Breakout cover image


  • Age Range: 9-14
  • Grade level: 4-8
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (June 5, 2018)
  • ISBN-10: 1681195364
  • ISBN-13: 978-1681195360

Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek–two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town’s maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same.

Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics–a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project–Breakout is a thrilling story that will leave readers thinking about who’s really welcome in the places we call home.

“Narrated by all three girls through letters, recorded conversations, and texts, this is an effective, authentically wrought look at how fear and ignorance can lead people to treat those of different races or from different places with suspicion…. Though the look at societal racism, as in the prison system, is well explained, it’s the racism Nora and Lizzie discover in themselves, and their desire to change it, that will linger with readers.”

~Publishers Weekly, starred review

“An accessible format and a unique focus on contemporary issues of criminal justice and racial bias make this an essential purchase.”

~School Library Journal, starred review

“A sensitive coming-of-age tale about waking up to injustice and where that knowledge can lead.”

~Kirkus Reviews

“Successfully balances excitement with larger issues, ripe for classroom discussion.”


“Timely and relevant.”

~The Horn Book Magazine


Activities and Extras

Start reading! Download a free excerpt from Breakout and start reading now.

Buy BREAKOUT from: