Danielle's Reviews

~ Breaking Free by SM KOZ Review ~

816RJ5xc5bL._SL1500_SynopsisKelsie Sullivan’s life has changed forever. The once outgoing cheerleader has a secret to hide. The car accident that killed her best friend Jenna? She caused it.

With an absent father and unforgiving stepmother, Kelsie has nowhere to turn. She manages her guilt and grief with razor blades. The fleeting release she experiences becomes an obsession and soon she’s unable to hide it any longer. Once her cutting is revealed, Kelsie’s parents enroll her in a Wilderness Therapy program designed to rehabilitate troubled teens, but North Carolina is a world away from California.

Kelsie fights against everything the program has to offer until she befriends JC, a boy with a tortured past of his own. He’s also the only one who is able to ease her pain. The two grow close, but quickly discover that nature—both human and otherwise—can easily rip them apart.

Disclaimer: This book contains adult language, sexual themes, and explicit self-harm behavior. Parental discretion is recommended for those under 15 years of age.

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daniell review4 and a half stars

Touching story of love and loss. This book deals with some tough topics but does it in a way that doesn’t glamorize or exaggerate and is tastefully done.

Kelsie is a 16-year-old beautiful high school cheerleader from California who seems to have it all. She suffers the devastating loss of her best friend, Jenna and feels it is her fault. In order to cope with the loss and guilt, Kelsie cuts. She tried to hide it but now her wicked stepmother has found out and is shipping her off to Wilderness Therapy Camp for 30 days.

When she arrives at camp, Kelsie meets 4 other teenagers who are going through camp with her. She makes up nicknames for each of them based on her impressions of them. After a couple days, she forms a bond with fellow camper, Tyrell, who she calls “JC.”

JC is a 17-year-old boy from a rough neighborhood in North Carolina and is at camp for having violent tendencies but Kelsie is not afraid of him. JC and Kelsie become fast friends that seems to have potential of becoming more but they are from different parts of the country and cultures.

What happens when camp ends? Will Kelsie and JC have to say goodbye forever? Will Kelsie find her inner strength to stop cutting herself or will she continue on a path of self-destruction?

This book was a great read and kept my interest from start to finish. I loved that I felt so many emotions during this book; at times it was truly heartbreaking, other times I was laughing. Wonderful debut by SM Koz!! I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the YA genre.

Abou the authorSM Koz was born in Michigan, but moved to North Carolina for college and never left.

She enjoys traveling, camping, hiking, photography, reading, spending time with foster kids who call her house home, and learning new things. When she’s not creating online training for pharmaceutical companies (her day job) or writing, Koz can be found at the local community college taking courses on various topics ranging from digital art to HTML to desktop publishing. Next in line are auto mechanics and cake decorating.

Being trained as a veterinarian, it’s not surprising that Koz and her husband were recently told they have a mini-zoo with their two dogs, fish, cockatiels, and foster cats. In the past, they have also had parakeets and a snake. Other than the fish, all the animals were acquired through rescue organizations, something Koz wholeheartedly supports.

Breaking Free is Koz’s third original novel and fifth overall, but the only one she feels compelled to publish at this time. Her hope is that individuals who struggle with cutting may be inspired by Kelsie’s story and find the strength they need to begin the healing process.

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