Desert Isle Keeper
There aren’t very many New Adult books that captivate me. I like them well enough, but they don’t usually make it to my favorites list. However, the work of author Jessica Sorensen has shown me a different kind of New Adult, stories of hope and redemption, rather than constant angst. For this reason, I was eager to listen to Breaking Nova.
Nova Reed is home from her first year of college. One day blends into the next, but that’s how it’s been for the past year. Nova’s life hasn’t been the same since her high school boyfriend committed suicide and Nova found his body. Now, she lives in a kind of haze. She wants answers, but doesn’t know how to get them. Should she cling to the past, or should she move forward? She doesn’t know, and she isn’t doing well with the uncertainty.
Quinton Carter is no stranger to tragedy. He feels responsible for the deaths of his cousin and girlfriend. After all, he was driving the car that killed them. His father has kicked him out and Quinton is living with his cousin, not doing much of anything but waiting for his life to end.
When Nova and Quinton meet, both are deeply affected. Quinton is able to make Nova feel safe, something she hasn’t felt in a long time. Nova makes Quinton feel alive and he’s not sure he wants that. Does a murderer really deserve a chance at happiness?
I found both Stephanie Willis and Jed Drummond to be skilled narrators. At first, I thought Drummond sounded a little old for Quinton, who is in his early twenties. However, once I got a better feel for the character, I realized that Drummond lent Quinton the mature sound that was necessary for someone who had been through so much.
Both Willis and Drummond were careful to make sure each character was distinctly performed. Willis was able to effectively deepen her voice when speaking for the various male characters and Drummond softened his considerably when reading the character of Nova, while other female characters were given a harsher, but still feminine, way of speaking.
There are a couple of things that might bother certain listeners. Breaking Nova is the story of two very damaged people. Unfortunately, they do things a lot of people don’t approve of. This book contains many scenes of excessive drinking and drug abuse and while Sorensen doesn’t glorify these behaviors, neither does she shrink from the fact that many people choose to deal with life in these ways.
Also, if books that focus on death disturb you, I’d recommend skipping this one. Both our hero and heroine carry a lot of baggage related to death, and each focuses on it quite a bit. Quinton, for example, often wishes he would just die so the pain will stop, while Nova is obsessed with the suicide of the boy she had once planned to marry.
Personally, I found Breaking Nova to be an excellent listen. I didn’t always like the choices the characters made, but Sorensen has a gift for drawing you in. Willis and Drummond helped with this, as their depictions of the characters brought them to life. It is important to know that Breaking Nova ends with a lot of uncertainty. Luckily, Saving Quinton is available, and I was pleased to see Drummond and Willis listed as the narrators. It won’t be long before I pick it up.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: Stephanie Willis A and Jed Drummond A- Book Content: A-
Unabridged. Length – 8 hours 25 minutes