Everything Breaks by Vicki Grove Review

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Title: Everything Breaks
Author: Vicki Grove
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publish Date: October 3, 2013
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher

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.


  1. I find it hardest to write a review for the 3 star books. It's like you didn't love it and didn't really hate it, it was just "okay" so it's much harder to come up with any enthusiasm when writing about it. Sometimes it is hard to figure what didn't work in a book like this. Technically speaking, it ticks all the right boxes so it's really hard to pinpoint the reason it didn't have the "wow" factor. Wonderful review, Melissa! :)

  2. I know exactly what you mean about struggling to pinpoint where certain books falter. I think just the fact that this one failed to really impress and make a mark speaks for itself, so I know I'll be skipping it too. Thanks for the honest review, Melissa!

  3. Everything Breaks sounds heartBREAKING *snigger* Anyway. It sucks when books become over fetched because then it's just as bad as a book lacking detail and plot line.

    Brilliant review, Melissa! <33

  4. This sounds really sad. I'm not so good with sad books, especially when they're not stellar-standouts. Bud sounds like a great character, however!

  5. Does that dog have glowing red eyes? That's a little creepy, reminds me of the dogs that scarred me for life in Ghostbusters:) I love that the characters in this one are so tangible and well done, that's a huge highlight, but it's a shame we get a lot of detail in all the wrong places. You know I love my explanations for things, and I think that would the case even more so given the setup of this story. Not sure this is the book for me, but beautiful review as usual!

  6. Hmm...
    I've been curious about this book for some time now and it sounded really amazing. From your review, it seems that the book does deliver up to an extent though.
    I love that the main character is well-fleshed out and there's a lot of character development. On the other hand, the too much details would frustrate me too especially if I can't get what the author wants to show.
    Thank you for the lovely honest review, Melissa.

  7. Everything Breaks does sound like a book with an interesting premise Melissa, I think I would be interested to see what decision Tucker decides to make, but I think the complexity of the story probably wouldn't work for me. Thank you for another great review!

  8. I always question writing a three star review. Like someone else said, you didn't love it, but you didn't hate it, either. It's difficult to articulate thoughts for a three star review, but you've done a good job. Pacing is hugely important in novels, especially stories that are weighed down with sad events like this one is. It sounds like a little more polishing would have made this book four or five stars.

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