The Breakaways by Cathy G. Johnson | Soccer + Sweet Fifth-Grader-ness (ARC Review)

The Breakaways by Cathy G. Johnson | Soccer + Sweet Fifth-Grader-ness (ARC Review)
The Breakaways

The Breakaways
Cathy G. Johnson
Published March 5th, 2019 by First Second
Middle Grade | Contemporary | Graphic Novel


The Breakaways is a sweet graphic novel about middle schooler Faith and how she navigates friendship and soccer.


Quiet, sensitive Faith starts middle school already worrying about how she will fit in. To her surprise, Amanda, a popular eighth grader, convinces her to join the school soccer team, the Bloodhounds. Having never played soccer in her life, Faith ends up on the C team, a ragtag group that’s way better at drama than at teamwork. Although they are awful at soccer, Faith and her teammates soon form a bond both on and off the soccer field that challenges their notions of loyalty, identity, friendship, and unity.

The Breakaways is a portrait of friendship in its many forms, and a raw and beautifully honest look into the lives of a diverse and defiantly independent group of kids learning to make room for themselves in the world.

– Goodreads

I’ve organized this review into two categories: things I liked and things I didn’t like.


It’s a sweet story about friendship, with relatable middle school struggles.

The Breakaways can be a little sad at times but it’s ultimately uplifting. (Think somewhere along the lines of the movie Eighth Grade—as far as the vibe, not the actual story). Faith is a sweet, shy, kinda lonely fifth grader who’s just trying to make friends, and I felt for her.

Girls in sports books!

Always something I love, although the soccer team in this book is actually terrible, so…

There’s lots of diversity.

There are a bunch of POC characters (including the main character). The protagonist is questioning her sexuality, and there are other LGBTQ+ characters as well, including non-straight characters and a boy who comes out as trans.


The book felt too short.

Everything happened so fast, and especially as the book is a graphic novel with a large cast of characters, I felt like some more length would do the book some good.

I didn’t understand the interspersed fantasy storyline.

Every now and again, there are a few pages of this fantastical subplot that I guess is Faith’s imagination, and it didn’t quite make sense to me.

Overall Thoughts

This book is a really sweet and wholesome graphic novel. Aside from the points mentioned above (and the fact that I wasn’t super into the art style, though I didn’t dislike it enough to put it in the dislikes section), I enjoyed The Breakaways. It’s sure to appeal to middle school kids who are going through similar struggles as Faith.

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(Click to read my reviews.)

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Let's Chat

Do you plan on reading The Breakaways? What are some of our favorite graphic novels? Let me know in the comments!

♥ Annie

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

One thought on “The Breakaways by Cathy G. Johnson | Soccer + Sweet Fifth-Grader-ness (ARC Review)

  1. Pingback: February ’19 Recap | Snow! Two 5-Star Reads! – Blossoms and Bullet Journals

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