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Try Not to Breathe Hardcover – January 19, 2012
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*“Hubbard is outstandingly successful at capturing the frustration of not having the words, especially in a culture that does not encourage boys to express what Ryan is feeling.” (starred review)— Publishers Weekly
*“Evocative symbols, carefully drawn details and hints of romance enrich a spare, redemptive character study. Haunting, hopeful and masterfully crafted.” (starred review) — Kirkus Reviews
"The affecting story addresses issues of real concern without being maudlin. It is well paced and includes a bit of a twist near the end. This poignant novel about a sensitive teen trying to find his spot in the world will definitely find a YA readership." — School Library Journal
About the Author
Jennifer R. Hubbard lives in the Philadelphia area. She is a hiker, a chocolate lover, and a night person who believes that mornings were meant to be slept through. Her short fiction has appeared in literary magazines. Her published books include the contemporary young-adult novels The Secret Year, Try Not To Breathe, and Until It Hurts To Stop.
Top customer reviews
The characters in Hubbard’s Try Not to Breathe are vivid and alive. Ryan befriends Nicki, not because he wants a friend or likes her but because she won’t leave him alone. Ryan trusts no one at the beginning of the story. He keeps to himself and feels invisible. His only friends are Val and Jake. They were inmates together at the mental institution. Ryan “chats” with them via social media. However, he needs to realize the importance of personal connections to others if he is to cope with his emotions and forgive himself for his suicide attempt.
But this story is more than depression and suicide. Try Not to Breathe is about hope. It’s about believing in yourself enough to trust others. It’s about finding true friendship so as not to be alone, or as Ryan explains it, to build a pane of glass around yourself, to isolate yourself from others. Hubbard’s Try Not to Breathe is a truly meaningful read.
I enjoyed this book a lot. It was that depressing for a book about suicide and life. I really appreciated Ryan's character. In most novels the character that attempts suicide acts depressed and/or has a really crappy life. Ryan's not really like this. He has a pretty dang good life and he acknowledges this. Sometimes depression just sneaks up on you. The fact that this took place after he got out of the hospital gave the book a completely different atmosphere. Ryan has to face the "what happens next" part of his treatment, which I imagine can be a lot more difficult than just trudging along the hospital corridors. The growing friendship between Nicki and Ryan was nice, she was sort of annoying but he apparently didn't mind. Nicki just asked a lot of question forcing Ryan to open up; maybe this was good for him. I loved the waterfall and all it represented to both Ryan and Nicki. It was a place for both of them to go, a place that called to them and for very different reasons. Ryan's other friends seemed to be there mostly for contrast. They seemed a bit more unhinged than Ryan, so it was easier to see that Ryan was getting better. I think that fans of Jennifer R. Hubbard's The Secret Year will really enjoy this one too. Another great novel about dealing with grief and life and learning to live and trust again.
"It was dangerous to stand under the waterfall, but some kids did it anyway, and I was one of them."
"The steamy weather wrung the sweat out of me, but somehow my mouth was dry."
Disclaimer: I was sent this item to review. This does not influence my opinion.
Ryan has everything going for him. His parents have money, he lives in an amazing new house, and he's a high school junior with his whole life ahead of him. Yet, Ryan tried to commit suicide earlier in the year and is trying to get back into a "normal" life after coming out of a mental hospital. He's heard the rumors about him in school but no one will actually come out and say anything to his face. That is until he meets Nicki, a fellow high-school student. Nicki, it seems, does not possess an edit button, and has little in the way of inhibitions. (I loved this girl!) She just comes out and asks any question about anything, and Ryan, in spite of himself, can't help but answer. Nicki has a tragic past that makes Ryan feel obligated to help her so he ends up telling her things he hasn't even told his doctors. Before Ryan knows it, he's getting close to Nicki in ways he never expected!
I really enjoyed this story. Even though it's about a very serious and a potentially very depressing subject, the story felt very positive throughout. It really makes you think about how you treat people on a daily basis and how your actions could possibly affect them. It also makes you think about how profoundly people are affected by suicide, even when it's an unsuccessful attempt. I look forward to reading more from Jennifer Hubbard.
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