Friday, November 8, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Breakable by Aimee L. Salter

Bullying is certainly not new. However, awareness of the problem has been raised in recent years, particularly as the pervasiveness of social media has made cyber-bullying an increasing threat with the power to devastate young lives. So it is no surprise that YA contemporary fiction is reflecting today’s world with novels centered on teen protagonists who must deal with bullies.

Breakable, a new release by Aimee L. Salter, is a compelling story about seventeen-year-old Stacy, who has been bullied for years by a clique of fellow students who used to be her friends. The daily torment escalates when Stacy’s one remaining friend, a boy named Mark, begins to date one of the worst of the bullies, a nasty scheming girl named Karyn. Karyn is able to hide her true personality from Mark, who is blinded by her pretty face and popularity.

Stacy has been quite desperately in love with Mark for a long while. It’s difficult enough that he just sees her as a friend, but when he starts going out with Karyn, it’s more than Stacy can take. Karyn and the rest of the crew are all too aware of Stacy’s feelings and use this as additional ammunition against her.

There is one more person in Stacy’s corner. For years, Stacy has been communicating with her future self, "Older Me," whom she can see in mirrors. Stacy relies on "Older Me" to guide her through the impending crisis, but as the bullying spirals out of control, even her future self seems to fail her.

Breakable is a fast-paced read with memorable characters. Salter is able to get inside Stacy’s head to show both the emotional frailty and the resilience of a teenager who has been victimized for years but who retains the capacity for a strong and generous love. It’s a heart-wrenching tale of a girl in crisis and a powerful book about the long-lasting effects of bullying.