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Literature / Break

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Break is the 2009 debut contemporary young adult novel by Hannah Moskowitz. It is about a seventeen-year-old, Jonah McNab, who is on a mission to break every bone in his body as a way of coping with family troubles and the possible terminal illness of his beloved brother.

  • Abuse Mistake: When Jonah keeps turning up at school with broken bones, the teachers (unsurprisingly) conclude that he is being physically abused by his parents.
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  • Big Brother Instinct: Jonah has it especially for his sixteen-year-old brother, Jesse, who is allergic to everything, although he and Jesse are both also quite protective of their baby brother, Will.
  • Loon with a Heart of Gold: Everyone in the "mental hospital" that Jonah meets is this.
  • Mental Health Recovery Arc: The general gist of the book, although rather than it ending with Jonah fully healed, it ends with him nearly dying and realizing he needs help.
  • Poisonous Friend: Naomi and Jonah are this to each other. She encourages him to continue breaking his bones, though he realizes why she's really doing it when she tells him that she encouraged him to do it so he wouldn't realize he was actually ''addicted'' to the feeling of harming himself.
  • Red Herring: Naomi seems too interested in Jonah for his girlfriend Charlotte's liking and she's always at their house. But it's Jesse, not Jonah, that she wants.
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  • Satellite Love Interest: There isn't really a whole lot to Charlotte except that she's nice.
  • Squick: There is a lot of violence which borders on gore in Jonah's self-harm scenes. Notably, he smashes all his toes up with a hammer and then has to try and walk around like that, and his knuckle becomes infected when he breaks it in hospital.


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