Cover Image: Breaking Bailey

Breaking Bailey

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Member Reviews

When I was in middle school/high school, I read Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky which are two books in this “series” (it’s not really a series but I’m not sure what would be a better term… companion novels maybe?) and found them captivating. I’ve always been drawn to stories about tougher topics like drug addiction and mental illness so it’s really no surprise to me that I enjoyed them so much. With that said, when I saw Breaking Bailey available for request on NetGalley, I had to get in on it. Breaking Bailey is an enjoyable, if not entirely believable, read about the dangers of peer pressure and drug use and remains similar to its predecessors while still offering something new.

The one thing that sticks out to me now about Breaking Bailey in particular but about all of these books more generally is that the books really have this, like, 1990s “drugs are the devil” type of mentality. And that’s not to say that I think drugs are good, but these books always end catastrophically whereas in real life? Plenty of people overcome addiction and go on to live happy, fulfilling, productive lives. So the message that these books are sending young people is very bleak and nihilistic and not necessarily a good reflection of reality.

However, as a reader that loves reading about dark, difficult-to-handle topics, I loved this book! Seeing Bailey go from the new kid in school who’s kind of shy and feeling left out to her becoming part of the “in crowd” that everyone else has been rejected from was interesting – especially considering what she had to agree to to be let in. That part in my post’s title saying that “Breaking Bailey” is a nod to Breaking Bad? Yeah, Bailey and her friends cook meth. Bailey loves chemistry and while she’s initially hesitant to get involved with the “Science Club” (what they refer to themselves as), she likes the opportunity to put her chemistry skills to the test and feel like she’s a part of something. Is this the most believable thing in the world? Probably not. I mean, these 4 kids are running a huge drug ring all on campus at a boarding school and they never get caught or in any sort of real trouble? Come on. Plus, I’m pretty sure most people would not so quickly and easily make the jump from “holy sh*t these kids are cooking meth” to “well it’s just chemistry so whatever, I’m in” as Bailey did. But hey, I get it – the book kind of ends there if she doesn’t.

Of course, there’s also a romance. Quite honestly, I did think Bailey and Warren were cute together. At first. But he quickly starts to manipulate her and kind of turn her against other people – specifically her roommate who happens to also be his ex-girlfriend – as well as get her involved in increasingly shady stuff which is where his charm ended for me. I will say, however, I think that it is (sadly) a somewhat accurate portrayal of how a lot of people’s first “real” relationships go (minus the drugs, hopefully).

All in all, I picked up Breaking Bailey for the nostalgic factor it offered me and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a quick read despite being almost 400 pages long and when things start to heat up, it’s hard to put the book down. Although it’s perhaps not the most realistic story in the world, it is an entertaining one and really… what more can I ask for?

Who would I recommend to? Readers who enjoy stories about dark topics like drug addiction or who enjoy books written in a diary format.

Who should stay away? People looking for a very realistic story or who are uncomfortable with stories that discuss more serious issues.
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As always, anonymous releases a gripping story that has be up all night until I turn that lazy page. The writing and story telling gets me every single time.
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Bailey is a high schools student starting her first year at a pretentious boarding school. As most high schoolers would be, she is worried about making friends and settling in, but she never could have imagined the friends she would fall in with a group who calls themselves the Science Club and provides half of the town with homemade meth. Breaking Bailey dealt not only with teenage drug addiction but also with teenage drug distribution. Bailey is stuck between her friends and her morals and ultimately has to decide which is more important. The reader can feel her pain through each diary entry as she is pulled further and further into trouble that she never expected she would ever fall into. There is fantastic character development with Bailey, because it her diary, but the rest of the characters felt grey in comparison and seemed very shallow. I would have liked to see more of their personalities. Overally, I really, really enjoyed this book. I felt the ache in my own gut as I watched Bailey on her journey and I think this is a fantastic book on a topic that is very underrepresented in the young adult world.
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Bailey is trying to keep her mind off her mother’s death as she begins her life at a new school.  Her dad has moved on and even has a new wife to go with his new life.  She knew this boarding school would be hard, but she did not expect to be taken in by a group of students calling themselves the “Science Club.”  Although they are very smart students, they don’t study when they are together.  They are using their brains to make drugs and sell them in the local community.  Now Bailey has money and a boyfriend, but it seems her academics cannot keep up with this highly demanding extracurricular activity.  Will Bailey follow the crowd in order to stay accepted?  Is there a line that Bailey is not willing to cross?

Breaking Bailey is a stand-alone novel about the slippery slope that comes with drugs.  Whether the person is a drug manufacturer, drug seller or drug user … there are issues that get murkier as time continues on.   Readers who enjoyed Go Ask Alice will be drawn to this title, yet the story in these pages is not as heart gripping as the other story.  I haven’t read too many books about the people who actually make the drugs, so that was different, but overall it was just a good read.  Many readers will enjoy it, but it won’t be as popular as Go Ask Alice.
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Wow. This book was so super powerful. I had a hard time putting it down so I could work and sleep. If you liked Go Ask Alice, then you'll enjoy this book. It's a hard look at being addicted to pills and going to a school where it seems everyone does drugs. There's also the dealing aspect of it - that was hard to read too. I felt uncomfortable and sick while reading this, which is the point. This isn't some fluffy story. This is the reality of drug use, and it was written so well.
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I actually never read Go Ask Alice even though I’ve heard all about it and this book soundedery similar except in a different setting. I had always thought that even though Go Ask Alice was written anonymously, it was a true story. I’m not sure why I thought that, but this book made me realize maybe they aren’t real stories. I mean, yes, these stories probably happened in some capacity to someone somewhere, but they aren’t necessarily perfectly accurate. There’s no way this book was a real diary of a girl in private school. Even though they definitely got some aspects right: the pressure and stress, copious amounts of homework, etc. but it just didn’t seem quite realistic enough to me. It only bothered me a little bit to realize that this couldn’t be a real diary,
I think the book could have been a lot shorter, it became very repetitive at times. I liked Bailey okay, but she wasn’t very insightful or special. She didn’t have a unique personality or perspective. The only thing that made her interesting at all was her mother’s death. The ending was disappointing and honestly kind of lazy. It was a quick read, though, and I did enjoy it. Fans of Go Ask Alice will probably also enjoy this one.
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Much like Go Ask Alice, this book is way too much about crazy dramatics. What kind of bothers me about these sort of books is that they end up sounding like afterschool specials.
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i received this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

this book is definitely reminiscent of go ask alice, but so much better written. it’s been years since i read go ask alice, but i was so surprised when i realized that this writing was leaps and bounds better. at times, it was really pretentious, and some parts were really cringe-worthy and very unbelievable in terms of teenagers, but it was still so much better. not perfect, and still amateur, but better. 

the plot is obviously vaguely the same, a girl who gets addicted to drugs and her spiral with said addiction. this one is different in that it’s a girl who is in a prestigious school and seems to have her life remotely together, up until she discovers a group of kids that are making meth in their school’s abandoned science building.

this storyline definitely drew me in, and it tugged at my heart strings. it wasn’t just about the drugs and the school, it was about abusive friendships and relationships. having been in an abusive relationship myself in the past, it was really painful to see this girl get so easily manipulated and fall down this rapid decline of cat and mouse with her boyfriend. like for fucks sake, this was the most realistic part of the book.

i can’t really say i’d recommend this book to anybody, because i didn’t really care for it, nor do i think it’s anything revolutionary, but if you have a few hours to breeze through it and don’t mind an average drug story, then go for it.
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