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The Breakaways

The Breakaways is a new middle-grade graphic novel with First Second, coming out March 5, 2019! “Bad at soccer. Okay at friends.”

The Breakaways

The Breakaways is a new middle-grade graphic novel from First Second, coming out March 5, 2019! Written and drawn by me, Cathy G. Johnson, with colors by Kevin Czap.


This graphic novel focuses on the members of a remedial middle school soccer team — so, not the A-team, and not the B-team, but rather the kids who can barely even play the sport.

“They’re the worst of the worst, they suck at soccer and most of them hate it. But what it’s mostly about is their friendships and how they evolve and how they affect each other’s lives,” Brill says. “It’s a funny, honest, moving portrait of what the lives of middle schoolers are actually like. It also captures the incredible diversity of experience that many middle schoolers have in a powerful way. Cathy is an educator, so this is drawing directly from her experiences with students.”

-Entertainment Weekly

Press: Entertainment Weekly, The Mary Sue, Autostraddle

Learn more at the publisher’s website, Macmillan!

Age Range: Middle-grade, 8 - 11 years

Themes: Friendship, relationships, overcoming odds, slice-of-life

Summary: 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.

Pre-order today!

Can’t pre-order?

Your school or local library can pre-order it for you! You ask through something called a purchase request! Ask your teacher or librarian how to do it!

  • Age Range: Middle-grade, 8 - 11 years

  • Grade Level: 3 - 8

  • Paperback: 224 pages

  • Publisher: First Second (March 5, 2019)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 1626723575

  • ISBN-13: 978-1626723573

  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8 inches 

Check out an excerpt from The Breakaways!:

More sneak-peeks coming soon!