Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Childrens for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: Charlotte has always been content in the shadow of her two best friends at the prestigious Underhill Preparatory Institute. Ariel is daring and mysterious. Devon is beautiful and brilliant. Without Charlotte never lived up to the standards of the school–or her demanding mother–her two best friends became the family she never had. When Ariel and Devon suddenly commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte refuses to accept it as coincidence. But as the clues point to a dangerous secret at Underhill Prep, Charlotte is suddenly in over her head. There’s a reason the students of Underhill are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth…
Breaking is the “companion book” to Burning, which means that technically you could read this as a standalone, but I personally think you’ll get more out of it if you read the books in order.
Breaking has more mystery to it than the previous book, as it opens with the main character, Charlotte, dealing with her two best friend’s suicides only a month apart. She discovers that one of them has left a clue behind, and she determinedly sets out to find out what really happened. None of the characters are very likable. There are flashbacks to when Ari and Devon were still alive, and they both gave off that stereotypical “mean girl” vibe, with Charlotte being the follower. But, there’s a twist near the end of the book which gives a creative twist to this trope which is why I changed my mind about the 2 star rating I was considering giving this. I had mixed feelings about Charlotte. She came across as self-pitying and insecure throughout much of the book, but the more you find out about the relationship she has with her mother, the more understandable this is. And, as the story progressed, she did get stronger. There’s a big build-up to the romance that develops between Charlotte and Jack, but for me, there wasn’t enough chemistry between them.
The plot itself is interesting and kept me guessing for the majority of the story. It’s the last 100 or so pages though, where things get truly exciting and the events from Burning are tied into what’s been happening here.
Overall, I though Breaking was an okay sequel that could have used more character development. The ending leaves no doubt that there’ll be a third book, and I’m interested in how things will turn out. Because of the darker themes and some brutally graphic scenes, I’d recommend this for older teens who are looking for contemporary fiction with a hint of the supernatural.