Cover Image: Break the Glass

Break the Glass

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Member Reviews

In Break the Glass by Olivia Swindler, a charming, college town gets disrupted by scandal, and the prestigious, award-winning athletic program may be on the verge of disintegrating. From the perspective of four different women, you learn what happened and the fallout from it. One woman is the wife of the fired athletic coach, another is a young professor with secrets, the next is a young woman fulfilling an internship requirement, and the other is the new athletic coach who takes on an unforgiving position after the original coach is fired.

When I first saw this book, I thought it sounded intriguing. I loved the college campus setting and the excitement of Division I football with all its drama and fanfare. I was looking for juicy secrets, outrageous reveals, and surprising outcomes. Unfortunately, it does not deliver those. Most of the book and its secrets felt underwhelming to me. I kept hoping that the shocking news would come from the last part of the book, but it felt sort of dry.

The characters feel very one-dimensional and merely surface. One character comes from a distinctive background, which I thought would make the character react in different, unexpected ways. After a few mentions of her background, they disappear into the book, never to be heard about again. I couldn't really find the motivation behind some of the scandals either except maybe greed. Some characters shared past associations, but I never saw why they were so shocking.

When all the secrets come to light, again, I felt underwhelmed and didn't really care. One scene where a few characters find out some important information by accident seemed very formulaic and manufactured. It was a little too perfect that they were in the right place at the right time.

I will commend the author on focusing on the female characters and presenting them as strong women. The story has a good premise, but the execution just feels too drab. I kept hoping for more scandal and more depth for the characters, but I felt disappointed with the results on the page.

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This book was great, it felt fresh and not like anything else I've read lately. It kept me intrigued all the way through, I didn't want to put it down.

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"Break the Glass" by Olivia Swindler is a novel that offers an intricate exploration of personal growth and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Swindler's narrative navigates through the complexities of life's trials and tribulations, aiming to provide readers with a story that resonates with themes of overcoming obstacles and finding strength within oneself.

The novel is set against a backdrop that is both familiar and intriguing, allowing the reader to dive into a world that is easy to relate to, yet rich with emotional depth. Swindler crafts her characters with care, imbuing them with a sense of realism that makes their journeys and struggles feel genuine. The protagonist, in particular, is portrayed with a blend of vulnerability and determination, making their story a focal point for readers to engage with.

Swindler's writing style is fluid and accessible, making "Break the Glass" a comfortable read for a wide audience. Her descriptive language and attention to detail paint vivid scenes, helping to immerse the reader in the world she has created. The dialogue between characters is realistic and contributes effectively to the development of their relationships and the overall narrative arc.

However, some readers may find the pacing of the story to be uneven at times, with certain sections moving quickly and others seeming to lag. This variation in pacing might affect the reader's engagement with the story, depending on their personal preference for narrative rhythm.

The themes of "Break the Glass" are both its strength and, for some, a point of contention. While the novel adeptly addresses issues such as self-discovery, resilience, and the power of human connection, it does so in a manner that some might find to be somewhat predictable. The story follows a familiar trajectory seen in many tales of personal growth, which could lead to a sense of déjà vu for seasoned readers of the genre.

Moreover, the resolution of the novel's central conflicts might not satisfy all readers. While Swindler aims to conclude the story on a note of hope and redemption, some may find the conclusion to be too neatly tied up, lacking the complexity and nuance that the buildup seems to promise.

In summary, "Break the Glass" by Olivia Swindler is a heartfelt novel that succeeds in telling a story of courage and personal evolution. Its accessible prose, relatable characters, and meaningful themes make it a worthwhile read for those interested in stories of overcoming adversity. However, its predictable plot and uneven pacing may not appeal to everyone, leaving some readers desiring a bit more depth and originality. Overall, Swindler's work is a commendable effort that resonates with warmth and sincerity, even if it doesn't break new ground in the genre.

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Nora Bennet’s boss, Sal Higgins, has been fired from his position as athletic director at Renton University. She’s interim AD now, and she knows that she has to work harder to prove herself. Sal is accused not only of an alcohol addiction but also of asking professors for favours to get the athletes to pass their subjects.

Anne is an intern in the sports department. Hired by Sal, she finds herself beginning work on the day that Sal is fired, when the department is beset with chaos.

Alexis is a teacher in the English department. Her boyfriend, Beau, is the assistant coach. She and Beau are both questioned by investigators from the NCAA.

Lauren Higgins is blamed by her husband, Sal, for all his indiscretions. She also finds herself under the scanner of the NCAA investigators.

Break the Glass refers to the glass ceiling broken by Nora as she works in sports as athletic director, a male-dominated world. It’s also the glass behind which the fire extinguisher is encased, a reminder of the resolution to be brought about when disaster strikes.

The first chapter of the story began on a high. It brought out the fact that women have to work twice as hard but don't receive the appreciation. But after that, this book was a letdown.

The story is written in the first person past tense PoV of Nora, Anne, Alexis and Lauren. Four PoVs is too many, and we don’t find ourselves caring for any of them. There is nothing of note in any of the PoVs, no action or plot development that takes the story forward.

It doesn’t help that all four PoVs sound exactly the same with not much of a voice distinguishing one from another. Even the vocabulary and expressions used are exactly the same.

The four characters are flat caricatures, who take themselves far too seriously. Even the manner in which the resolution is arrived at is bland. One of the characters has a brainwave that hints at a resolution.

There was no point to Anne telling us that she was of Moroccan origin. The detail made barely any impact on the story and felt forced.

All the characters, major and minor alike, are somehow linked. Nora’s husband, Nathan, is the dean of the English department where Alexis teaches. Alexis’s boyfriend, Beau, is the assistant football coach, where Nora is the AD. Alexis’s cousin, Mason Pont, is the journalist who breaks the story. Joel Bonne, the president of Renton University, is a very dear friend of Lauren. Also, Lauren’s nephew Graham works in the University’s compliance department.

The narrative, more tell than show, is taken forward at various points throughout the day by the four PoV characters. It is interspersed with the occasional news report. There are grammatical errors which mar the reading experience further.

Even though this book was about football, the author didn’t describe a single game in a manner that would convey the excitement of watching a live match. It was all about the fans, the spectators, the buzz in the stadium.

I struggled with this book, wanting to set it aside several times. It was always more of the same. Nothing by way of plot progression, until very late in the book. For two-thirds of the book, it’s the slow investigation and how the characters react to it. The dialogues are a repetition.

I finally gave up at the 75 percent mark and jumped to the end.

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Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to receive this book for an honest review.

I did not realize this was a scandal at a university. It focuses on the ahe corruption with the athletc dept.
It is told from different ponts of view.

I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I did.

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Thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy, for an honest review.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book which is told from a variety of female perspectives. It also introduced me to the corruptions within US college athletics programmes, something about which I was unaware living in the UK.
I felt invested in many of the characters and loved the different perspectives.
Great pacing, which kept me wanting to read just one more chapter.

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I work at a Big10 institution so this book was of particular interest to me. Many things were familiar - the constant angst between academics and athletics and the childish behaviors of the well-educated. I found the cast of characters to be confusing: too many convenient familial relationships with every other person seeming to be someone's cousin or aunt or friend of the family from way back. Maybe it's because most of this material wasn't novel to me but overall, the book fell flat.

I felt the student intern character didn't behave like a typical student - even though her roommate was supposed to be the staid "old soul" who loved learning for the sake of learning. Anna, the intern, was simply too mature for the undergrads I am familiar with. Also, the good old boys were being good old boys - maintaining their side gigs and covering up wrongdoing while trying to keep the emotional woman leader in her place.

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The ending is well done and the story is well paced. Overall I enjoyed this and would recommend it. Special Thank You to Olivia Swindler, Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to read a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC of this book. I read approximately half of the book, but unfortunately came to the conclusion that this book isn’t for me.

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As y'all could easily figure out, I love a good thriller. What I love even more is a thriller with a new spin and really great twists. And that was absolutely what this book was. Told through the eyes of four women, a scandal and subsequent firing of an athletic director rocks a college town. Each of these women has a unique perspective - There's Nora (the now interim AD), Lauren (the disgraced AD's wife), Anne (the intern whose literal first day is the day after the story breaks, and Alexis (an English professor who had athletes in her class). I loved the way that each of these women brought a unique perspective to the story and how these overlapped and intersected as the story went. There were some solid twists along the way that even got a "WHAT?!" out of me, and it was just an engaging thriller all around. Thanks to NetGalley for the look at this recent release!

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This was a great, quick read. Kept me guessing who was involved and how. Interesting to read for the perspective of a woman in power in college sports. I always like books that are written from multiple perspectives. I will be reading @oliviaswindler first book for sure!

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I am not sure what attracted me to this book in order to ask for it, but it didn’t pan out. This was literally a book about women defining themselves on the unachievable standrard set by those with a penis. You cannot do well without one and there is no other metric. And yet they tried. Instead of redefining we got a lot of failing.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for this eARC.

1. Academia - Check
2. Women supporting women - Check
3. Short chapters - Check

This was a recipe for a book I would absolutely devoured - and I did. What a great story.

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I am a sucker for books set in the world of academia, and this drama/mystery fit me to a tee! A great premise which was flawlessly executed. Loved the plot and couldn’t wait to get to the resolution!

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Break the Glass by Olivia Swindler was a page-turner. It has short chapters that lead the reader to keep wanting to turn the page.

The novel has a "small-town" feel and is set at a contemporary campus. There multiple main female characters surrounding a scandal where the head athletic directer, Sal has just been fired for bribing professors and laundering money.

Nora has just been tagged as the interim AD after a scandal involving her boss, Sal Higgins, is brought to light. Higgins has been accused of bribing professors to change athletes' grades among other indiscretions. In the wake of the scandal, many donors and alum are unhappy that a female is now driving the bus in the athletic department. Can she clean up this mess, right the ship, and prove she is more than a Title IX hire?

Anne is Nora's brand new intern. She knows very little about sports and her start date just happens to be the day the scandal breaks. She will find herself in some tricky situations.

Lauren is Sal's wife. After breaking the news to her, he disappears leaving her with more questions than answers as to what his misdeeds entailed. Lauren has always been Sal's fixer, but will she be able to fix it this time?

Alexis is an English professor on campus. She has been secretly dating a football coach. How will she navigate her relationship without drawing herself further into the scandal?

I enjoyed the theme of women supporting women in this novel. I wish the characters had been a little more developed, especially Nora and Nathan. There were a lot of characters to keep track of in this story which will no doubtably turn some readers away. Thanks to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for this ARC.

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Break the Glass tells the story of a university’s athletic department that is rocked by scandal told from the viewpoints of four women. I felt like I knew each of the women since they were so well-developed. I really enjoyed this book, and I am not a big fan of college sports. Thank you, NetGalley, for the advance reader copy of this book.

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A small college town is rocked by scandal and four women suddenly find themselves stuck in the crosshairs.

Told from their perspectives, each is close to the scandal and has a lot to lose. As the media and internal investigations create chaos, secrets and further scandals are revealed, and the whole world of college sports is watching closely.

My Thoughts:
This book is based around college sports and mainly football which are generally not my areas of interest. That being said, Olivia Swindler has created a really interesting set of dynamic characters that keep the reader engaged.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved the characters and even though this isn’t the type of book I would normally be drawn into, I really enjoyed the world that was created

What I loved most was the strong female characters who supported each other throughout the whole book! There was no turning on each other or stepping over each other to get what they want. These women wanted the best for each other and it showed in all of their relationships.

Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union Publishing and the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review

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This is the story of four women (told through multiple POVs) who have to deal with the fallout of a campus scandal featuring their Athletics director. These include the replacement director, his wife, his intern and a fellow professor. This story gave an interesting insight into the management of university departments and the sexism that women have to endure. I enjoyed the story and found it hard to put down. Quite a short book, it was an easy, entertaining read.

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💭: Break the Glass follows four women as they traverse through a scandal that rocks the athletic department. I enjoyed seeing multiple perspectives of the same events, but felt like the 4 different POVs was a tad confusing. I would have loved to be able to become more invested into each women’s life. The multiple perspectives also contributed to a slower pace throughout.

💭: I did find it incredibly cool that Olivia comes from the sports realm which informed her writing really well. While the ending wrapped up incredibly nicely, it fell somewhat flat compared to the build up of the investigation. We spend 97% of the book on the investigation to have the resolution be completed in just a few pages.

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I loved the pace of this novel. The author penned it in such a way that I could read it with ease in just 2 sittings. I'm not into sports trope. But then tried this book and I think this is giving me such an insight of the world of women sports.

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