Break to You By Neal Shusterman, Debra Young, Michelle Knowlden Cover Image
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Bestselling author of Scythe and Challenger Deep Neal Shusterman, here with coauthors Debra Young and Michelle Knowlden, tells an intense yet tender story of two teens, trapped in impossible circumstances and unjust systems, willing to risk everything for love—no matter the consequences.

Adriana knows that if she can manage to keep her head down for the next seven months, she might be able to get through her sentence in the Compass juvenile detention center. Thankfully, she’s allowed to keep her journal, where she writes down her most private thoughts when her feelings get too big.

Until the day she opens her journal and discovers that her thoughts are no longer so private. Someone has read her writings—and has written back. A boy who lives on the other side of the gender-divided detention center. A boy who sparks a fire in her to write back.

Jon’s story is different than Adriana’s; he’s already been at Compass for years and will be in the system for years to come. Still, when he reads the words Adriana writes to him, it makes him feel like the walls that hold them in have melted away.

This fast-paced, highly compelling tour de force novel exposes what life is like in detention—and reveals the hearts of two teens who are forced to live in desperate circumstances. 

About the Author

Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty books, including Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award; Scythe, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book; Dry, which he cowrote with his son, Jarrod Shusterman; Unwind, which won more than thirty domestic and international awards; Bruiser, which was on a dozen state lists; The Schwa Was Here, winner of the Boston GlobeHorn Book Award; and Game Changer, which debuted as an indie top-five best seller. He is the winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for the body of his work. You can visit him online at

Debra Young wrote fantasy, science fiction, and horror. She published stories in The Horror Zine, Dark Fire Fiction, Swords and Sorcery magazine, and Black Fox Literary Magazine and was the author of Grave Shadows, a story anthology. Sadly, she passed away due to complications from lupus in 2024.

Once a space shuttle engineer and extreme hiker, Michelle Knowlden now writes full-time. The Shamus Award nominee’s stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Amazing Stories, Daily Science Fiction, and Neal Shusterman’s UnBound and Gleanings anthologies. Her books include the Abishag Mysteries quartet, the Deluded Detective series, the Faith Interrupted Cozy Mysteries, Her Last Mission, and the 1930s novella The Admiral of Signal Hill. Under the name Michelle Dutton, she wrote the fantasy series Ravenscar Shifters and the historical romance Lillian in the Doorway. She splits her time between riverboats and the Arizona highlands with family, friends, and an Icelandic sponge named Marino.  


Praise For…

"Told in Jon’s and Adriana’s alternating perspectives, the story paints a vivid picture of a harsh reality.... An evocative glimpse into an unjust and unforgiving system." — Kirkus Reviews

"The intersectionally diverse teen characters that populate this smoothly plotted, emotionally intense read are fully developed and represent a range of incarceration experiences... Close third-person narration melds letters and slam poetry–inspired verse to deliver a high-stakes, dual-perspective love story that critiques juvenile incarceration and celebrates the connective power of the written word." — Publishers Weekly

"With its emotional intensity, thoughtful storytelling, and wrenching conclusion, this addictive, gently romantic page-turner will hit readers in both the heart and the gut. Hand this to readers who value ride-or-die friendships and hard-won heartache, and those who grew up loving Holes and are ready to grapple with a grittier take on juvenile justice."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

The mystery of what Jon did to deserve his stay at the facility, and the truth, will break readers’ hearts. Hand this book to readers who enjoy emotionally raw, true-to-life stories like Saints of the Household by Ari Tison or Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. — School Library Journal (starred review)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062875761
ISBN-10: 0062875760
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2024
Pages: 432
Language: English