Reviews Young Adult

Breathless by Jennifer Niven Review

Claudia and Jeremiah meet, promise each other they won’t fall in love, and fall in love during Claudia’s summer exile to a remote Georgia island.

In the wake of her parents’ impending divorce, Claudia is not getting the road trip she had planned with best friend Saz before parting ways to separate colleges in the fall. Instead, Claudia’s dreams of the open road and wind-tossed hair and losing her virginity to secret-crush Wyatt are shattered when her Dad announces he is leaving the family. Only it is Claudia and her heartbroken mom who end up exiled to a WiFi-untouched, mosquito-infested island off the coast of Georgia. To Claudia, island boy Jeremiah seems like an escape from her sadness. But Jeremiah understands what it’s like to lose the floor beneath your feet too, and while Claudia finds distraction (and first love), she also discovers her ability to face the changes waiting for her. Claudia’s reflections on the girl she was “before this summer, the girl who didn’t know that people go away and love can change its mind” are relatable and deeply moving, and Niven tackles the ambiguous space between adolescence and adulthood with keen insights and sensitivity while illustrating the meaningfulness of romantic and non-romantic relationships.

Poignant, exciting and altogether relevant.

Book: Breathless
Published: Penguin
Pages: 388
Publication Date: September 29th, 2020
Age Range: 15 – 18
Stars: 5/5

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