Annie Hughes’ debut novel, Breaking Free: Una Familia Segura, was our book club’s Book of the Month in April, and I have been intending to spotlight it ever since. Sadly it hasn’t happened yet (though I will include my review and the reviews of some of our other members at the end of this posting) but I was pleased to have the opportunity to host a spot on her blog tour. Anna, the main character is a teen, with an unexpected strength and maturity gained from an unspeakable childhood. She is a character you won’t soon forget – and I’m pleased to tell you a sequel is coming soon. So without further ado, meet Anna and her new found family!
Author: Annie Hughes
Book: Breaking Free: Una Familia Segura (Breaking Free #1)
Anna Rosa Castillo is unlike most 16 year old girls.
She doesn’t care for clothes or make up, nor does she giggle with her friends about hot guys. Coming from a small town in the North of England, where drugs and criminals are at the top of the food chain, Anna’s life is an impossible mixture of pain and sorrow. Drawing and tattoos are her only way of escaping the tortures that consume her at home. She lives by only one rule – do whatever he says, and she might live long enough to get away.
All that changes when a fatal night lands the monster of her nightmares in a prison cell and herself in a hospital bed, staring into the eyes of a father she has never known.
The addition of a father and family turns Anna’s life upside-down, thrusting her into a world she could never understand. Inner demons and unspeakable memories claw at her as she tries to build a relationship with her new family. But with her past looming over her new life, will she be able to break free?
Buy Links –
Breaking Free: Learning to Fly (book #2)
With the horrific tortures of her past finally behind her it’s time for Anna to move forward and get on with her life.
Her family and her friends by her side, she is suddenly sprung into the life of a normal teenager with normal teenage problems.
But can she really forget about what happened to her?
Can she overcome the deep seeded issues she still has inside?
Can it really all be over?
Annie Hughes has been writing since she was a little girl, never leaving the house with a notebook. As a corporate stooge and single mother, she spends all of her free time reading, writing and drinking too much coffee (wine). Annie has a strong passion for the literary world and before writing her book, spent all of her time reviewing others. She also enjoys talking with all that read her book(s), her philosophy being that readers and authors are all part of the same world – a world where they are all enthusiastic about words.
Find me links –
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/anniehughesauthor
Street Team https://www.facebook.com/groups/AnnieHughes/
My Review of Breaking Free: Una Familia Segura
This is the second book I’ve read with a fabulous book group, and I cannot give enough praise to the way it adds to my connection with a book. At times it is hard to limit myself to the chapter or two a day, but it is so worth it for the section by section dissection with fellow readers.
Kudos to Annie on a fabulous debut! The emotional roller coaster is intoxicating. This is the story of Anna, anything but your typical teenage girl. There is definitely a Cinderella-esque theme, but few literary characters deserve it as much as this girl. As Anna’s backstory unfolds as she bonds with her new found family, you will definitely find yourself gasping and possibly reaching for a tissue or two. I feel Annie did a fantastic job of portraying Anna in a realistic way for someone who has been through such traumas.
Written for a YA audience, and the sexual and violent content are implied more than explicit, but I will still keep my recommendation to the older and more mature end of the YA spectrum. As a mother of teenagers, I viewed this book from a much different perspective than the target audience, but found it quite moving regardless. As another review has mentioned, I did question some of the parenting choices, which is why I added the older addendum to my recommendation.
Overall a very satisfying debut and I will definitely be watching for more to come from this sure to be up and coming author.
Other Reviews From Our Book Club:
“Breaking Free is a good story for a YA audience. It deals with some very adult issues and puts a bit of a Cinderella spin, with a new family playing the role of Prince Charming, on finding strength and courage in others. When we meet Anna, she is beaten, physically and emotionally and now being carried off by a father she never knew to a home across an ocean. The story follows the following months in her new life and how she deals with the ghosts of her past.
What’s good about this story, again is that it is written for YA’s. Teenagers will be able to relate to Anna and her view on her new life. Money, security, prestige, and love. The life every child wants. The sexual content and violence is mostly inferred and done in memories, but it is there. As I parent, I feel it necessary to also say that the parents views on underage drinking in the novel really bugged me, quite a bit.
But overall, this was a good story with a happy ending.”
“This was such a great read. Annie wrote Anna’s story so beautifully you can’t help but feel the emotions with the characters. The main character, Anna is just 16 years old and yet has had to deal with some adult events in her life. She is a character you just want to hug and protect. This is why I loved David, Mel and Logan, they came into Anna’s life and became her protectors and support system. With Anna’s new family came New found strength within herself. I read this book with a book club and I had such a hard time sticking to the 2 chapters a day schedule. I just didn’t want to put it down, I wanted to know what happened next. Now I can’t wait for Annie’s next book.”
“This novel Annie Hughes created is wonderful! The main character of the story, Anna, is a young 15/16 year old girl, who comes from a very slummy part of London. Doesn’t have enough food to eat, is malnourished, doesn’t have hardly any friends, doesn’t have anyone she can trust. She has some very bad things happen in her short life. She finds out she has an American Dad David, who comes and rescues her. He brings her back to the US, and loves her, gains her trust, feeds her, gives her clothes that are brand new, not hand me downs. She finally lets her guard down, and begins to trust him, and love him and his family.”
“This wonderfully written debut novel took me through a wide range of emotions. Any story that can touch me so deeply, is a story worth reading again and again. Can’t wait to read more from Annie Hughes!”
“It’s easy to forget that really bad things happen to those around us on a regular basis. It’s inspirational reading about a victim who continues to push through. 16-year-old Anna has had to face so much in life and yet, she continues to fight to overcome her demons. This story is touching, fun, encouraging, and Annie Hughes gives you excellent details and buildup. Anna’s interactions with her new surroundings, friends, and family are fun to read and I love the flirty scenarios.
I also extremely enjoyed the taste of culture added. This is not something as many authors do and I really appreciated this in her work. Definitely a good read!”
Best wishes to Annie! I think she has a bright future ahead of her!