from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. 

Pub Date: September 3, 2013

Dannie says: Now THAT'S what I call New Adult Contemporary!

Nova Reed used to have dreams-of becoming a famous drummer, of marrying her true love. But all of that was taken away in an instant. Now she's getting by as best she can, though sometimes that means doing things the old Nova would never do. Things that are slowly eating away at her spirit. Every day blends into the next . . . until she meets Quinton Carter. His intense, honey brown eyes instantly draw her in, and he looks just about as broken as she feels inside.

Quinton once got a second chance at life-but he doesn't want it. The tattoos on his chest are a constant reminder of what he's done, what he's lost. He's sworn to never allow happiness into his life . . . but then beautiful, sweet Nova makes him smile. He knows he's too damaged to get close to her, yet she's the only one who can make him feel alive again. Quinton will have to decide: does he deserve to start over? Or should he pay for his past forever?

What I Liked

The characters. I never fell in love with either of the MCs, so I can't really claim them as a love, but I did like them and want to read their stories. I found them to be very authentic of addicts and trauma survivors, so I guess they're a strong like bordering on love.

The raw, rich emotions. This is a tough read. It's a real read, but a tough one. So, yeah, it's my sort of book. I think it may be triggering for certain readers--those dealing with addictions primarily, but also readers who have experienced depression. Out of concern for those readers, the emotional arc of this book is a like rather than a love, because I think a little more hope--even if only in one of the secondary characters--would have balanced out the story arc as well as eliminate my concern that this book should come with all sorts of resource links. 

What I Loved

The authenticity. I'm wondering how this will play to the target audience, but as a substance abuse counselor and prevention advocate, I felt like this book was a pretty stellar argument about the addictive properties of marijuana that a lot of our culture is trying to ignore. The details, emotions, and thoughts in this book ring very true with my clients' experiences and I think a lot of teens who have felt the sort of grief and loss and trauma Nova and Quintin have will find them real and relatable. 

The hook and plot. I usually hate prologues, but in this case I felt like it was necessary and it worked. I was hooked from the end of the first scene and the prologue was so well-executed.

The rich, real setting details. Whether the author spent a minute or two in dens herself or thoroughly did her research, the places and things detailed add wicked authenticity to this read for me. I'm pretty critical when it comes to this sort of stuff--because I've seen a den or ten and know plenty of kids who grew up too fast there. A critical teen who wants to nitpick on how real the story is will have a hard time scratching apart this one.

The writing overall. I've read all of Sorensen's books to date and this one is far and away my favorite. Part of that is the content--this is the kind of stuff I write so it's also what I like to read (and usually pick apart but there wasn't much to do here). But plotwise and description wise I just felt like this book is her best yet. And I am itching to get my hands on the sequel ASAP!

What I Wanted More Of

Closure at the end. I'm not a big fan of cliffhanger endings, even in series. For me, I'm left feeling cheated out of a complete story arc, and I definitely felt like that in these pages. The teaser for book two at the end did NOT help at all! 

Faster pace. It's a tough balance--writing a book about depressed teens, struggling to keep their heads above water without feeling depressed and like you're drowning along with them as a reader. For me, the pace fell a little short, but I'm not sure all readers will agree. 

Short story long, this is a great read--albeit possibly triggering--and I cannot wait to see what happens next! Add it to GoodReads and order via these links! 

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