Sunday, September 15, 2013

Breaking Nova by Jessica Sorensen

   When I stopped in front of him, he glanced up at me, and I was taken aback by how much anguish was in his honey-brown eyes- the torture and internal suffering.  I'd never seen so much of it in anyone my age before, and even though I didn't know what was causing it, I guessed we were going to be friends  He looked how I felt inside, like I'd been broken apart and the pieces hadn't healed correctly. (Nova's thoughts on Landon)

   Most of us have had to deal with loss in our lives.  But Nova had to see two very important people in her life die.  Her father died when she was a young teenager of an unknown heart condition.  Then, years later she found her boyfriend, Landon, when he decided to commit suicide.  Over a year later, she still has trouble believing that he is really gone.  Landon was an artist.  He liked to sketch and he always looked so sad.  But they had become friends right after Nova's dad died and were best friends for a very long time.  Then their relationship escalated.  They loved each other.  His death had broken her down.  She was no longer the person she had been.  This girl was a depression ridden, obsessive-compulsive.  Now routine was everything to her.  She counted the seconds until the sun came.  She counted the pictures on the wall.  Counting gave her a sense of control over her life that she had lost.  And what was worse, no one, not even she, knew how to get herself out of this deep dark hole.
   Quinton was a normal teenage guy until one fateful event.  One night he had a car wreck that involved his girlfriend Lexi, his cousin, and some other unknown guy.  Both girls died.  Quinton was driving.  He held his girlfriend in his arms while she lay dying.  Quinton's heart stopped as well, but they were able to bring him back.  And now, serving as a constant reminder, he has a tattoo of the two girls on his arm.  He drags around the guilt of being the one that "killed" them.  In his depression he turns to drugs and alcohol to dull the pain.  Everyone blames him for their deaths so he moves in with Tristan, the brother of one of the girls that died.  He is more forgiving of Quinton than others seem to be.

I wonder if that's why she looks so sad all the time.  To see something like that-to see death.  It's the kind of thing that scars people on the inside.  And not just small scars, but long, thick, jagged ones that never go away.  The kind of scars that alter the appearance of things, change people. Ruin them. (Quinton's thoughts on Nova)

   Nova and Quinton meet when Nova's best friend, Delilah, decides to get back together with her ex, Dylan.  And Dylan lives with Tristan and Quinton.  Dylan is not a model citizen.  He is into drugs and alcohol as well.  It starts to make Nova wonder if maybe Delilah was still doing weed even though she had said she quit.  Seeing Quinton is physically painful to Nova.  He reminds her so much of Landon.  Not in the way he looks, but the sadness, the look of a tortured soul.  He is also an artist.  Their relationship is uneasy but they quickly realize that they are beginning to have feelings for each other.  They make each other feel like they haven't in a long time, spare moments of freedom from the pain that they both bear.  But neither of them are ready for anything like this.  Quinton doesn't want to feel like he is betraying Lexi.  And Nova is still trying to deal with the death of her father and Landon.  She can't help Quinton when she can't help herself. I all too painfully know, you can't force someone to be happy, no matter how much you wish you could.

   The use of weed becomes Nova's quiet and solace.  Now she understood why Quinton and the others did the drugs that they did.  It helped, if only for just a moment.

...sometimes stuff happens and we find ourselves lost, and suddenly we're standing in a place we don't recognize and can't remember walking-or falling-there, and we're unsure how to get back or if we even want to.

   This book is so sad in some ways.  It hits home to me and I am sure to many more people.  It is a masterpiece of the pain and suffering one goes through when losing someone you love.  Not all of us cope in the same ways, and not all of us cope as well.  Death can be a difficult subject, and accepting it can be almost impossible.  Nova and Quinton both had seen so much of it in such close proximity that they shut down part of themselves just to go on living.  Life was hardly worth living to them anymore.  Instead of a world full of color, all they were seeing was the black, white, and grey.  Meeting each other caused that little spark of color to come back into their lives.  It took a while, but Nova started trying to deal more with her grief.  Quinton was not ready yet and dove further into his grief.  Even though this book has great sadness because of the stages of grief that we see these two go through, it is also about hope.  Hope that there is something better out there.  Hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

I know what I want in life. 
I want happiness. 
 I want hope. 
 I want a life.

*images via Jessica Sorensen
*quotes via Jessica Sorensen

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