Hannah Moskowitz / Author Simon Pulse $8.99 (262p) ISBN 978-1-
Seventeen-year-old Jonah is on a quest to break every bone in his body, and his best friend Naomi is there to film each attempt, as he crashes his skateboard or dives into an empty pool. His 16-year-old brother, Jesse, has deadly food allergies and their parents aren't vigilant about keeping the house safe, so that job has fallen to Jonah, who is weighed down by the responsibility. He breaks his bones so that as he heals he becomes stronger (""It's sort of a natural bionics thing. Break a leg, grow a better leg. Break a body, grow a better body""), a belief treated with almost religious reverence from some, like Naomi (who calls it a ""revolution""), but that eventually results in his being institutionalized. Moskowitz, who wrote the story while a high school junior, paces the story well and creates in Jonah a believable and complex protagonist. Love interest Charlotte is one-dimensional, and Naomi strains credulity as she eggs Jonah on. But the brothers' relationship is poignant, and Moskowitz's depiction of Jonah and Jesse's respective traumas-and a family drowning in dysfunction-are viscerally real. Ages 14-up.
Reviewed on: 08/24/2009