Author: Vicki Grove
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publish Date: October 3, 2013
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Tucker was supposed to be the designated driver. But there was something about the beauty of that last true summer night, that made him want to feel out-of-control just once. He drank so much and so quickly that he was instantly sick. That left Trey to drive. "I'll catch up to you later," were the last words Tucker would ever say to his friends as he heaved by the side of the road. It was the last time Tucker would ever see them alive.Tucker’s grief and guilt are just about unbearable and he wonders how he can continue living himself. When he meets the Ferryman who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers that divide the world of the living from the world of the dead, Tucker gets a chance to decide: live or die. The temptation to join his three best friends on the other side may be too much for Tucker to overcome. A gripping, haunting and emotional read.
Tucker plays by the rules. He doesn't really even toe the line, but that one night, he decided to just let it all go - all the stress, all the pain - all of it. In an instant though, his actions (or inability to act) lead to events that nobody could have seen coming, but nevertheless leave him with an unimaginable sense of guilt. As he begins to spiral into a downward hole of depression and anxiety though, he finds that there is an out. He can with his friends...but he'd have to give up everything he has left. Is it worth it?
I was immediately drawn to Everything Breaks because of what is presented as an extremely emotional storyline. Despite added paranormal elements, we're offered a raw, vivid and unimaginable pain in which characters are given the ability to sink or swim. That's my cup of tea; reality. Author, Vicki Grove, has written a dark, grief-ridden tale that will sweep you up in a maelstrom of drama. With overriding themes of love, grief, loss and overcoming tragedy, Everything Breaks offers readers a profound and meaningful story.
I confess that I'm finding it a bit hard to formulate my thoughts on this novel because it seems to me that we're provided some excellent elements of storytelling, while others are left lacking. In regards to the novel's strengths, I must say that the character development is probably the best attribute of all. Tucker is such a tangible character, which makes his grief and pain all the more accessible through the story. From the start, the author paints a clear picture of not only his appearance, but his temperament, his past and the driving force behind all his actions. Furthermore, the secondary characters are also extremely well done. Trey, though he appears only fleetingly, is a powerhouse that drives the fury and whirlwind of action into which we're placed at the very start. Bud, Tucker's step-grandfather, was definitely the highlight for me though. We sense that he's losing it a little bit, but he's got this personality and light about him that keeps us invested in Tucker's journey with Bud. Unfortunately, however, it seemed to me that there was a disconnect in terms of the pacing, descriptiveness and overall plot otherwise. I found that, although Everything Breaks offers readers a ton of detail, none of it really explained what I needed to know or enlightened me as to what was driving the events of the story. I felt that that really affected what could have otherwise been a pretty steadily-paced novel. The plot, too, was almost a little bit too complex because of the lack of detail in the right places. Too often, I found myself thrown off as to how and why we ended up with Tucker and Bud in certain scenarios. I do think that the overall message and theme of the novel, which is clearly and tastefully revealed at the end, saved the novel a bit, but I closed the book feeling as though the resolution which we were offered just didn't feel right.
Overall, I'm still left a bit in the lurch as to why Everything Breaks didn't quite work for me. The author writes well, and the idea behind the story is solid, but I was definitely left wanting. I give it a 3 out of 5, and I recommend it to fans of YA stories, especially those who enjoy paranormal stories and those involving themes of grief and loss.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.