Friday, May 20, 2016

Blog Tour: Breaker by Kat Ellis

Breaker by Kat Ellis 334 p. RP Teens/ Running Press, May 24, 2016. 9780762459087. (Review from arc courtesy of the publisher.)

When sixteen-year-old Kyle and his mama move from the hatred in their North Carolina town, they are looking for a fresh start. So Kyle has a new last name because most folks would recognize his old one. His father was a notorious serial killer called The Bonebreaker. He is cautiously optimistic about his fresh start but that evaporates in homeroom the first morning of classes. One of his classmates is Naomi Steadman, the daughter of his father's last victim, the only person to have seen the Bonebreaker and lived. He vows to keep his distance but he has already caught Naomi's eye and there's no denying the instant spark between them.

Everyone has secrets in this modern gothic thriller. Naomi is haunted by the death of her mother. She's also grieving for her grandfather's slow decline due to Alzheimer's. She's fending off unwanted advances by a creepy custodian and tired of the mind games her former best friend is playing. 

Killdeer Academy has a grim history. It was a former asylum for the mentally ill. A section of it burned in a tragic fire, but there are plenty of turrets, secret rooms, dark hallways and urban mythology, not to mention taxidermied predators and prey to lend a suitably creepy atmosphere. Yikes! And that cover! I have a hard time looking away and it ties in so gruesomely to several pivotal scenes in the book. 

The story is told in the alternating points-of-view of Naomi and Kyle. The occasional news clipping or undelivered letter or transcript fill in the story. Do not miss the chapter names. There are plenty of suspects and red herrings to consider as the suspense builds. While I figured out the who relatively early, I did not figure out the why until the big reveal. Teen fans of gothic thrillers will race through this. I am not a fan of gothic thrillers for the very reason why this is so good. The suspense killed me. There were a few minor plot points that irked but not enough to take me out of the story. 

Too bad this is pubbing as a paperback. My students are going to pass this one around.

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