Beyond The Break by Heather Buchta
Lovette has two rules for herself. One, no surfing. Her brother was in a terrible surfing accident years before. Two, no dating. She made a promise to God. Lovette is happy with her arrangement. She has her youth group, her friends, and her relationship with Jesus. But when Jake Evans walks into the youth group one day, everything changes. Soon Lovette finds herself breaking both rules she set out for herself and questioning everything she’s ever known.
Beyond The Break is told in the first person entirely from Lovette’s point of view. Lovette is an excellent character. You can feel how vulnerable she is, and how much she struggles to be the perfect daughter, friend, and Christian. Over the course of the novel, she starts to break free of the constructs she’s set for herself and finally start to push for things that make her happy.
The religious aspect of the book somewhat turned me off, especially at the beginning. It felt like I couldn’t get two sentences without a comment about Jesus, and it felt a bit extreme. As the book progresses, this obsessive mentioning starts to dwindle, largely mirroring the character development in Lovette. It still has religious undertones, but not to the same extent as the first few chapters. This might be an issue for some readers. I found it frustrating initially, but it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story.
I loved this sweet coming of age story. It’s a classic story with a unique spin. Fans of contemporary YA such as the works of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han will enjoy Beyond The Break.
Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Teen for the review copy! All opinions are my own.
Synopsis from Goodreads
For fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han, Beyond the Break is a funny and gorgeous debut about a girl experiencing her first love. Well, second, if you count her faith… and that’s where things may get complicated.
Manhattan Beach native Lovette has two rules in life. One: no surfing. Not after her brother’s accident. Two: absolutely, no dating. And going into her junior year of high school, she’s pretty happy with that arrangement. She has friends, her church youth group, and God to fall back on when things get dicey. But after Jake Evans walks into her life, following these two simple rules gets a lot more complicated.
Jake is the boy from Lovette’s childhood who grew up. Handsome and sweet, he unlocks the part of Lovette that wants nothing more than to surf the waves again. And as their relationship grows, she begins to question what it means to be faithful: to her family, to God, but mostly, to herself.
Told with humor and heart, Heather Buchta delivers a sparkling debut that asks the question: Can you fall in love, be a teenager, and also be a good Christian?
About the Author
Heather Buchta graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in communications, but she’ll tell you the real B.A. in college is learning how to pay bills. After receiving her National Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, she directed youth ministry programs and confirmation classes for both Catholic and Protestant churches. In addition, she taught high school English for a decade in South Central LA. Today, she is a part-time youth pastor for The Rock Covenant Church. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, obstacle-course racing, rock climbing, and snowboarding. She lives in the beach cities of Los Angeles, where she dotes on her dog and writes stories from her indoor porch. Beyond the Break is her first novel.