Summary: Overnight, Nadine’s life has turned upside down. Her family is moving from downtown Toronto to Scarborough, and her parents are having another baby. At first it seems she’ll be able to keep her spot in the break dancing group “tha Klub,” but her move to the suburbs is used against her to force her out. An outsider at school and at home, Nadine turns to her break dancing for solace, discovering that you don’t have to be from the inner city to be a b-girl. When her dancing gets in the way of getting good grades at school and her parents discover she’s been lying about studying to form a b-girl group, she is immediately grounded and forbidden to dance. The pressure builds inside her until she breaks out, and the results just might get her the respect she’s always deserved.
Number of Pages: 304
Age Range: 14-16
Review: I have to admit being immersed in the world of break dancing was a bit of a stretch for me. But Jill Murray eased my transition with a book that explained everything and didn’t make me feel lost. Plus, when I was finished, I had gained a new respect for those who break dance. There was a beautiful quote in the book that was the equivalent to a light bulb going on in my head, and I finally understood the heart of break dancing.
Break On Through is an enjoyable, multi-layered read. There was a lot going on with the family dynamics and I was intrigued by Nadine’s observations that her baby sister would have completely different parents due to her parents’ ages at their respective births. It reminded me of Tibby’s situation in The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.
As for the break dancing itself, I loved the female power that Nadine and her friends were establishing with their girl group. I didn’t know that girl break dancers were looked down upon and discouraged and was therefore very happy when Nadine started dancing on her own without Sean’s ‘expert’ tutaledge. I also loved that Nadine realises break dancing is something that is inside of her. She’s driven to do it by her life experiences but it isn’t dictated by where she lives, even though others try to convince her it is.
I didn’t like Nadine’s parents until the end. There seemed to be some major communication problems in their family and when they gave Nadine tap shoes for Christmas it was abundantly clear that they did not understand her as a person. Perhaps they had good intentions with the gift, but it really backfired.
This is a strong read for female readers in terms of promoting self-esteem and I would recommend it for mid teens.
“Maybe there’s a curse where whatever you’re like, your children will turn out opposite. I’m going to keep that in mind when I have kids. If they join the AV club or Up With People, I won’t blame myself. I will trust them not to do exactly the same dumbass crap my parents did, and I will tell them things.” – Nadine from Break On Through by Jill Murray
“Like Kool Herc said in The Freshest Kids, b-girl – break-girl – has nothing to do with a beat or a dance. It means you’ve been to your breaking point. Sean and tha Klub may play it tough. They may pretend you need to be from the city to break. But I was never really broken until I moved to Rivercrest. The Klub tried to break me. My parents tried to break me. My school tried to break me. But I’m still here. I’m not giving my power back to anyone.” – Nadine from Break On Through by Jill Murray
“‘Yeah! Go Six Sky,’ another voice yells, even louder. It’s Barlog. The crowd cheers back, drowning out tha Klub. The support makes me smile, makes me grow an inch taller, a hundred pounds stronger. And then something happens to me. That something that’s been missing – my confidence, my inspiration, that feeling of how to move without thinking – with every shout of my crew and the crowd, it starts to come back.” – Nadine from Break On Through by Jill Murray