Title:: Breaking Free
Author: Winter Page
Publisher: Harmony Ink
Publication date: April 10th 2014
Page Count:: 180 pages
Age Rating: YA (language, homophobia, suicide, violence, referenced sexual assault)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received a copy to review
Publisher’s page: Breaking Free
Raimi Carter is finally a girl, just like she always knew she was meant to be. At a new school where nobody knows she’s had gender reassignment surgery, she hopes to finally live the normal life she’s longed for, happy in her own skin.
Life is great until she discovers a dangerous bully is blackmailing head cheerleader, Clare Strickland, threatening to reveal her secret: she’s gay. As Raimi fights to free Clare from his clutches, the two girls move beyond friendship. But secrets from their pasts and their own fears of coming out tear them apart—maybe forever. Baring their souls to each other could cost them everything. For two girls trapped and desperately in love, only strength, courage, and trust in each other will help them break free and claim their future.
Breaking Free is the story of Raimi, a trans teenage girl, starting high school for the first time as a senior and ready to throw herself into the teenage high school experience after being homeschooled for the last few years. Having undergone gender reassignment and facial surgeries, she’s really feeling herself and is ready to take life, and high school, by storm. And then Raimi lays eyes on the beautiful Clare and a little bit of shine is knocked off her new life when she can’t stop thinking about the other clearly troubled girl.
The gorgeous head cheerleader is obviously desperately unhappy in a relationship with brutish football player Brad. When it comes out that Brad has been using the information that Clare is gay to blackmail her into a one-sided relationship, Raimi is determined to help Clare break free, from Brad and from the small-minded people in the town. It’s in the course of this that Raimi makes the startling revelation that she herself isn’t really free – she’s got her own secrets and her own fears.
This book deals with a lot of issues: gender identity, coming out, homophobia, transphobia, date rape, bullying, underage drinking/alcoholism, depression, suicide, and absentee parenting, to name a few. Breaking Free was like a high school soap opera with the way it kind of jumps from one issue to another; it starts to feel a little like Degrassi up in there.
Luckily, I love me some Degrassi, so I am here for that.
Break Free is a sweet romance with nothing more intense than a few kisses, and one make-out session, exchanged between the main pairing. When you’re in the mood for some intense drama and teenage angst, this is the book to read. The drama and angst lasts all the way through, with new twists and turns popping up until the very very end. The author was only fourteen when she wrote this, which is amazing, and I can’t wait to see what else she comes out with in the future.
It’s on a rainy afternoon, inside a local coffee shop, that Raimi and Claire first sit down and have a real back and forth conversation over coffee. Raimi orders a double shot latte and Claire gets a triple shot espresso loaded up with vanilla and hazelnut syrup. I love coffee, vanilla, and hazelnut together – I think it’s just such a great blend of flavors. I recommend CoffeeAM Vanilla Hazelnut Flavored Coffee – a nice, smooth medium blend coffee flavored with creamy vanilla and nutty hazelnut.