Breaking Free

Young Adult - Romance
391 Pages
Reviewed on 10/18/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

SM Koz was born in Michigan, but moved to North Carolina for college and never left.

She enjoys traveling, camping, hiking, photography, reading, spending time with foster kids who call her house home, and learning new things. When she’s not creating online training for pharmaceutical companies (her day job) or writing, Koz can be found at the local community college taking courses on various topics ranging from digital art to HTML to desktop publishing. Next in line are auto mechanics and cake decorating.

Being trained as a veterinarian, it’s not surprising that Koz and her husband were recently told they have a mini-zoo with their two dogs, fish, cockatiels, and foster cats. In the past, they have also had parakeets and a snake. Other than the fish, all the animals were acquired through rescue organizations, something Koz wholeheartedly supports.

Breaking Free is Koz’s third original novel and fifth overall, but the only one she feels compelled to publish at this time. Her hope is that individuals who struggle with cutting may be inspired by Kelsie’s story and find the strength they need to begin the healing process.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl Schopen for Readers' Favorite

We all deal with pain and loss in our own way. Kelsie cuts. In Breaking Free by S.M. Koz, Kelsie is consumed with guilt and grief over losing her best friend in a car accident for which she feels responsible. She soon relies on her razor blades for comfort, which is how she ends up in the Wilderness Therapy program. Among the other troubled teens there for rehabilitation is JC, a boy who is suffering with his own guilt and grief. At first, Kelsie and JC are just friends, but they then feel a deeper connection when they realize that they are helping each other through the pain they feel. Different circumstances, including their pasts, threaten to keep them apart. Will they both finally experience some happiness or is it too late for that?

With a plot so incredibly heartbreaking yet heartwarming at the same time, this book had me hooked from the beginning. Kelsie and JC have both been through so much in their lives that it’s difficult for them to envision any type of happiness in their futures…until they meet each other. Their connection made this story for me. I felt so attached to their story, to their struggles, which made it very difficult to put the book down. What I also loved about this book is how real it was. S.M. Koz didn’t sugarcoat anything. As a reader, I felt like these were real people with real pain. Anyone who has ever cut or who has ever known someone who has cut will find Kelsie’s thoughts and behavior completely authentic. I think Kelsie’s story is inspirational and can help anyone who is struggling with cutting. It is a very real struggle that isn’t talked about often, so I have so much respect and admiration for this author for addressing it. Incredible writing, real characters, and an unpredictable plot make Breaking Free a must-read. I will be keeping my eye on S.M. Koz. I hope to see many more books by her.