Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman (April 16th 2009—Viking Books)
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
Summary: “What if the guy who took your breath away was the only one who could help you breathe?
Savannah would be happy to spend the summer in her coastal Carolina town lying in a hammock reading her beloved romance novels and working at the library. But then she meets Jackson. Once they lock eyes, she’s convinced he’s the one—her true love, her soul mate, a boy different from all the rest. And at first it looks like Savannah is right. Jackson abides by her mama’s strict rules, and stays by her side during a hospitalization for severe asthma, which Savannah becomes convinced is only improving because Jackson is there. But when he’s called away to help his family—and seems uncertain about returning—Savannah has to learn to breathe on her own, both literally and figuratively.”
Review: Breathing was a tale of young love that steals your breath away. The sudden ache when you know that you are just meant to be, but the world prevents it. Or maybe just yourself? It’s the feeling that maybe you just are not good enough to be with that person that steals your breath or soul away. But, let’s aim for the positive. Breathing captured the essence of tender touches, ripping heartache, and soft caresses in one stunning novel.
Savannah was a poignant teen with an adorable sense of humor that you just couldn’t help but sympathize with. She reacts like what many teenagers do; the author captured this upcoming blossom beautifully. Child like innocence, random tempers, as well as the hidden love for her family. Her courageous stunts, her friendship, wrapped her personality with a tight red bow. But Savannah sometimes needed to grow a bit more—act more mature. She became too dependent on Jackson that she completely forgets her like pre-Jackson. Her free time circles around him even though he was not there—finding him jobs, phoning him constantly.
Jackson was a one man army. He was the perfect counterbalance to Savannah. The ever steady rock that held her to the world that kept her breathing. He was sometimes, however, eluding me when I tried to grab his essence. Jackson’s actions were somewhat predictable and often at times trying to please Savannah too hard or are selfish—never in-between.
The relationship between these two was an up and down roller coaster. He leaves, she cries, her returns, she rejoices—granted it wasn’t all that simple and whatnot. I did felt that the beginning could have been expended more. A more in-depth development—a few more words exchanged and some time between them to grow. The transition scenes were iffy and abrupt at points. And their relationship was, sad to same, was childish. Every scene was too melodramatic and I just wanted to turn the dial down a slight notch.
The Southern drawl was adorable within itself but felt a little much at times. What I greatly love the family relationship. I can relate to it wholesomely. Sure, teens may all hide it, but in the end we truly do love our parent[s]. And the author portrayed it in a beautiful fashion by creating a scenario where one boy can bring you all closer.
Overall: A great book that missed its mark a few times, but still delivered a powerful message.
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