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The Way Back from Broken

Review

The Way Back from Broken

Amber J Keyser's book THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN book takes readers on a journey through a young boy's struggle to grow up and move on in the ashes of tragedy. Not only does it provide deep, analytical insights into the main character’s mind, but it also shares metaphors for grief that move the reader and compel them to turn every page.

Rakmen was your typical teenage boy. He did fine in school, thought his teachers were lame and enjoyed spending time with his parents and best friend, Juan. That's was until his baby sister died in his hands one night.

In the beginning of THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN, we meet a boy who is fighting to keep his head above the water and pushing through each day with no purpose. The only things Rakmen knows for sure is that he will flunk out of school and that every month, his mom will make him go to therapy at The Promise House while she sobs with other grieving mothers upstairs. At home, he is met with the shouts of his parents' looming divorce and immense loneliness and guilt.

Keyser does a spectacular job of weaving humor and wit amidst darkness and turmoil.

One day at The Promise House, something totally unexpected happens: his Biology teacher, together with a box of tissues and her pudgy little daughter, shows up to talk about her stillborn child. Rakmen is stunned and very embarrassed, and takes the little girl downstairs with the other kids and tries to forget all about his awkward encounter. But the little girl won't let go of his hand or stop asking questions. Rakmen is mortified when his mom makes him go to their house later that night because the little girl was asking for him. Nothing can be worse than seeing your biology teacher in her pajamas. Right?

Emotions escalate when Rakmen's parent decide they need some time to figure out their marriage without Rakmen around. Suddenly he finds himself on a plane with his teacher and her daughter, flying to a cabin in the middle of the woods in Canada. Can Rakmen learn to deal with not only his own grief but also the grief of his teacher and her young daughter? Or will he give up on a chance to find adventure and maybe set himself along a dangerous path?

I would recommend THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN to any teenager. Although the novel deals with some hard, real issues like grief and loss, Keyser does a spectacular job of weaving humor and wit amidst darkness and turmoil. THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN is jarring and almost shockingly realistic in its portrayal of grief and longing but still manages to keep readers enthralled and devoted with every chapter.

Reviewed by Lauren H. on October 7, 2015

The Way Back from Broken
by Amber J. Keyser

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2018
  • Genres: Family, Youth Fiction
  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab (TM)
  • ISBN-10: 1541514882
  • ISBN-13: 9781541514881