Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Breaking Nova (Nova #1) by Jessica Sorensen

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Nova Reed used to have dreams-of becoming a famous drummer, of marrying her true love. But all of that was taken away in an instant. Now she's getting by as best she can, though sometimes that means doing things the old Nova would never do. Things that are slowly eating away at her spirit. Every day blends into the next . . . until she meets Quinton Carter. His intense, honey brown eyes instantly draw her in, and he looks just about as broken as she feels inside.

Quinton once got a second chance at life-but he doesn't want it. The tattoos on his chest are a constant reminder of what he's done, what he's lost. He's sworn to never allow happiness into his life . . . but then beautiful, sweet Nova makes him smile. He knows he's too damaged to get close to her, yet she's the only one who can make him feel alive again. Quinton will have to decide: does he deserve to start over? Or should he pay for his past forever?

Jessica Sorensen has created a comfortable little niche for herself when it comes to writing fragile characters so damaged by horrifying events in their lives who are struggling to pick up the pieces.  Having read her previous books I kind of had an inkling of what to expect. Even with many similarities, Breaking Nova is undoubtedly the bleakest story of hers I’ve read.  

Nova and Quinton are interesting enough characters that kept me tuned in though I wouldn’t consider them as charismatic as other characters Sorensen has created. Both of them have suffered painful losses – Nova’s boyfriend committed suicide, Quinton’s girlfriend and his cousin were killed in a car crash in which he was the driver.  Neither has been able to move on, each feeling unworthy of forgiveness and love. Sound familiar? The differences are that this time around, Sorensen doesn’t offer up solid friends who look out for our protagonists. Instead, they’re as messed up as Nova and Quinton. I absolutely did not care for Nova’s best friend, Delilah or Quinton’s cousin Tristan and his roommate Dylan. They were more interested in getting high and drunk rather than do something with themselves. It’s especially hard when Quinton admits that he knows he could be much better, that he wasn’t always a “screw up” who spends his days lost in his room, aimless and hopeless. Nova has all the potential in the world but gets mixed up with Delilah and her mess.

Following this downward spiral isn’t easy and while it was depressing I was also impressed that Sorensen took the story in this direction. Unfortunately not everyone can be surrounded by good people with clear heads to pull them through. And not everyone can swim through the muddy waters in their minds as easily as others. If anything, it was a stark reminder that everyone handles loss and guilt in different ways and some get lost inside themselves more than others. 

In typical Sorensen fashion, we are left with a cliffhanger but a day after finishing it, I can say that Breaking Nova is another winner and I hope that Nova and Quinton get the peace that they’re desperately looking for.

~ Bel

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