Breathing

I guess I expect a little bit of darkness when I read YA nowadays. Speculative fiction tends to bring characters to the breaking point because the stakes are higher or more complex, and YA realism has seemed to follow suit lately, with themes like cancer and rape and whatever else. So I think I was a bit surprised at the relatively light nature and subject matter of this book.

The protagonist, Savannah, isn’t flat or boring—she has an interesting backstory and a very typically teenage relationship with her mom and younger brother. She deals with insecurities and makes mistakes, all while having to manage her severe asthma.

I read this book while in the hospital with my hyperemesis gravidarum, so it was a welcome distraction for a few hours. I’m glad I took it off the hospital book cart to read, but I also don’t think I would have ever sought it out specifically. I’m not crazy about realistic fiction. Still, I’m glad I read it, since it can serve as a nice reminder to me that planet-wide wars and fantasy worlds aren’t the only interesting topics and settings out there.

Breathing was light, and charming. Ultimately the protagonist’s arc was rewarding and not entirely predictable, so that was nice to get to a real payoff even with such cheerful and innocent themes. I don’t know that I would ever read this one again, but I definitely did not feel like the hours were wasted. Younger readers would probably enjoy it very much, particularly those who gravitate toward realism.

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