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TRY NOT TO BREATHE
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Young Adult
Hubbard brings her characters to life with small details and flaws that make them seem so human. Yet her novel lacks a central plot or climax. There are a lot of minor conflicts throughout, but no major crescendo. With a little more focus on the narrative this novel could have been exceptional rather than acceptable.
Ryan met Jake and Val at Patterson Hospital for the mentally ill. Both Ryan and Jake attempted suicide and Val’s anxiety was self-destructive. Together they picked each other up and helped each other heal. Now that he’s home, Ryan’s parents watch him relentlessly, terrified he will make another, more successful, attempt to kill himself. One day when he’s out at the local waterfall, Ryan meets Nicki. Nicki isn’t like the other kids in school, who think he’s weird — she’s fascinated by his attempted suicide. Nicki is desperate to understand why her father committed suicide when she was young. She is certain Ryan can give her the answers she needs. But Ryan isn’t sure he knows the answers himself. Together they will scour the state, and their souls, for answers to the question, “What’s worth living for?” (VIKING, Jan., 240 pp., $16.99, HC, ISBN: 9780670013906, 14 & Up)
Reviewed By: Raven Haller
Published: January 2012