Title: Before I Break (Before I Break #1)
Author Name: Alec John Belle
Publication Date & Length: September 7, 2014 – 306pgs
When religiously raised Cyril Hayes begins his junior year at East Hill High School, every choice he makes suffers a greater consequence, and while facing challenges of friends, family, and love, learns that hate and intolerance are also a very large part of our world today.
Cyril Hayes is seemingly just like any other male his age. He has the perfect girlfriend, Melissa Summers, his best friend, Jake Rivers, and a lawyer father who brings home enough money to support his family and then some. When Cyril begins his junior year, he doesn’t expect his life to spiral out of control when he meets Avery Branson, the new kid in school who has a big secret: he’s gay. At first, Cyril doesn’t handle this truth well, due to the way he was raised, but as the story progresses, he ventures deep into the reality of homosexuality and begins to accept Avery for who he is.
Not everyone is happy with Cyril’s new friend, including Jake, who believes that homosexuality is a sin and is refusing to budge his beliefs. But Avery isn’t the only one at East Hill with secrets, and soon a tragedy will strike, knocking Cyril’s world completely off balance and leaving a scar on his heart that will change his view of humanity all together.
This is a wonderful story because it shows that no matter what you are told in your church regarding gays it only takes meeting one to change your mind. This is what happens to Cyril. It begins with Cyril Hayes, his girlfriend, Melissa Summers and Jake Rivers, his best friend on the first day of school. Cyril is very excited about starting his junior year. A new student, Avery Branson, enters Cyril’s class and he feels the need to be Avery’s first friend. Avery is apprehensive and wants nothing to do with Cyril.
Upon reading this and knowing how high school is, I thought maybe Avery is aloof. He may think he is too good for the students in the school. However, when I read Avery’s poem that is between chapters you know right away that Avery is not aloof at all, he is this way so he doesn’t suffer any more pain. You can feel the pain he suffers by reading the numerous poems throughout the book. I thought it was an excellent way of knowing how Avery was feeling without telling. They serve as flashbacks as well.
The friendship between Avery and Cyril is up and down. Cyril has been taught by his church that God hates gays that it has been drilled into his brain for so many years that he believes it. Cyril does not know that Avery is gay at first. I cringed when Avery does tell Cyril, because I knew how he would react. He freaks out, screaming, stating he felt used. He does apologize and Avery does eventually forgive him.
There is a running story line though out about Jake realizing that Cyril is spending more time with Avery. Jake can’t understand why he wants to spend more time with a gay guy. It could be because they went to the same church. Cyril realizes he has more in common with Avery than Jake.
The ending of the book moved me to tears. Jake is mentally unstable and does something unthinkable because of the church’s teachings. Jake has to suffer the consequences of his actions as well.
Alec John Belle is an online high school student that resides in the state of Massachusetts. His hobbies include reading, writing, and trying to find out who “A” is on Pretty Little Liars. He writes about tough topics that many are too afraid to talk about like suicide, homosexuality, self harm, cyberbullying, anxiety disorders, addiction, and other teenage issues, and he often blends these ideas with the paranormal. Before I Break is his first novel.
Before I Break is an Amazon Bestseller in LGBT Issues of Teen Fiction, and a sequel titled Once I Fall is set to hit Amazon December 15, 2015. His new paranormal young adult series, The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles, is set to release it’s first three books in 2015.
Alec John Belle has an active Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and previously Blogger before coming to WordPress.