Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Ryan is getting used to people treating him like he might break any minute. He's getting used to the glances in the school hallways and his mom's constant need to hover over him. It all goes with the territory of being someone who tried to kill himself last year. But when he meets Nikki, a girl who is not afraid to look straight at him and ask the blunt questions, it's a shock.

Nikki has her own agenda, she's trying to find out why her dad took his own life when she was a little girl. She thinks Ryan can give her the answers. Ryan doesn't want to give her that kind of access to his inner thoughts and motivations, this girl barely knows him. But, she's the only one, besides his friends from his time in the hospital, who is willing to treat him like a whole person, so shutting her out isn't an option either.  Try Not to Breathe follows the summer where Nikki and Ryan both track down the demons (which are just as scary as any paranormal ones, maybe scarier because they are not pretend) that have been haunting them. Ryan's voice never feels like anything except a real guy who has lived through something awful, and that makes the book all the more powerful. This quiet novel will leave you thinking about it long after it's finished.

A word to boys about the cover: Yes there are half cut off faces. Yes they are ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE kissing. What can I tell you? I still think you'll like this book. It's an unflinching look at how everyday worries can spiral out of control. It's got a guy who is realistic and funny and alienated. It's smart and it's tense. I hope you can look beyond the blurry faces.

Other realistic/intense guy-friendly books whose covers would lead you to believe otherwise

My Beating Teenage Heart by C.K. Kelly Martin (see our review)

The Beginner's Guide to Living by Lia Hills (see our review)

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