Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Breakaway by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Note: This review turned out more negative than I intended, so let me just say--before I get to the review--that I rate the book 3 out of 5 stars.
The Breakaway
by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Summary: 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.
This book wasn't terrible, but it didn't live up to my expectations. To explain my thoughts on this book properly, I need to explain those expectations and the root of them.

I loved Stolen by Lucy Christopher. It's a book about a teenager girl who gets kidnapped. The writing was lovely, the book was really raw and emotionally draining (in a good way, because it meant I was really connecting to the story) and it made me understand Stockholm Syndrome in a way I didn't before. I read the book a few years ago now and it has still stuck with me.

I went into this book wanting to read another book like that but this one couldn't quite measure up to those expectations (and, I finished reading it a few days ago and now I barely even remember the character names, so it's obviously not going to stick with me the way Stolen did). I don't know if those expectations and comparisons kind of ruined this book for me, but I definitely think they had an impact.

The writing, while not terrible, wasn't great. It didn't stand out to me. I didn't really like the first part of the book, the second half was better, and the ending - I dunno, I'm on the fence with the ending.

The way the whole kidnapping plot thing happened, it just - didn't work for me. Too much of it didn't make sense. I can't go into all the reasons for that without giving spoilers, but something about it just didn't add up...their motives didn't make sense (and I really, really want to explain more on that but...spoilers).

Naomi was a frustrating character most of the time. And the way her home life was written, it didn't seem...genuine? It seemed more like an obvious plot device, deliberately added in there because it was more convenient and easier than having to work to show why she'd stay when she had something to go back to. That may not have been the writers intention, and other readers may not agree with that (I don't know), but that's how it felt to me most of the time while reading.

I don't think the book showed Stockholm Syndrome well at all, but I can't really think of how to explain where I felt it went wrong with that, without explaining how I think Stolen got it right and I think I've talked about Stolen a bit much in this review already, so I won't.

And then there's the romance, it's like the characters and the readers aren't supposed to acknowledge that she was probably suffering from SS. I don't know if the writer intended it that way, but the way the book ends, the way it was felt like it was supposed to be a genuine romance between them. I don't know, something about that part just wasn't sitting well with me either.

So much of the plot felt more like it was trying to emotionally manipulate the reader - the tragic pasts of the kidnappers to make us feel sorry for them, the crappy home life of Naomi to make us accept her actions and feelings, her crappy relationship to make Jesse seem like such a catch in comparison...just...all of it. It kept me hooked, but it didn't feel realistic - it felt more like the way a kidnapping in a soap opera would go down.

This review is seeming really negative, but I honestly don't think it was a bad book. It was entertaining and I do think the majority of my disappointment is down to the fact that I went into it wanting another book like Stolen (as far as subject matter goes, it was, but when it comes to execution, it was a major let down).
I'd rate the book 3 stars out of 5. It kept me hooked and it did have its rare moments where it got under my skin but if you're wanting a book about kidnapping, I'd recommend Stolen instead. But, there seems to be a lot of 5 star reviews on goodreads, so don't let my review put you off checking this one out.

I just looked the book up (for the cover and summary) and apparently this is the first in a series. Not sure how I feel about that really, but I will probably check the sequel out anyway.


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