Dear Ms. Webber:
I had real reservations about this book. The trend toward Alt point of view stories is not my favorite as I like to have been told the whole story in one sitting. However, Easy was one of my favorite books in 2012 and when I was sent Breakable, I had to read it but I did so with great trepidation. Would Breakable ruin my Easy experience and memory? The answer I can give you is no.
The answer to the other question “whether an Easy fan should read this” is I don’t know. I don’t think that you have to read Easy to understand and follow Breakable. It is a whole story, but this one focuses on the male character. Easy is Jacqueline’s story and not just a romance but a tale of sisterhood. Breakable, on the other hand, is the story of how one boy turned into a man and his rocky path to responsible adulthood.
(The following will contain some spoilers for Easy. Please proceed at your own risk).
Landon Lucas Maxfield’s arty mother was the perfect balance for his more uptight banker father. They lived in Alexandria, Virginia and Landon enjoyed a normal, privilege life. Until one day an intruder comes and takes his mother away. Having lost the love of his life, Landon’s father checks out, quits his job and moves the two of them to Landon’s grandfather’s house.
Landon is emotionally an orphan, left by his mother and abandoned by his father. He moves into a small closet as his bedroom and starts at a new school wearing ill fitting clothes, bracelets to cover wrist scars, and too long hair to hide his eyes. He quickly learns that fighting is an effective of a drug as the alcohol he imbibes all too frequently.
He tries very hard not to care about anything. The telling of Lucas story is in flashbacks between the man he’s becoming and the boy he was. The recounting of how he met Jacqueline, what he sees in her, how he becomes enmeshed in his big lie isn’t half as interesting as his young friendship with the seemingly callow Boyce and the brainy Pearl because all that stuff was new to me.
In college, Landon becomes Lucas. Lucas is the evolution of Landon–a boy who has made a concerted effort to live up to the man that his mom would want him to be. As Landon, he sees a girl in the economics class he tutors and becomes intrigued by her. Casual interest turns to longing and Landon seeks out ways to be placed in Jacqueline’s path. You revisit favorite scenes such as the telephone number inside the coffee shop or just how he appeared to save her at a party.
Because my focus was on Landon/Lucas, Jacqueline didn’t seem as fully realized as she was in Easy. Some of that, I think, is my own fault. I was more anxious to find out what happened next to Lucas as he was maturing because I already knew how the romance between the two developed.
I hadn’t re-read Easy for some time so while the scenes were familiar, I didn’t always remember the exact dialogue exchanges. When I finished the story, I concluded that a reader could choose to read the love story of Lucas and Jacqueline in two ways. The first way is a book about sisterhood and female empowerment. The second way is a coming of age story of a slightly broken boy–how he evolved from a tattooed, pierced bad boy to the upright, hardworking, endearing man.
Neither way is wrong, just a matter of perspective as to which story a reader would prefer. Die hard Easy fans won’t want to miss this but newcomers could be totally satisfied reading Breakable by itself. B