Break to You

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. Jul. 2024. 432p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062875761.
Gr 8 Up–Adriana has no idea how she ended up at the Compass Juvenile Detention Center. Sure, she’s made some bad choices and associated with the wrong people, but she never did anything illegal herself. When she helps the wrong friend at the wrong time, she’s left holding the bag and sentenced to seven months in juvie. She’s just biding her time, dreading the awkward visits from her family, and trying to stay out of trouble until she loses her journal and it mysteriously reappears with notes from a stranger. Jon knows exactly why he is at Compass, but no one else knows the truth but his counselor. Rumors abound about what crime landed him in the detention center for his entire high school career. When he finds an uncatalogued book in the library and discovers it is an illicit journal from an inmate on the girl’s side, he can’t help but share his critique with the author. This modern-day Romeo & Juliet story is told through alternating viewpoints, letters, and poems. Instead of family obligations keeping them apart, Jon and Adriana are separated by bad choices and an unjust system. The mystery of what Jon did to deserve his stay at the facility, and the truth, will break readers’ hearts.
VERDICT Hand this book to readers who enjoy emotionally raw, true-to-life stories like Saints of the Household by Ari Tison or Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds.

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