Review: Try Not To Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Try Not to BreatheTry Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Publication Date: January 19, 2012
Page Count: 272
Published by: Viking
Source: Library

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

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Try Not To Breathe is not your ordinary YA book. It deals primarily with a suicide attempt by the protagonist, Ryan, and the emotionally messy aftermath. This is a very heartfelt book and it takes a direct heads-on approach to the realities of teenagers and their problems.

Ryan has intense feelings of isolation and loneliness, even when surrounded by other people. I really felt sympathy for Ryan when he was describing what it felt like at these times. I liked that he readily admitted he had a good life, but just couldn't deal with the depression. Now he just wants to be normal and feel normal, but he has such an emotional detachment that he feels disconnected from what is going on around him.

The book begins after Ryan is back home after spending time in a mental institution. He is learning how to deal with life on a day to day basis. He gets by the best he can one day at a time, dealing with the separation from the 2 friends he became close to while hospitalized. He also has to deal with his parents who, understandably, can't fully comprehend why he would want to take his own life. His mother becomes slightly obsessive with her over-protectiveness, but it is only because she loves him and wants to make sure he doesn't attempt suicide again. Ryan comes to realize just how much his actions have hurt his parents.

Ryan spends a lot of time down at the local waterfall. His parents would freak if they knew he actually went under the waterfall. Ryan knows it is dangerous, but he likes the mind-numbing blankness he feels while under the waterfall. This is where he meets Nicki, who also comes to the waterfall to stand under it. Nicki knows about Ryan's attempted suicide and shows a surprising interest in Ryan. She has no qualms about asking him all the hard questions that, up until now, everyone else was afraid to ask. It is through this friendship that Ryan opens up and is able to tell her things he's never told anyone else. Nicki wants to be around Ryan because she likes him, not because she is trying to help him or fix him.

Overall, Try Not To Breathe is an emotional read. It has a very real feel to it. It is beautifully written and I enjoyed all of the characters. I highly recommend it.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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I still like the original cover better!

1 comment:

  1. I love the original cover better as well. I like rain in general so that gets me every time.

    I really want to read this book because I dealt with depression and I like reading books that deal with it. Not from a clinical or professional writer. They are great but sometimes too cold. Fiction writers tend to capture the emotions on paper much more well. I'm glad that the emotions and effects were captured well by Hubbard.

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