Saturday, April 14, 2012

REVIEW: Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R Hubbard

Title: Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R Hubbard
Pages: 272
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (imprint of Penguin US)
Publication Date: 19th January, 2012
Format: Kindle edition
Source: Bought

A dark and provocative novel from the author of The Secret Year

Ryan spends most of his time alone at the local waterfall because it’s the only thing that makes him feel alive. He’s sixteen, post-suicidal, and trying to figure out what to do with himself after a stint in a mental hospital. Then Nicki barges into his world, brimming with life and energy, and asking questions about Ryan’s depression that no one else has ever been brave enough—or cared enough—to ask. Ryan isn’t sure why he trusts Nicki with his darkest secrets, but that trust turns out to be the catalyst that he desperately needs to start living again.

 --Goodreads summary

Ryan visits his local waterfall often, looking for somewhere he can have peace. One day, he meets Nicki, a girl who is not scared to get straight to the point and ask him why he attempted suicide. Nicki's father death was a suicide, and she thinks - hopes - that Ryan has the key that will help her open the door to uncover the secrets of why her dad did what he did.

I thought that Ryan's voice was so clear and perfect. I loved hearing about the friends he made during his stay in the mental hospital, Val and Jake, as well as past events leading up to him feeling like he didn't want to live anymore and present, where he is recovering, waiting for the moment for life to go back to normal and things to get better again, I guess. I enjoyed seeing Nicki's almost-blunt, honest personality and how she was pretty much the only person (except Val and Jake) who didn't treat Ryan like he was a fragile statue on the verge of breaking or something. His mother was a whole other story though! The woman watched his every move, but I can cut her some slack because her son did try to kill himself and I understand how that affects her, but her character really annoyed me. Just the way she seemed to talk to Ryan sometimes. The bond shared between Ryan and Nikki was realistic and touching, one of my favourite parts of the story.

Jennifer Hubbard's writing was so beautiful, man. The words inside Try Not to Breathe were emotional enough to make me want to go sit in a quiet corner and fill the pages of one of my notebooks with sad, sad poetry and like, tears. The author captured the struggles of both Ryan and Nikki in the best way possible. A dark, raw read with touch themes that I'd highly recommend, especially for the relationship between Nikki and Ryan.

(Note: but what is with that cover? I would NOT want to carry that around. TG for Kindle books!)

"I had no filter, no pride, no dignity. I was a raw nerve, a sniveling bundle of need."



  1. The synopsis of this sounds great! But I'm not a fan of the cover, either...

  2. haha I love the cover! even better than the original one (boy and girl sitting next to a fountain or something like that.)

    I loved Jennifer's debut THE SECRET YEAR and am very excited about TRY NOT TO BREATHE. I love your review; makes me want to read TRY NOT TO BREATHE right now!


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