Staying in love can mean running away...
Two years after watching her kidnappers go to prison, Naomi Jensen is still in love with one of them. Jesse will be released in a few years, and Naomi knows college is the perfect distraction while she waits. But when her new friend Finn makes her question what is right and what is wrong, she begins to wonder if Jesse is the one for her...until she discovers he's out on parole. Naomi must sort through her confusion to figure out where love and freedom truly lie-in Finn, who has no connections to her past, or Jesse, who has just asked her to run away with him.
*A note about Pieces: although it follows the continuation of Naomi's story, it is more of a companion than a sequel and can be read without reading The Breakaway.
When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, it takes her parents two days to realize she's missing. Escape isn't high on her list of priorities when all she has to return to is an abusive boyfriend and parents who never paid much attention to her. For the first time in her life she's part of a family-even if it is a family of criminals. But she's still a captive. In a desperate attempt to regain some control in her life, Naomi embarks on a dangerous plan to make one of her kidnappers think she's falling in love with him. The plan works too well, and when faced with the chance to escape, Naomi isn't sure she wants to take it.
The Breakaway was a haunting–and yet compelling–read. It's the kind of book that creeps up on you months after you turn the last page. It definitely deals with some tough, unconventional stuff, but everything is handled so well. I really did like it, despite its flaws and the fact that it gave me the creeps.
Naomi isn't a very strong character, and she's extremely difficult to relate to. She's lulled into a new life so easily with her kidnappers, and she believes her parents don't love her, much like any teenager. She has extremely questionable decision-making skills. I just couldn't connect to her or her voice. Her thought processes also didn't make much sense to me and she was kind of annoying.
THE LOVE INTEREST
I don't like Jesse. I don't care that he's not really a bad guy, he's still a freaking kidnapper. He also kind of just goes along with everything for the longest time, making him kind of a pushover. He didn't appeal to me as a character at all, and while I think he's redeemable I don't think he redeemed himself. He made a lot of bad choices and while I think he can make them up it's going to take a lot more than what he did.
THE OTHER KIDNAPPERS
I did leave out Steve because there's really not much to say about him
I truly, truly do not understand how Naomi can care for Eric. Yeah, Stockholm can be strong stuff, I'm sure. But he threatened to kill her. And he got out a gun, and he was going to, and she still cares for him. As far as I'm concerned he's a sociopath and should be locked up for life.
Evelyn was sweet and genuinely caring, but she was also a major pushover. She got caught up in Eric's messes but instead of leaving him to it she decided to just go along with it. I think she might be redeemable too, but that's not a story for us to know.
It starts right off with the action, launching straight into the kidnapping itself. But especially in the beginning, there are tons of flashbacks. And Naomi starts to wonder which life is better. The one in which she lives now, kidnapped, or the one before? That seems like an easy question. But Naomi feels like she has nothing to return to.
Naomi's kidnappers want to make her feel at home so that she doesn't want to leave. And eventually, it begins to work. There's irony in the way it all ends, and the story certainly took directions that I didn't expect multiple times.
The Breakaway was a bit predictable, but not so much that it got overly frustrating. I knew how it was going to ultimately end, but the path it took to get there is not one I expected. I was pleased by the way everything turned out and though Naomi did a lot of things that were really dumb I tried not to pass too much judgment.
This is very different from things I've read before. Kidnapping is not a common theme in my favorite books, but I really enjoyed this book and want to read more like it now.
I'm not there's any way to not find this romance rather disturbing. It's classic Stockholm syndrome, and Naomi certainly has that. She finds herself feeling connected to Jesse even as she knows how wrong it is. And I can't say I blame her. I also hesitate to call it love. I think she might be in love with the idea of him, a savior. And I think he truly cares about her. But it's just not enough.
I really like this writing style, but Naomi's voice is so weak that I really couldn't enjoy it the way I wanted to. Michelle's writing is simple, and it tells things as they are. It worked for the story, but there were way too many times where Naomi thinks to herself and it just really got on my nerves. Even so, I love the way she describes things in such vivid detail.
The Breakaway ended on a very open note, leaving the reader not sure what was going to happen next but without being an actual cliffhanger. Naomi is going to have a lot of developing to do as a person, and her kidnappers are going to have to face the consequences of their actions. All in all, it was a satisfying ending.
The Breakaway was a very heavy read, but it was very enjoyable. I really, really liked it and am definitely going to read Bonded at some point, since it looks similar but I hear that it's even better. I would recommend this to most readers. It's not light reading material by any means, but sometimes you need something with substance.
There were always dragons, but never as dark as the ones before her now. She stood in a burning valley so hot that ash fell from the sky like slow-drifting snow. The dragons had started the fire, their scales blackened, skin peeling, their eyes hard as diamonds. She watched four of them land in front of her. Thick smoke curled to the darkening sky.
“I want to leave!” she screamed, but their only response was to open their mouths and breathe flames at her. She didn’t feel the pain, but when the fire cleared and she held out her arms to see the damage, she saw her skin was like dragon skin—black and peeling in jagged pieces. Falling to her knees, she grabbed a handful of dirt and threw it at the dragons. Their mouths turned up in sneers, showing their pointed, blood-stained teeth.
You read too many fantasy novels, she could hear Jesse’s voice in the back of her head.
They don’t love you, her mother said.
Remember why you fell in love with him.
She stopped at the memory of that last set of words, trying to remember who had said them to her. The dragons moved closer, and then she remembered it was Finn who had said the words. She saw the saltshaker on the table as he pushed it around in circles.
With a start, she sat up in bed, realizing all the journal entries were still fresh in her mind. She had finished reading them hours ago and then stumbled into the bedroom to find Jesse already asleep. She had crawled in with him and drifted off, but the nightmares made her toss and turn. Jesse stirred beside her now, his toned arms reaching out for her. Morning sunlight fell across the bed.
“You alright?” he asked, pulling her close.
“I think so.” Lying back down, she snuggled into him. He smelled like spicy soap from his shower earlier. She took in a deep breath, savoring the feel of him holding her.
Remember why you fell in love with him.
Shut up, Finn!
She wanted to scream the words into the silent bedroom, but couldn’t. She loved Jesse because he loved her. It was that simple. He sacrificed things for her. He wanted to make her happy, and she wanted the same for him. She had left everything to be with him.
A knock on the front door made Naomi jump. It frightened her to think of who might knock on their door so early in the morning. Jesse stirred again, mumbling something she couldn’t understand.
“You want me to get it?” she asked, almost afraid to wake him.
Groaning, he sat up and blinked. His hair had dried in spikes. “Where the hell is my phone?” he asked. “Why are the curtains wide open?”
He was always cranky when he was woken up too early. “I wanted to look at the stars as I fell asleep.”
Turning to her, he blinked again. The sun made his green eyes pale. “How did that go, then? Last night? Did you read it all?”
She looked away. “I was so tired I’m not sure how much of it stuck.”
“It’s all in your head now. You can start sorting through it and face it all.”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
Another series of knocks. Jesse cursed and got out of bed. He was in his boxer shorts, and pulled on a pair of sweats before grabbing his phone off the dresser. He walked out of the bedroom. Curious, Naomi slipped out of bed and peeked down the hallway as Jesse looked through the peephole. She asked herself if she cared that he had lied to her about his parole, that he was a fugitive. Did it matter? Her stomach clenched.
“What is it?” Jesse asked, opening the door a crack. His body blocked her view of whoever was on the other side. There was an answer. A man’s voice. A shudder went down Naomi’s spine.
“No,” Jesse said, “she’s here.”
Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.
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