Reviewed by Helyce
Note: If rape is a trigger of any kind for you, this may not be a story for you.
Last year I fell into the New Adult craze and when Easy was all over Twitter and Goodreads I read it and really liked it. So when Breakable came to my attention I had to read it. It was only after the book was in my possession that I realized that Breakable was actually the same story as Easy, but from the hero’s perspective. My initial reaction to this was not a positive one; I didn’t want to read the same story again. But while the characters and setting are familiar, this is no do-over.
Landon Lucas Maxfield notices Jacqueline Wallace when she walks into the Economics class that he TAs and tutors for. There’s something about her that intrigues him, but she’s on the arm of Kennedy Moore, her long time boyfriend. When they break up, just a few weeks into the semester she stops coming to class and when she misses a mid-term, Lucas, as the TA for the class, sends her an email to make sure she understands that if she doesn’t drop the class, she’ll get an F for it. Next class, he sees her talking to the professor who tells her to get in touch with his tutor, Landon, for help in getting caught up.
When Lucas ‘hears’ that Jacqueline will be at some frat party on campus he goes too-just to watch her from afar. He knows the rules-tutors and their students are not allowed to date, but he just can’t seem to stay away. When he sees her leave, he follows her and when he hears her scream, he’s right there to break up what could have been a horrifying event.
This is when things get really sticky for Landon/Lucas as he finds himself in a huge conundrum. Landon, gets to know Jacqueline via email as he helps her out with her studies while Lucas gets to flirt with her in person when he sees her on campus and at the coffee shop he works at. He agonizes over telling her the truth, but as Lucas slowly starts to gain Jacqueline’s trust, it gets harder and harder to tell her.
In Breakable, Ms. Webber effortlessly moves back and forth between the past and present as she shows us Landon/Lucas as a young teen whose life is forever changed when his mother dies and his father falls apart. We see Landon struggle and flounder through his teenaged years as he makes some really poor choices. I’m not a huge fan of this mode of writing where we jump back and forth, but this author does it so well. When we’re in the past with Landon, you feel every bit of the pain he’s suffered due to the loss of his mother. You watch and feel him change from the happy-go-lucky child to the lonely teen who struggles to find his place. He’s quick to anger and fighting becomes second nature to him. In high school, he befriends his one time nemesis, Boyce Wynn, and oddly, their relationship becomes a true and lasting friendship. While a lot is unspoken between them, they seem to sense what the other needs. There is an especially poignant scene where Boyce suggests to Landon that he could get tattoos to cover up whatever he was hiding under his wrist bands. When Landon decides to cover the scars on his wrists, the scene with the tattoo artist is one of my favorites as I could just see her words impacting Landon as one of the first steps to taking back his life. She shares:
“Some of us can begin to heal the damage people have done to us by escaping the situation, but some of us need more than that. Tattoos make statements that need to be made. Or hide things that are no one’s business. Your scars are battle wounds, but you don’t see them that way. Yet.” She pumped the machine back to life with her foot.
I felt the burning prick of the needle as she began another link. “This ink will make your skin yours again. Maybe someday, you’ll see that your skin isn’t you. It’s just what houses you while you’re here.” She paused as a roll of chills ran over me. “You’re an old soul, Landon. Old enough to make this decision. Just like I was.”
The pacing and timing of each important moment and lesson that Landon/Lucas goes through in this story is expertly revealed. I worried through 75% of this book about the scars on his wrists until I learned the details and while I was extremely saddened, I was also relieved. The details of Landon’s mother death are mostly inferred though it is clear that he carries the guilt and blame he places on himself throughout his teen years and into adulthood. It all comes full circle when he meets Jacqueline, she suffers her incident along with another girl who was not so lucky and Lucas’s eyes are opened to the fact that he was just a child and really and truly not at fault for what happened to his mother.
Breakable, while dealing with the sensitive subject of rape and it’s aftermath, is a lovely coming of age story. I hope the author has plans to develop some of the secondary characters because I would love to see Boyce Wynn get a book.