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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Breakaway


Narrators: Nikki Blonsky, Santino Fontana, Jenni Barber, Soneela Nankani, Joy Osmanski

Simon & Schuster Audio

ISBN: 978-1668033425

Publisher: Atria Books

Publication Date: 08/29/2023

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)



From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner comes a warmhearted and empowering new novel about love, family, friendship, secrets, and the power of a trip to change your life.


Thirty-four-year-old Abby Stern has made it to a happy place. True, she still has gig jobs instead of a career, and the apartment where she’s lived since college still looks like she just moved in. But she’s got good friends, she’s got her bike, and her bike club in Philadelphia. She’s at peace with her plus-size body—at least, most of the time—and she’s on track to marry her childhood sweetheart. Abby and Mark met at the weight-loss camp Abby’s perpetually-dieting mother, Eileen, forced her daughter to attend. Fifteen years later, when Abby reconnects with a half-his-size Mark, and finds out that he still adores her, it feels like fate.


Yet Abby can’t escape the feeling that something isn’t right…or the memories of one mind-blowing night spent with a man named Sebastian two years ago. So when Abby gets a last minute call to lead a group bike trip from New York City to Niagara Falls, she’s happy to have time away from Mark, and a chance to make up her mind.


But on the first day, Abby is shocked when she sees a familiar face in the tour group—Sebastian, the one-night stand she never thought she’d see again. As a serial dater who lives a hundred miles away, Sebastian is far from Mr. Perfect, and Abby is determined to keep her distance, even if their chemistry is undeniable. To make things even worse, there’s a last-minute addition to the trip—Abby’s mother, Eileen, whom Abby blames for a lifetime of body shaming and insecurities she’s still trying to undo.


Over the next two weeks, strangers become confidantes, hidden truths come to light, and a teenage girl with a secret will unite all the riders in surprising ways—while all of Abby’s certainties about herself, her mother, and the nature of love are challenged.







My Review


The queen of summer beach reads, Jennifer Weiner (favorite author), returns following The Summer Place and That Summer with THE BREAKAWAY —a moving, heartfelt story of friendships, family, secrets, humor, finding your path in life, and a fun cycling journey to self-discovery.


"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."

—Albert Einstein


Abby Stern, the 33-year-old protagonist, is somewhat lost in her life. Bicycling saved her when she was an overweight child of divorce, forced into attending weight-loss camp every summer by her judgmental mother. Flash-forward 15 years, she is mostly happy. But something is missing.


She is dating Mark, her boyfriend in Philadelphia. They met at a fat camp years ago. (Golden Hills short story) He is a Jewish podiatrist, but there are flaws in their relationship. He does not ride bikes or cycle like she does, and he has lost weight (gastric bypass) and stays on her about her weight constantly.


Philadelphia: It is the summer of 2023, and Abby is nervous and excited about leading a 700-mile bike trip from New York City to Niagara Falls.


2021 New York City. Now, there is the hot guy Sebastian, whom Abby meets at a bar, and they have a one-night stand. He loves sex and food, the same as Abby. She does not think she will ever see him again. Not someone she will forget.


Abby is shocked when she discovers Sebastian turns up as a rider on the bike trip! And another shocker: Abby's fat-shaming mother also turns up! She, too, has secrets.


She meets others along the ride with different POVs. We also meet a pregnant teen with highly charged topics, women's bodies and their lack of choices.


Anything bike or cycling-related I LOVE! As a cyclist for many years, I can appreciate it. As always, Jennifer delivers a thought-provoking read with THE BREAKAWAY with emotional depth. There is romance; however, the vital parts are those involved in finding your path, self-discovery, and second chances.

I adore Jennifer Weiner, a huge fan, and have read all her books! THE BREAKAWAY is a perfect summer/fall read. Avid cyclists such as myself will devour. I love the cover and the title. #CoverLove


Thanks to Atria for a gifted ARC via NetGalley for an honest opinion.


@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Aug 29, 2023

My Rating: 5 Stars

Aug 2023 Must-Read Books



ON A PERSONAL NOTE:

Gosh, I loved this book! I have been an avid cycler for many years (I owned a road bike, hybrid, and mountain bike simultaneously) with a bike rack to fit all; however, I preferred my road bike. A huge passion of mine —I would ride 150 miles in one day (solo) several times a week (not as safe these days without groups) or more on the Silver Comet Trail from Atlanta, Georgia, to Alabama and back and later throughout Florida and beyond. Clocking in thousands of miles. Often it would be completely dark many nights, riding through thunderstorms, rain, etc., before returning. I also have ridden many converted trails throughout the US—SUV, Bike rack, and all the equipment! Cyclists are a unique group of people, and you meet many as well as wonderful bike shops. I took my bike everywhere when traveling.


I LOVED CYCLING! My favorite pastime in addition to reading. I chose not to ride in bike clubs (even though invited), but I enjoyed the solace of riding alone. I was in the publishing/media business with furious deadlines, and this was my way to relax away from the stresses. I would typically take a day or two off during the week when less busy and, most of the time, had a book in my backpack to read and rest on benches along the way, and often, it would be a Jennifer Weiner book.


I loved discovering new spots and mountain hiking. There is nothing better than cycling! There is a sense of freedom, adventure, and discovery. It was a joy, and often, and it can be addictive.


I have enjoyed Jennifer's bike-riding adventures on social media, as well, which reminds me of my many years as an avid cycler. Unfortunately, I was forced to give up riding a few years ago due to my age, osteoporosis, degenerative disc disease, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. I miss it terribly and am glad I had the experience for many years. Enjoy outdoor sports and exercise while you can. Now, I am pleased my grandson inherited my love of biking as an avid cycler.








Praise


A journey that’s as much about self-discovery as it is about exploring new territory on wheels”

—New York Times


“Weiner is the undisputed queen of the fun yet thoughtful poolside read”

—Vogue


Incredibly fun . . . A lovely, compulsively readable story about finding your path and believing in your own worth.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This is a winning combination of a light read with serious emotional depth, the very mix Weiner's many fans have come to expect from her. Weiner’s annual summer release is a welcome (and highly anticipated) treat for readers of relatable relationship fiction.”

—Booklist, starred review


“Charming…lively banter reels the reader in…this breezy outing goes down easy.”

—Publishers Weekly






About the Book



Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one books, including The Summer Place, That Summer, Big Summer, Mrs. Everything, In Her Shoes, Good in Bed, and a memoir in essays, Hungry Heart. She has appeared on many national television programs, including Today and Good Morning America, and her work has been published in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, among other newspapers and magazines. Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com.

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