Page Count 336
Publication date September 2020/ Publisher SourceBooks Fire
FIVE friends go to a cabin.
FOUR of them are hiding secrets.
THREE years of history bind them.
TWO are doomed from the start.
ONE person wants to end this.
NO ONE IS SAFE.
Are you ready to play?
Even If We Break tells the story of a fractured group of friends reuniting at a cabin in the mountains for their final live action role playing game. The novel is split between each character POV and narration of the story they have woven for the LARP the group is performing.
This novel has a wonderfully diverse cast of characters including disabled trans Finn, nonbinary Ever and neurodiverse Maddy.
I felt Nijkamp was brilliant at describing Maddy’s reaction to stimuli, PTSD and drug addiction. Her insight into the characters thoughts and fears felt realistic and puts the reader right there in Maddy’s shoes- I should note I’m no authority on this having never lived it myself, but from what I’ve learned it seems authentic.
From the start Nijkamp hints at various secrets and past events for every character and you can feel the tension between them all as they struggle to enjoy themselves for one last hurrah.
As the RPG begins to bleed into their real lives we’re given insight to each characters secrets, suspicions and concerns. Each is well fleshed out and whilst the underlying plot is ghosts and murder, Even If We Break is very much a character driven story first and foremost.
For me the reveal of the perpetrator was lacklustre, their motives vague and nonsensical. The heart of this novel lies in the varying personalities and their views.
I highly recommend as a diverse read but come for the emotion rather than the storyline, this is no thriller.