Sarah's Stars

Jill Murray. Break on Through
Doubleday Canada $14.95 ISBN 978-0-385-66490-5  292 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 14

Bill reached into his attaché case and handed me a glossy folder with a picture of a house on it. The house had a name: the Wood Dove. It was a big grey thing with two storeys and a yard and more space between it and the next house than between our building and the high-rise next door. Something dropped right through me from my chest to my feet.

"It's in Rivercrest!" my mom practically screamed.

My dad beamed. I waited for the punchline. Rivercrest is like a hundred years away from Parkdale. The subway doesn't go there. The LRT doesn't go there. The bus after the LRT after the subway doesn't even go there. My hands started to shake and my chest clamped up.

"If this is a joke, it isn't funny."

Nadine's life centers on breakdancing. Her only friends consist of her crew, Tha Rackit Klub, not to mention her boyfriend Sean. She was a little annoyed when her parents didn't approve of her passions and she's not too excited about the idea of a new baby sister. But her world begins to crash down around her when her parents announce they are moving out of Toronto to Riverdale, a preppy town in the middle of nowhere. Angry and rebellious, Nadine struggles in her new home as her parents try to get her to make new friends, get better grades and stop dancing. But breaking is the one thing that will carry Nadine through, all the way to the top: the Hogtown Showdown, a huge breakdancing battle. But when Sean and Nadine break up and he kicks her out of the crew, fulfilling her dream will be a lot harder. But what if she started her own crew of b-girls?

Break on Through is an interesting and compulsively readable book because its characters are all three-dimensional and alive. Nadine's situation is easy to relate to and in a lot of stories of being the new girl in school or getting a new baby sibling, the whole thing can easily turn cheesy and clichéd but Nadine's story is original and real. The cast of characters is well rounded and although some parts are a little unbelievable (A huge brawl in the middle of gym class and the only person blamed is Nadine) most of the story is enjoyable and makes for a great read. I liked most of the breakdancing scenes but I think to really grasp the meaning of a lot of the steps, a glossary at the back of the book would have been really helpful. I know what a flare, a windmill and a 6-step are now, but only because I Googled them. Overall though, I think Jill Murray has created a hip, contemporary story that will be a smooth read for anyone over the age of 13, even if they aren't a b-boy/girl. There were a few language issues but nothing out of the ordinary for a teen fiction book. I ploughed through Break on Through rather quickly and I really hope I will get to read a sequel in the future. 

I give Break on Through four stars. 


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