Review Detail

Breathless Featured
Young Adult Fiction 705
deep character study of a flawed but genuine young woman
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
BREATHLESS is a book about change, secrets, and the aftermath. Claudine (Claude) is about to graduate high school, and she knows her life will change with college, in no small part because she will be far away from her BFF who she relies on for emotional support. Then, her parents tell her they are getting a divorce, and suddenly Claude is reeling from it all. To make things worse, her parents ask her to keep it a secret and her mother takes her to a small island off the coast of Georgia to get away.

Claude is still finding her footing in this world where her father does not want to be married to her mother, and it seems to her as if he is rejecting them both. She also finds out her BFF has been keeping a secret about a relationship that also has Claude second guessing. She desperately needs to talk about the things going on in her life, but she lacks the space and safety to do so.

This book largely takes place introspectively, and I liked going deep into Claude's mind. Many of the scenarios she finds herself in will resonate with YA readers. The things her parents say and the way that Claude feels are at odds, and the changes that seem to permeate her life have her feeling uncertain. She felt very genuine and real, and her problems are not unusual. There are also themes around virginity that were interesting and presented throughout as an undercurrent.

Claude is able to make the best of her situation and overall approaches her parents and friends with love that will resonate with readers. It is not always an easy read, and the beginning moves slowly. The book is quite introspective and mainly captures Claude's thinking and interpretations of her experiences. The summer romance felt to me like a smaller piece compared to Claude's mental anguish, later leading to acceptance of change and space to feel what she feels. As such, this will resonate with an older YA contemporary audience. Would recommend for people looking for a deeper character study of a young woman who is flawed but genuine.
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