The Breakaway

S. & S. Audio. Aug. 2023. 13:30 hrs. ISBN 9781797163659. $24.99. F
Abby Stern learned to ride a bike at age six and discovered a newfound freedom. That feeling carried her from a difficult adolescence to eventual acceptance, learning to love her plus-size self despite others’ judgment. Now in her thirties, Abby still craves independence. When things are about to get serious with her safe, dependable boyfriend, she seizes one last chance for freedom, leading a cycling trip from New York City to Niagara Falls. When one member of her group turns out to be Sebastian, her one and only one-night stand, Abby is forced to choose between her head and her heart. Weiner (The Summer Place) proffers a relationship fiction that is both playful and poignant. Her conversational, character-driven writing seamlessly shifts from humorous to heartrending and back again. Unfortunately, however, primary narrator Nikki Blonsky, as Abby, falls short on delivering dramatic flair, allowing the emotive asides from additional narrators Santino Fontana, Jenni Barber, Soneela Nankani, and Joy Osmanski to steal the show.
VERDICT Will appeal to listeners seeking a moving novel about building relationships, body positivity, and being true to oneself. Recommended for fans of Christina Lauren, Emily Henry, and Jo Wilde.
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