Beyond the Break
Author: Heather Buchta
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: June 2020
Rating: 4 Stars
For fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han, Beyond the Break is a funny and gorgeous debut about a girl experiencing her first love. Well, second, if you count her faith… and that’s where things may get complicated.
Seventeen-year-old Lovette has two rules in life. One: no surfing. Not after her brother’s accident. Two: absolutely, no dating. And going into her junior year of high school, she’s pretty happy with that arrangement. She has friends, her church youth group, and God to fall back on when things get dicey. But after Jake Evans walks into her life, following these two simple rules gets a lot more complicated.
Jake is the boy from Lovette’s childhood who grew up. Handsome and sweet, he unlocks the part of Lovette that wants nothing more than to surf the waves again. And as their relationship grows, she begins to question what it means to be faithful: to her family, to God, but mostly, to herself.
Told with humor and heart, Heather Buchta delivers a sparkling debut that asks the question: Can you fall in love, be a teenager, and also be a good Christian?
I first saw this book recommended on Instagram and put it on my Christmas list without fully reading the blurb. This book does deal with religion a lot, and it is a major plot point. I won’t lie, I was reading it for the romance and the surfing, so for me sometimes the religious aspect did detract from that, but that’s entirely my fault for not reading the synopsis properly!
This book was cute, it felt almost nostalgic, despite the fact that I’ve never had a romance with someone who surfs, and have never lived by the beach. But Lovette is a teenager searching for answers and figuring out who she is. This felt very relatable as most teenagers go through this phase of trying to understand what they want and who they are. Lovette’s is a little different as she is the only Christian in her family, having found God after her brother’s surfing accident, which caused her parents to ban surfing and the ocean. When she was twelve, she also decided to swear off dating and had set her own idea of what she wanted for her future herself. Lovette learns that people can change as they grow up and I found that really inspiring as she discovers what she is comfortable with and learns how others feel about certain things too.
‘All I can see right now is you. You make me make sense.’
Despite being banned from the ocean by her parents, Lovette has been swimming in it secretly every night for about four years. It is not until Jake Evans returns that she slowly begins to surf again. The romance in this book was quite cute and Jake was a great character. He recognised Lovette from Church Youth Group from when they were children before he moved away and quickly joined her friendship group. This was a sort of slow burn relationship, in the sense that Jake gave Lovette the space and time to figure out exactly what she wanted and I loved that he was respectful. I really enjoyed reading about their relationship and how surfing brought them together.
This book is about surfing, romance, and God, and how all three of those things can work together. Despite Lovette’s religious beliefs being very prevalent in this novel, I still enjoyed the cute romance.