From the critically acclaimed author of Say What You Will and A Step Toward Falling comes a deeply emotional new novel, perfect for fans of Five Feet Apart and The Fault in Our Stars.
David Scheinman is the popular president of his senior class, battling cystic fibrosis.
Jamie Turner is a quiet sophomore, struggling with depression.
The pair soon realizes that they’re able to be more themselves with each other than they can be with anyone else, and their unlikely friendship starts to turn into something so much more.
But neither Jamie nor David can bring themselves to reveal the secrets that weigh most heavily on their hearts—and their time for honesty may be running out.
An unlikely friendship forms between two teens when they become acquainted at a hospital. Jamie, who suffers from chronic depression, is working as a volunteer when David, a patient with cystic fibrosis badly in need of a lung transplant, is admitted. Although popular David has plenty of visitors, including his equally popular girlfriend, he is most eager to see Jamie. Jamie also looks forward to her visits with David, and as she teaches him how to do origami and introduces him to classic movies, their relationship moves from confidantes to something more romantic. Jamie's mother, a nurse at the hospital, worries that the teens are growing too close, particularly after Jamie breaks rules and takes risks in fulfilling one of David's requests. Alternating Jamie's and David's points of view, McGovern (Say What You Will) skillfully raises the dramatic tension. Additional, effective narrative techniques include David's surreal out-of-body episodes, reminiscent of those in Gayle Forman's If I Stay. Sobering in its exploration of mental and physical illness, McGovern's sensitive, well-crafted novel leads readers to an optimistic outcome. Ages 14 up.
I love this book because the characters are so relatable. Like all of Cammie McGovern’s characters, they drew me in and I cared so much about their fates that I read the book in two sittings. Both David and Jamie live in between life and death for two different reasons, and the old movie metaphors are perfect. Dance is also a fitting symbol of their connection to one another as well as their precarious relationship to the world. As an adult reader, I appreciate this book because it speaks to me on a much more rich, complex level than I would normally anticipate from a YA novel. Read Just Breathe; you’ll be glad you did.