12 February 2012

Review: Try Not to Breathe

Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publication date: January 19, 2012
Publisher: Viking

Sixteen-year-old Ryan is fresh out of a mental hospital and trying to figure out how to reboot his life after a suicide attempt. He spends most of his time alone at the local waterfall, partly to avoid his overprotective mother, but mostly because standing under the hammering water is the only thing that makes him feel alive - it's a way to test himself. Then Nicki charges into his world, brimming with life and energy, shattering the pane of glass that Ryan has built up around him. Nicki asks questions about Ryan's depression that no one has ever been brave enough - or cared enough - to ask. She's demanding and impossible to ignore. Ryan and Nicki quickly begin to confide in one another, sharing secrets they never thought they'd tell anyone. Those confessions have consequences neither of them expected, but trusting Nicki just might be the catalyst Ryan desperately needs to start living again.

Try Not to Breathe is a breath of fresh air (pun intended?). It gave me a nice break from all of the supernatural and dystopian YA books out in the world. Surprisingly, with the main subject of depression and suicide, it's not depressing so chances are you won't be balling your eyes out by the end. Yay, you can read it in public! I instantly connected with the main character Ryan. All of the characters are well-fleshed out and Ryan and Nicki are perfect foils of each other. The book is a slow build, but it never left me bored. Hubbard has a fantastic and very mature "show, don't tell" writing style. I enjoyed her writing up until the end. And by the way, there is a shocking "reveal" that I was not expecting.

Try Not to Breathe is a real book dealing with a real issue that most people don't talk about, so I enjoyed following Ryan's story. It's not a book that changed my life or taught me anything new, but I was so disappointed when I had to leave Ryan behind at the end of the book!

P.S. I've been trying to write this book review for four days. It's a book that resonated with me on a personal level so it was difficult writing the review without sharing too much personal information that I didn't feel comfortable with sharing. Hence, the feeling of disconnect and suckiness in the review. ;) I did like the book, though. I liked it a lot and just wanted to share it.

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