★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It’s books like this that are the reason I like to delve off the beaten track. There are many good books in the young adult genre, and only a handful make it into the popular domain, scattered among the booklrs, goodreads and book clubs. Yet, for each of these novels that becomes a public sensation, there are at least three others that are just as good hidden among the shelves of a library or bookstore. Hold Me Like A Breath is one of those – different, engaging and well-written – and a definite improvement on many other books I’ve read recently.
I’ll admit it from the start – Char and Pen(/Maeve)’s relationship takes up a disproportionate amount of the novel. That being said, it is not a wholly bad thing. Through this Schmidt is able to explore the characters more, and distract the reader from the outside threats, but a little less Par (or should that be Chen?) would have provided better opportunity for a more tense and in-depth exploration into Pen’s mafia world. For an attentive reader, or one who is familiar with crime/thriller media (including novels), this relationship also sets alarm bells ringing a little too prematurely for the twist to have quite as much impact as intended.
When it comes to twists, however, there is still plenty that Schmidt hides from the reader, before leading an emotional assault. Take Garrett, for example. I know, I know, I should have seen something coming, but that?! And Carter. I’m not usually a fan of characters who are introduced and then fail to make an appearance for a substantial portion (whatever the reason may be), but Schmidt manages to ensure emotional ties are established before she severs them. Furthermore, for such an unusual topic and family, Schmidt’s work presents a strong research background, making for an out-of-the-ordinary young adult read.
Don’t judge a book by its cover – not really applicable here, but a good life lesson. More importantly for Hold Me Like A Breath, don’t judge a book by its reviews. I’ve read some pretty scathing and disappointed reviews when it comes to this novel, but I am glad to say I don’t agree. Schmidt’s characters were strong, the action scenes were particularly well paced and the reader was educated in Pen’s illness without being bombarded, bored or left in the dark for half the novel. Sure, there were bits I enjoyed better than others, but there was no aspect not worthy of at least 4 stars. You may never have heard of it before, but Hold Me Like A Breath is well worth a read.
Recommended for fans of:
- Out Of Sight, Out Of Time by Ally Carter
- She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick
- Relentless by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs