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The Breakaway

By Jennifer Weiner

A Fun and Immensely Satisfying Ride



Abby Stern, 34, is completely happy with who she is.  Despite not having a full-time job, having a messy apartment, and carrying too much weight, she is really happy.  She has good friends, her bike, and her Philadelphia bike club, and she is at peace with her lifelong battle with weight.  Her boyfriend, Mark, loves her just the way she is too!

Mark and Abby met at a weight-loss camp when they were children.  They reconnected a few years ago and have been together ever since.  Mark is now a podiatrist and half the size he used to be.  He adores Abby, despite their differences in weight, tidiness, exercise, and healthy eating.  Mark has asked Abby to move in together, but Abby can’t help but think something is missing.  She just isn’t sure.

Now Abby is nervously leading a 750 miles Bicycle Tour on the Empire State Trail from New York City to Niagara Falls with a dozen riders.  And just to make things interesting, two of those riders are known to her.  One is her unwelcome, uninvited, and supercritical mother, and the other is Sebastian, a man she had an incredible fling with over two years ago on a girls’ weekend.  She never saw him again until now.  Isn’t this just going to be a fun ride!

Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
-Albert Einstein.


THE BREAKAWAY is a perfect title for this charming book, in both the context of the bicycle tour and in defining Abby’s life itself.  It has romance and high drama written all over it, and the final pages will have you cheering.  The read is fun and immensely satisfying.  One of life’s pleasures is to read a book simply for enjoyment.  This book is enjoyable.

Author Jenifer Weiner’s writing is expertly crafted and cleverly layered, with many issues that Abby must handle on the bike tour.  The book touches on real-life issues such as weight shaming, serial dating, infidelity, abortion, and mother/daughter conflict, which Weiner handles with professionalism and care.

Abby’s character was delightfully real.  She is realistic about who she is, her present lifestyle, and her uncertainty about her future.  She is nervous about being responsible for the people on this 750-mile bike ride, but she is confident in her abilities to take on the challenge.  I enjoyed getting to know such a self-assured and composed woman.  When faced with controversy or danger, Abby was always the poised and cool-headed ride leader.

Weiner is a graduate of Princeton and the bestselling author of 21 books which most recently include: The Summer Place (2022), That Summer (2021), and Big Summer (2020).  Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I do not wish [women] to have power over men: but over themselves.
– Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women

Publisher  Simon & Schuster

Published  August 29, 2023

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