Breathless by Jennifer Niven . Review

Synopsis

Before: With graduation on the horizon, budding writer Claudine Henry is making plans: college in the fall, become a famous author, and maybe–finally–have sex. She doesn’t even need to be in love. Then her dad drops a bombshell: he’s leaving Claude’s mother. Suddenly, Claude’s entire world feels like a lie, and her future anything but under control.After: Claude’s mom whisks them away to the last place Claude could imagine nursing a broken heart: a remote, mosquito-infested island off the coast of Georgia. But then Jeremiah Crew happens. Miah is a local trail guide with a passion for photography–and a past he doesn’t like to talk about. He’s brash and enigmatic, and even more infuriatingly, he’s the only one who seems to see Claude for who she wants to be. So when Claude decides to sleep with Miah, she tells herself it’s just sex, nothing more. There’s not enough time to fall in love, especially if it means putting her already broken heart at risk.

Compulsively readable and impossible to forget, Jennifer Niven’s luminous new novel is an insightful portrait of a young woman ready to write her own story.

 

 

Review

Thanks for the free book, @PRHGlobal/@prhinternational !

 

4,5 stars

“Breathless is, in many ways, even more personal for me than All the Bright Places. It’s the book I needed when I was sixteen, seventeen, eighteen; a frank take on sex and love, divorce, disappearing floors, finding yourself, and the importance of writing your story.”

 Jennifer Niven’s introduction says it all.

 

I have read and loved All the Bright Places and was thrilled to get this ARC of Breathless.

I honestly savored this book. The author had a way of making nature and the island’s history with its ghosts and past feel like one of the main characters.

This is an October read but would be perfect as a summer read as you have days spend in the heat and humidity of a Georgian’s summer.

The characters are raw and messy. They try to figure out life while dealing with heartbreak caused by their families and at the dawn of a new page in their life.

 

Claudine is at a pivotal moment in her life.

She has finished high school, was due to go to college in Fall after the roadtrip of her life with her best friend. Only …the floor drops under her feet when her dad announces that he can’t “do” the family man anymore.

“The cat will go with us and the dog will stay with my dad. Even our pets are separating.”

Forget the roadtrip, she’ll go with her mother on an island off the coast of Georgia to regroup.

Jennifer Niven did a splendid job writing all the feelings of Claudine suddenly robbed of her life, of her family. Some pivotal scenes happened twice. Once as Claudine experienced them, imagined and dramatic  then,  a second time as it really happened still shocking but more nuanced. This writing trick had me really breathing Claudine’s anguish, anger and sadness.

“I am a person other people feel the need to keep things from, and all the things I thought were truths aren’t actually truths.”

I was also revolted by what her parents asked of her! To keep silent. That’s the worst thing you could ask from someone whose world has just been turned upside down!

 

When both mother and daughter arrive on the island, there is no wifi, no cars, nothing but an inn, campers, nature and some shops.

The island is special as it’s where Claudine’s ancestors have lived, loved and some died dramatically.

Needless to say that the first day, Claudine is nursing a broken heart, not understanding why her father can’t be her father any longer. She is angry, rebellious. All kind of emotions churning inside her head.

 

But soon she’ll cross path with Jeremiah or Miah.

He is a boy like none other. Shoeless, aloof, free. But he too is nursing some wounds. When Claudine decides that she wants to have sex with him, that’s meant to be just sex, not love…you can imagine how this will go.

 

This is a story of personal growth. A story of resilience too as having parents divorcing is a real drama. It’s also a time to discover who you want to be. Who you are.

There will be brash decisions and reckless behaviors. Some Claudine will come to regret but that rang so true and made the story even more relatable.

There will be confusion, fear and betrayal as Claudine does not understand what would make her suddenly un-loveable by her father, nor why her best friend kept some secrets from her and seems suddenly to forget Claudine.

 

I found this a very human tale, one I think any teenager will easily relate to but also, any adults as Claudine’s feelings are universal. The story was vibrant, alive and I wanted to walk on these beaches, looking for old turtles and shark teeth. Maybe one day I’ll go look for such island off the coast of Georgia, where the time seems to get suspended.

 

Here is one last parting quote, its’ the key to resilience when the floor is robbed under your feet.

“The thing you can count on is that at some point something bad will happen. Which makes things like blood moons and treasure hunting and you even more important.”

 

Have you read it already?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Sophie

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19 Replies to “Breathless by Jennifer Niven . Review”

  1. Hmmm…might need to add this to my TBR, thanks Sophie!

  2. I remember how popular All the Bright Places was back then! It even got a movie recently too! Glad to see her latest book do so good again. Great review, Sophie! 😀

    1. Thank you Lashaan!

  3. I’d not heard of this one, it sounds like a really sweet book

    1. It is a sweet book!

  4. I love reading about a character who is at such a pivotal time in her life. There are so many possibilities and so many decisions to make. It makes the way for a lot of character growth.

    1. That’s exactly what happened here Tanya!

  5. Oh wow, this sounds wonderful. I do love some messy characters! I really enjoyed her last two books so I’m very excited to get my hands on this one.

    1. I hope you’ll love it Suzanne!

    2. I hope you’ll love it Suzanne!

  6. You have me even more excited about this one. I have a library hold in (so someday I will read it). If it’s half as beautiful as your review, I know I will be shedding all the tears

    1. Oh thank you Sam! That’s so sweet to say! I hope you’ll love it!

  7. This sounds so good! I love the idea of two lost souls finding each other 🙂

    1. That’s exactly what happened here Jacquie!

  8. Great review! I haven’t read this author but it does look good!

    1. It is a great book Caro!

      1. I have 6 audio credits so might see if I can grab it!!!

  9. Fantastic review, Sophie! I haven’t read this book but after reading your review I really want to give it a shot. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Thank you Raven! I hope you’ll love it!

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