________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 2. . . .September 15, 2017


Breaking Faith.

E. Graziani.
Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2017.
264 pp., trade pbk. & epub, $12.95 (pbk).
ISBN 978-1-77260-024-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77260-025-4 (epub).

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.

Review by Cate Carlyle.

*** /4



Itís heroin. Brian holds the cache in his hand like a pirate grasps plunder. He walks back into the living room with a plastic sack of powder that looks like sifted dirt. In his other hand heís got tinfoil, a lighter, and a small metal tube. A sober silence stretches between us as he lights the powder, which smells like burned barbecue sauce.

He teaches me how to chase the dragon and soon I feel Darkness lifting. It slips away, pushed by a surge of gentle euphoria. A warm flush swells on my skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities-like Iím not strong enough to lift my own arm-but I donít want to. I just want to feel it; the calm, and the peace, the stillness-even the nausea doesnít bother me. Sleepiness takes me next, and I go on the nod, an alternately wakeful and drowsy state.

Iím not sure if itís later that day or the day after, but Brian brings out another fold. His lips draw back as he takes in the smoke. After that, we do it again.


Faith Emily Hansen lives in Greenleigh, ON, with her disengaged Gran and her younger sister Destiny, but Faith is not your average middle class teenager. At the tender age of four, Faith witnessed a police shooting across the street from her house that had significant impact on her youth and resulted in Faithís undiagnosed PTSD. Faith and Destiny also struggle with the absence of their Momma (Lacey) who often disappears to Toronto with her drug dealer boyfriend and who spends some time in rehab battling mental illness and addiction. While Faith is still finding her way through middle school, Momma and her dealer die from drug abuse. Both Faith and Destiny love their older half-sister Constance, Mommaís other child with a very wealthy man who died tragically, but the sisters grow apart. Constance lives a privileged life with her paternal grandmother, and she gradually distances herself from the issues in Faithís household and the drama that surrounds their motherís substance abuse.

     All Faith wants out of life is a happy home life and to be loved. When Constance turns her back on Faith and expresses her embarrassment of the maternal side of her family, Faith spins out of control, ultimately turning to alcohol, marijuana and then heroin to numb her pain. Dishevelled, angry and lost, Faith runs away from home and spends time in shelters and living on the streets dealing with ďthe DarknessĒ inside her. Having hit rock bottom, a chance encounter with an elderly Jewish Holocaust survivor and intervention from her sister Constance finally bring Faith back from the brink and start her on the road to recovery.

     E. Grazianiís Breaking Faith features an 18-year-old narrator reflecting on her troubled youth and presenting a cautionary tale for teens. The YA novel describes Faithís downward spiral from her early home life, to her years in elementary, middle and high school with her sisters and Gran. The latter chapters are quite dark and gritty, graphically depicting a drug-addicted teenagerís life on the streets. Graziani does not shy away from scenes involving gang rape, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, theft and violence. Breaking Faith deals with these serious issues in an honest and authentic manner. A gripping read that will impact even the most jaded teenager.


Cate Carlyle is a librarian at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, NS.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

© CM                    This Creative Commons license allows you to download the review and share it with others as long
Association          as you credit the CM Association. You cannot change the review in any way or use it commercially.

Hosted by the      Commercial use is available through a contract with the CM Association. This Creative Commons
University of        license allows publishers whose works are being reviewed to download and share said CM reviews
Manitoba.             provided you credit the CM Association.

Next Review | Table of Contents For This Issue - September 15, 2017
CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive