cover image The Breakaway

The Breakaway

Jennifer Weiner. Atria, $28.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-66803-342-5

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.)