Monday, July 16, 2018

MMGM: Breakout by Kate Messner


Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek--two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town's maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same.

Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics--a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project--Breakout is a thrilling story that will leave readers thinking about who's really welcome in the places we call home.


Nora Tucker and her best friend, Lizzie Bruno are looking forward to the end of the school year.  The upcoming field day will provide Nora a chance to prove her running skills and earn her the chance to throw water balloons at the principal.  The cookout and other activities promise to make the day a fun way to end the school year.  But the arrival of Elidee Jones who runs faster than Nora and the escape of two inmates from the local prison change everything.  Told through letters, poems, newspaper articles, transcripts of 'recordings', and texts, Breakout, tells the story of not only Nora, Lizzie, and Elidee, but the story of this small town that revolves around the prison.  The girls face the fears associated with having two murderers on the loose, but also the prejudices of not only themselves, but those around them.

I enjoyed this book immensely.  Not only did I like the format (although not everyone will) but I enjoyed the characters and the themes.  Themes related to friendship, racism, white privilege, and the justice system pervade the book, but not in overwhelming ways.  As Nora's eyes start to open to the biases of those around her, she starts to see things she never noticed before.  And as she points out at the end of the book, she can't go back to the way things were before, and that's a good thing.  I also appreciated the unique voice of each girl.  Nora is a bit nosy and blunt in her observations and perspective.  Lizzie has a snarky voice, and she enjoys comedy and writing parody articles for Nora's practice newspaper.  Elidee struggles to find a place in this new place, but finds inspiration in copying the patterns in the beautiful poetry she reads.  Reading her poems even inspired me to go looking for the works of the poets she references.

Messner has written an excellent novel that makes for both an enjoyable read, and a social commentary on current issues.

1 comment:

  1. I've always enoyed Kate Messner's books. Glad to hear you liked this one!


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