Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Amber J. Keyser
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Rakmen Cannon’s baby sister dies in his arms, and his family collapses. Accompanying his mother to Promise House, a support group for families who have lost a child, fifteen-year-old Rakmen encounters his biology teacher, Leah Tatlas, who is grieving her stillborn son. Leah's ten-year old daughter, Jacey, is unsettled by her mother’s volatile behavior and clings to Rakmen for protection and guidance. When summer arrives, Rakmen’s parents send him off with Leah and Jacey to a cabin in the Canadian woods. Still on edge by Leah’s explosive grief, the trio go au large—into the wilderness and the unknown—and Rakmen finally begins to heal. However, Leah badly breaks her ankle, and Jacey and Rakmen set off on a four-day journey to find help. During their rescue mission, Rakmen and Jacey learn that though life is full of grief and pain, it is indeed worth living.
The Way Back from Broken by Amber J. Keyser is a phenomenal story about love, loss, and learning to deal with pain. The book explores the way different people handle grief and the healing power of nature. The characters are compelling, and Keyser’s beautiful figurative language paints a poignant story that is hard to put down. Grieving a loved one is a hard subject to address, but Keyser treats the heavily emotional and traumatic experiences with an expert hand, and reading the book is a kind of therapy in and of itself. Readers should be advised that the book contains heavy emotional and traumatic themes. Overall, The Way Back from Broken is a beautifully written, deeply moving story about finding meaning in life after experiencing heartbreaking loss.
*Contains moderate language, mild sexual content, and mild violence