Breaking by Danielle Rollins

Received from NetGalley for review. 

3.5 stars

Breaking, a sequel/companion to Burning, has all the makings of a paranormal thriller – strange suicides of two best friends, freakishly talented teens, secret serums – but I have to admit I didn’t find it quite as compelling as Burning. It opens with Charlotte, a teenager at Weston Preparatory Institute, whose two best friends (Ariel and Devon) commit suicide within weeks of each other. We are immediately set up with the mystery of why two mostly stable people would suddenly kill themselves, especially when Charlotte finds something unusual left for her by Ariel. It’s obvious something strange is going on, especially when we learn that Charlotte’s mother is Dr. Gruen from Burning.

Although I enjoyed Breaking, I think the links to Burning were a bit too obvious; I figured out the links between the two stories fairly early on, which made the reveals within the story a little anticlimactic. I also found Charlotte to be an underwhelming protagonist; she comes across as meek and bland, and only seems to have had a personality when she could feed off of Ariel and Devon. I felt like I couldn’t connect with her and think the only reason she wasn’t unbearable is because we learn everything through her as she tries to figure out what really happened to her friends. I am, however, intrigued to see whether this series will be continued as I thin there’s definitely the potential for a final book with an epic showdown.

Overall, this is a strong addition to the young adult genre – it’s a fast-paced, intriguing paranormal mystery, and even though I had it figured out I still enjoyed Charlotte slowly discovering what was happening at Weston, and uncovering the truth behind Ariel and Devon’s suicides. You definitely don’t need to read Burning to enjoy this, and I do wonder if it would actually be a more compelling mystery without reading it.

Read: July 16th-20th 2017

3.5/5 stars

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