The breakaway A novel

Jennifer Weiner

Book - 2023

"Thirty-three-year-old Abby Stern has made it to a happy place. True, she still has gig jobs instead of a career, and the apartment where she's lived since college still looks like she's just moved in. But she's got good friends, her bike, and her bicycling club. She's at peace with her plus-size body--at least, most of the time--and she's on track to marry Mark Medoff, her childhood summer sweetheart, a man she met at the weight-loss camp that her perpetually mother forced her to attend. Fifteen years after her final summer at Camp Golden Hills, when Abby reconnects with a half-his-size Mark, it feels like the happy ending she's always wanted. Yet Abby can't escape the feeling that someƯthing isn't right... or the memories of one thrilling night she spent with a man named Sebastian two years previously. When Abby gets a last-minute invitation to lead a cycling trip from NYC to Niagara Falls, she's happy to have time away from Mark, a chance to reflect and make up her mind. But things get complicated fast. First, Abby spots a familiar face in the group--Sebastian, the one-night stand she thought she'd never see again. Sebastian is a serial dater who lives a hundred miles away. In spite of their undeniable chemistry, Abby is determined to keep her distance. Then there's a surprise last-minute addition to the trip: her mother, Eileen, the woman Abby blames for a lifetime of body shaming and insecurities she's still trying to undo. Over two weeks and more than seven hundred miles, strangers become friends, hidden truths come to light, a teenage girl with a secret unites the riders in unexpected ways... and Abby is forced to reconsider everything she believes about herself, her mother, and the nature of love"--

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Romance fiction
Domestic fiction
New York : Atria Books 2023.
First Atria Books hardcover edition
Item Description
Contains topics and questions for discussion on the last page of the book.
Physical Description
387 pages : map ; 24 cm
Main Author
Jennifer Weiner (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Abby Stern is at a crossroads in her relationship with her boyfriend, Mark--to move in together or not to move in together?--so she jumps at the chance to lead a bike trip from New York City to Niagara Falls along the Empire Trail. She has two unexpected riders on her trip, her disapproving mother and Sebastian, with whom Abby had a steamy one-night stand two years prior, before she and Mark got serious. Sebastian has baggage of his own. Thanks to social media, he's been outed as the biggest manwhore in Brooklyn, and Abby is wary of his intentions with her. Weiner's latest, after The Summer Place (2022), weaves together the perspectives of Abby, Sebastian, and several other riders to hilarious effect, despite a serious subplot involving teenage Morgan. Weiner explores fat acceptance as plus-sized Abby contends with the memories of the fat camp her mother sent her to, where she first met Mark; mother-daughter relationships; and reproductive rights while taking readers on a scenic journey through upstate New York. This is a winning combination of a light read with serious emotional depth, the very mix Weiner's many fans have come to expect from her.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Weiner's annual summer release is a welcome (and highly anticipated) treat for readers of relatable relationship fiction.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Weiner's charming latest (after The Summer Place) follows a cyclist as she contemplates her life during an upstate New York bike tour. Abby Stern, 33, began cycling years ago to fight negative feelings about her weight, which had been exacerbated by her mother, Eileen, who made Abby attend a "fat camp" when she was a teen. Now, she bikes to forget her ambivalence about her boyfriend, Mark. Eileen joins Abby on the trip, as does Sebastian, a man she once hooked up with. Along the way, Abby deals with Eileen's judgment and is still drawn to the charismatic Sebastian, though he was recently outed on TikTok for being a player. Still, he seems to genuinely like Abby, and the feeling is mutual. Abby and Sebastian's lively banter reels the reader in, as do the fine-grained details from the trail (the rattling Walkway Over the Hudson, the "scrubby backyards," and an honest depiction of touring bike frames: "They weren't pretty, but they got the job done"). Abby's development feels genuine, as she learns to define herself on her own terms. This breezy outing goes down easy. Agent: Celeste Fine, Elizabeth Pratt, and Emily Sweet, Park Fine. (Aug.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

A cyclist leads a group bike trip from New York City to Niagara Falls…with both her mother and a former one-night stand in tow. Abby Stern's biggest passion is her bike. Bicycling saved her when she was an overweight child of divorce, forced into attending weight-loss camp every summer by her judgmental mother. Flash-forward 15 years and she's in a mostly happy relationship with Mark, a former camper she reconnected with as an adult. He's half the size he used to be and adores Abby exactly the way she is. She should be over the moon that Mark wants to take their relationship to the next level, even if he won't eat sugar or learn to ride a bike. He loves her, and that should be enough, right? When Abby gets the chance to lead a 12-day bicycling trip through New York, she takes it--it will be time on her precious bike, but most importantly, it's time to clear her head, away from Mark. But the trip ends up being more complicated than she expected, mostly due to two unexpected riders. First, there's Sebastian, a one-night stand Abby met before things got serious with Mark. And then there's her mother, Eileen, who claims she just wants to spend time with Abby--but after a childhood filled with shame and guilt about her body, Abby is apprehensive. As she and Sebastian spend more time together, Abby is both excited and dismayed to discover herself feeling things she's never felt with Mark--but can she trust a man who went viral on TikTok for sleeping his way around Brooklyn? Meanwhile, relying on her mother for help makes Abby wonder if their relationship might be salvaged after all. Abby is a deeply likable character, and Weiner expertly handles the delicate balance between her current body neutrality and her deep-seated trauma from years of attempting to shrink her body. The other riders on the trip provide humor and poignancy, and Weiner occasionally dips into their points of view. The romance between Abby and Sebastian is a slow burn that's incredibly fun to read, but Abby's journey to make her life her own is the real standout. A lovely, compulsively readable story about finding your path and believing in your own worth. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.