Thursday, April 12, 2012

Review: Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Try Not To Breathe
By: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Pub. Date: January 19, 2012
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 233
Source: Borrowed from the library
Learning to live is more than just choosing not to die, as sixteen-year-old Ryan discovers in the year following his suicide attempt. Despite his mother’s anxious hovering and the rumors at school, he’s trying to forget the darkness from which he has escaped. But it doesn’t help that he’s still hiding guilty secrets, or that he longs for a girl who may not return his feelings. Then he befriends Nicki, who is using psychics to seek contact with her dead father. This unlikely friendship thaws Ryan to the point where he can face the worst in himself. He and Nicki confide in one another the things they never thought they’d tell anyone—but their confessions are trickier than they seem, and the fallout tests the bounds of friendship and forgiveness.

Try Not to Breathe is the kind of book that has so much heart and raw emotion that it is hard to write a review, so bare with me here! When you think of a teenager committing suicide, you might think he or she was having horrible family problems, or they were bullied in school. You don't think that they were your normal teen, with friends and a good family who didn't have any actual "real-life problems". In Try Not to Breathe that is the case for 16 year old Ryan. His problems might not be considered "serious", but they were serious enough for him to want to end his life.

After leaving Patterson Hospital after a suicide attempt, all Ryan has is his overbearing parents, his two friends, Val and Jack that he met in the hospital and the waterfall, where he likes to spend his days alone. He came back to a school that is flying with rumors about him, and he is just trying to come to grips with why he did what he did. That all changes when he meets Nicki at the waterfall. Instead of putting her head down or acting weird like everyone else does around Ryan, she flat out asks him why he killed himself. Thus beginning a journey of hope and forgiveness for both Ryan and Nicki.

I think the best part of this story was the writing. Ryan's voice was so beautifully captured, it was hard not to feel everything that he, as well as what Nicki, Val and Jake were feeling.

My main problem with the story was that I think I was just expecting more. I can't really explain what that is, but I know that I wanted more from the story.

Overall, Try Not to Breathe is a beautifully written and quick read. This isn't a story about suicide though, it is a story about getting past the hard times, and having hope for your future. 


  1. I really want to read this one and The Secret Year by the same author. They both sound so good! Thanks for reviewing it. I haven't seen a lot of posts about this book. :)

  2. This books on my TBR! I'm glad to hear it's not exactly about suicide, but getting past the hard times and having hope. Thanks for the great review!

    I'm a new follower, by the way! (:


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