Sunday, November 5, 2023

Book Review | THE BREAKAWAY by Jennifer Weiner

The Breakaway
by Jennifer Weiner
Publication: August 29, 2023
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Romance
Rating: ★★★★

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner comes a warmhearted and empowering new novel about love, family, friendship, secrets, and a life-changing journey.

Thirty-three-year-old Abby Stern has made it to a happy place. True, she still has gig jobs instead of a career, and the apartment where she’s lived since college still looks like she’s just moved in. But she’s got good friends, her bike, and her bicycling club in Philadelphia. She’s at peace with her plus-size body—at least, most of the time—and she’s on track to marry Mark Medoff, her childhood sweetheart, a man she met at the weight-loss camp that her perpetually dieting mother forced her to attend. Fifteen years after her final summer at Camp Golden Hills, when Abby reconnects with a half-his-size Mark, it feels like the happy ending she’s always wanted.

Yet Abby can’t escape the feeling that something isn’t right...or the memories of one thrilling night she spent with a man named Sebastian two years previously. When Abby gets a last-minute invitation to lead a cycling trip from NYC to Niagara Falls, she’s happy to have time away from Mark, a chance to reflect and make up her mind.

But things get complicated fast. First, Abby spots a familiar face in the group—Sebastian, the one-night stand she thought she’d never see again. Sebastian is a serial dater who lives a hundred miles away. In spite of their undeniable chemistry, Abby is determined to keep her distance. Then there’s a surprise last-minute addition to the trip: her mother, Eileen, the woman Abby blames for a lifetime of body shaming and insecurities she’s still trying to undo.

Over two weeks and more than seven hundred miles, strangers become friends, hidden truths come to light, a teenage girl with a secret unites the riders in unexpected ways...and Abby is forced to reconsider everything she believes about herself, her mother, and the nature of love.

I read my first book by Jennifer Weiner, The Breakaway, and I have to say I am not disappointed.

Weiner has a knack for writing engaging and realistic characters. The Breakaway is about a woman who leads a group bike trip from New York City to Niagara Falls, and has to deal with some unexpected guests along the way: her mother, who has always criticized her weight, and her former one-night stand, who might be more than just a fling.

Abby Stern credits cycling for helping her overcome her childhood trauma of being sent to weight-loss camp every summer by her mother, who never accepted her as she was. Now, as an adult, Abby is in a stable relationship with Mark, a fellow former camper who has lost half his weight and supports Abby unconditionally. He seemed set on spending forever with Abby, but she feels something is missing in their relationship. Maybe it's the fact that he won't touch sugar or learn to ride a bike with her. Maybe it's the fact that she still struggles with her self-esteem and body image.

When Abby gets the opportunity to lead a 12-day bike tour through New York, she jumps at it. It's a chance to do what she loves most, and to clear her head away from Mark. But she doesn't expect two surprise riders to join her: Sebastian, a charming and handsome man she had a one-night stand with before meeting Mark, and Eileen, her mother, who claims she wants to reconnect with Abby after years of estrangement. As Abby and Sebastian get closer on the road, Abby starts to question her feelings for Mark and wonder if Sebastian is the one for her. But can she trust him, especially after learning that he became famous on TikTok for sleeping around Brooklyn? And can she forgive her mother, who still triggers Abby's insecurities?

This is a delightful and heartwarming novel that explores themes of body acceptance, self-love, family, friendship, and romance. Abby is a relatable and likable protagonist, who grows as a person throughout the story. Weiner does a great job of portraying the complexities of Abby's relationship with her mother, as well as the chemistry between Abby and Sebastian. The secondary characters are also well-developed and add humor and depth to the story. Weiner also switches perspectives occasionally to give us a glimpse into their thoughts and feelings.

THE BREAKAWAY is a perfect book for anyone who enjoys a good romantic comedy with a dose of realism and social commentary.


About The Author:
Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one books, including The Summer Place, That Summer, Big Summer, Mrs. Everything, In Her Shoes, Good in Bed, and a memoir in essays, Hungry Heart. She has appeared on many national television programs, including Today and Good Morning America, and her work has been published in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, among other newspapers and magazines. Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at Photo by Andrea Cipriani Mecchi

*Thanks to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for the digital ARC in exchange for this unbiased review.


  1. The Breakaway does seem like a fantastic book, and Abby definitely seems relatable! I'll have to check it out!