Try Not To Breathe
By Jennifer R Hubbard
Available 19 January 2012
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 bound of friendship and forgiveness.
This Blonde’s Review:
Ryan is learning how to live. After a suicide attempt was interrupted and some time in a facility to get help, he’s playing at living. He doesn’t have friends except the ones he made in the center and he doesn’t have any hobbies. He tries to keep from being smothered by his mother and he stands under a waterfall.
One day at the waterfall he runs into a girl. And she quickly starts breaking down his walls. She asks him questions other people never have. She shares things with him that makes him care for her in ways he hasn’t cared about many other people. And soon he finds himself telling her things he hasn’t told anyone else.
I liked Ryan, and I even liked that he doesn’t have the big bad reasons to want to commit suicide that people would understand. I think that Jennifer R Hubbard did something great here by showing us how a normal teenager with a normal life could feel this way. I like that she shows us how a boy being turned down and unnoticed can make a bigger impact that you might realize and that suicide isn’t only for people who experience terrible tragedy.
It was interesting pairing him with Nicki as she searched for answers to her father’s suicide so many years before. I didn’t like Nicki much and didn’t trust her honestly, but I liked the ways she was able to help bring Ryan out and make him realize things weren’t as bad as he thought. Of course this means she has the power to tear him down if she isn’t what she appears to be.
Try Not To Breathe is a story about people who are struggling and can’t explain why. People who will never find a magic answer, but might be able to find something close enough to help life seem worth living. If you enjoy books with imperfect characters looking to figure out their lives then this is one you should pick up in January.