4.2 14
by Andrea Montalbano

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LJ knows her place in the world is on the soccer field. When she’s out there scoring goals, everything’s right. But being a big-shot on the field has started going to her head. She’s been letting her temper get the best of her—both on the field and off, alienating everyone around her. Everyone except Tabitha, the popular girl who cares more


LJ knows her place in the world is on the soccer field. When she’s out there scoring goals, everything’s right. But being a big-shot on the field has started going to her head. She’s been letting her temper get the best of her—both on the field and off, alienating everyone around her. Everyone except Tabitha, the popular girl who cares more about credit cards than yellow cards and spends most of her time on the bench. But when it’s LJ on the bench instead of Tabitha, forced to be a spectator instead of a star, she realizes that sometimes it takes more skill and guts to make others look good instead of yourself. And that by losing a little glory, you can win more than just championships.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Montalbano, who played soccer as a child and in college, taps into her love and knowledge of the game in her fast-paced debut novel. Initial descriptions of 12-year-old Lily's passion for soccer can be a little much, but the prose soon lightens ("Lily mentally lumped the dads at the game into two categories: Berries and Nuts. The Berries were the one with BlackBerries in holsters.... The Nuts were the dads who took the game way too seriously"). Lily is determined to lead her team to victory in the league championship, which they lost in the finals the year before. Her plan to impress a coach who's scouting for a select team backfires when she hogs the ball, resulting in a two-game suspension. Lily's interactions with family members and with two very different friends are as credible as the on-field action, as she learns the importance of teamwork in all aspects of her life. A crackerjack, play-by-play account of the season finale brings the story to a winning ending. It's an ideal pick for readers more interested in scoring goals than boyfriends. Ages 9–12. (May)
Children's Literature - Kirsten Shaw
Twelve-year-old Lily James lives and breathes soccer. Nothing feels more natural to her than moving down the pitch with the ball at her feet. When she learns that the state select coach is coming to the game just to see her, she knows she has to impress him—her dream is on the line. But when she blows her chance and is benched for the remainder of the season because of her selfish behavior, she learns that there is more to life than just being the best, like a loving family and good friends. Montalbano provides a great lesson about humility and forgiveness as Lily struggles to come to terms with her failure and her friend's success. Breakaway is a welcome addition to sports literature written especially for girls. Readers will want to be familiar with the sport, as technical jargon is used throughout the book, but it is not a necessity. This is a story any girl that wants to be the best in anything she does can relate to. Reviewer: Kirsten Shaw
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Lily, 12, is the star of her soccer travel team. When her coach notices that her temper tantrums and self-centeredness prevent her from being the team player she could be, he benches her. There are several didactic monologues interspersed among some excellent play-by-play action scenes as Lily learns to overcome her disappointment and gain a better perspective. Montalbano brings a bit of humor to the story by describing parents of players as either "Berries or Nuts"—those who occasionally glance up at a game between texting on their BlackBerries and those who are overly obsessed with their child's performance on the field. Even though Lily's thorough transformation appears to be a bit abrupt, soccer-playing readers will recognize some of her traits either in themselves or in others and enjoy this tale of friendship through teamwork.—Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old Lily is a soccer dynamo. Along with her best friend and teammate Vee, she longs to be chosen for the state select team. The volatile combination of Lily's short temper and single-minded focus on personal success not only causes her to be suspended from her team, however, but also costs her that coveted spot on the state team. Under the gentle guidance of her coach, Lily's forced inactivity leads to her reevaluate her goals both on and off the field. Montalbano's love of the game is clearly evident in the detailed, technical descriptions of each play. Her depiction of youth sports tackles fanatical fans, overbearing parents and jealous peers. While the action is fast-paced, the story line takes a few detours, with several intriguing subplots that are hinted at yet remain unexplored. Although readers may find this frustrating, how Lily learns to manage herself and her game remains compelling and provides a valuable life lesson for both her and readers. Perhaps a sequel is in order? (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
710L (what's this?)
File size:
155 KB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Andrea Montalbano lives in Bronxville, New York.

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Breakaway 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Jillian Stack More than 1 year ago
This book is favorite book of all time.this is a book worth reading
Mother-Daughter-Book-Club More than 1 year ago
Lily was born to play soccer, or at least that's how she felt the first time she kicked a soccer ball. She's good at it too, the best on her team. But when she finds out the hard way that what she thinks is best for her isn't always best for her team or her family and friends, she must work to earn back everyone's trust. Breakaway by Andrea Montalbano is a great book for any girl who loves to play soccer or even watch from the sidelines. Lily's confidence in her ability to play the game is a good primer for girls to learn how to recognize their skills and use them. Her struggle to look outside herself and learn how to recognize what others have to offer will resonate with anyone who's ever heard the phrase "there is no 'I' in the word team." I recommend it for girls aged 9 to 12.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I, myself play soccer. I really liked reading this book. I is something I can relate to a lot. I am not as competitive as Lily, my dad says that I am like Vee. This book is something I eally recommend. If you want realistic fiction, this would be my top choice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was so fanstastic i could not put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a very good book. I really like the way it is written and makes you feel as if this book relates to you. I was very glad that I had choose this for my first book club meeting because it was indeed a score!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is easy to relate to i am a soccer player so i can connect
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very interesting and is easy to relate to
Lily Camp More than 1 year ago
Totally worth reading. One of the best books EVER!!!!!!!!!
Zeyawill224 More than 1 year ago
The book Breakaway by Andrea Montalbano is basically about a girl (Lily James) who loves soccer. She learns that winning isn't everything and she has to face that losing is a part of life. Once you pick up this book you're in heaven. It's impossible to put down. Lily's life is all about soccer. Its her passion, and it keeps her motivated. When she's out on the field scoring goals she feels good. She's that star of her soccer team but its getting to her head. When her temper get the best of her on the field and off the field it starts changing her life. It's affecting everybody that knows LJ except Tabitha. She spends most of the time on the bench. She cares more about other things than about soccer. When LJ is put on the bench and Tabitha starts playing LJ notices some things. She notices things about Tabitha, the game of soccer, and obviously about herself. She learns that skills aren't enough to make others better. She learns that being a real teammate is the way to win championships. If this book had 10 star rating I would rate it 9 stars because it's one of my favorite books but it doesn't have the stuff my favorite book has. This book is great for people who play sports and if they are the superstar of the team because this book gives you the message of being a team player. Also if you love soccer this is your book to read. Soccer isn't really my sport but you got to read this book. This book isn't that long but, it will take you 2-3 days to read. Why play games when you can pick up this great book right now!
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Cool and really good and realistic