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Breathless by Jessica Warman


by Jessica Warman

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This book gets more interesting in each chapter.It's one of those books where you find yourself wanting to keep reading ans reading until you finally finish. Katie is an amazing swimmer who is very close to her brother, and is sent away to a boarding school to practice swimming, and just to get away from her brothers bad choices. Katie becomes friends with just a few girls, but thats all she needs. Estella, Lindsey, and Mazzie who is also her roomate. Katie meets, and practices her swimming with Drew the captian of the boys vasity swim team. They work together to improve there swimm times, and laps,etc but fall endlessly inlove with eachother. I would definietly recommend this book. It's full of surprises you won't want to miss out on!
  Stacie33 | Mar 20, 2013 |
Katie and Will were close throughout childhood, with a psychiatrist father they nicknamed "The Ghost" (never at home) and an emotional, alcoholic mother. As an affluent family in a blue-collar town, they were the source of envy and ridicule. This torment placed a lot of stress on the kids, and during his teen years, Will began to slip into mental illness. After a significant (and public) suicide attempt, Katie's parents finally decided to pack her up for boarding school, as Will's behavior had become increasingly erratic and his use of drugs was influencing her. At first, Katie was horrified at the notion, then she realized it was a chance to escape all of the misery and drama at home.

In boarding school, however, Katie was not the typical student, as she had not been raised in boarding school like the other girls had, and her parents weren't minutes off-campus living in a mansion. She did not know which white gloves to wear to what event nor any of the other social rules associated with their lives of privilege. Katie soon found her place as the fastest swimmer on the team, however, and fell for the most popular guy and swimmer on campus. Her friendship circle narrowed to just a few of the most popular kids also, those who smoked and drank excessively and partied all night without supervision in the indoor swimming pools at their parents' mansions.

This book followed Katie through high school, where she lived a life of secrecy, not telling anyone of her mentally ill brother and his drama at home. The story never really hit a climax, though there were a few suspenseful moments when Will became particularly unstable. It was a good story and it kept moving, but I would have concerns about letting my teenage daughter read it due to the continuous use of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes, so much so that they were glamorized. I was rather disappointed in this aspect of the story as Katie experienced few negative consequences for this and remained a top swimmer! Why do books geared for teens include this unneccesary negative influence?

So in all, a decent story, but as a parent, I would not recommend it to a teenager, sadly, the audience that it was intended for. ( )
  voracious | May 2, 2012 |
An okay book about swimming and falling in love. The more interesting parts of the novel are when the main character deals with her issues relating to her older brother, who she's always looked up to. He has mental health issues and ends up in and out of hospitals, until everything comes to a head (twice). I thought the book did a good job showing how hard it is to live with someone who is ill, but also love them in spite of their illness -- and, of course, how hard it is for teens to deal with these issues. Well written, but not as interesting as I'd hoped. ( )
  callmecayce | Mar 12, 2011 |
I almost added the similar-appearing Lurlene McDaniel book to Goodreads by mistake. Wonh.

What I liked most about this one was its upfront handling of feelings coming from a painful personal history, and how difficult it is to move on from. Having pain in where you come from is treated here like it is its own conflict, as you try to move on with your life. Katie's home life, and her bond with her mentally ill brother, is established in the beginning before she's sent to a boarding school, and we have a good sense of what's difficult for her here. I really liked that the plot didn't just whisk her away from her past and set her up with a new life. Katie has to go back and forth all the time, and deal with her real life on top of her school life, and figure out which is more truthful. It was all really relatable and a really strong backbone for the book. I dog-eared basically every page that draws some conclusion about these feelings.

Katie's friends at school are well-chosen characters. Estella the unlikable queen bee that you let be your friend anyway, since it's not like you want her to be your enemy. Her needy minion Lindsey, the yin to the yang of every popular girl. Most interesting is the friendship with Katie's roommate Mazzie, based entirely on helping each other cope privately with their families' tragedies. They develop a pretty charming and cranky bond with each other that allows them to help each other a lot, which is really satisfying. (The scene on top of the washing machine is amazing.) There's a lot of cool and honest observations made about these relationships.

And Katie's relationship with her boyfriend Drew explored some interesting territory. His choices and statements throughout are mostly based in his sturdy Christianity, and Katie's uncomfortable with that from the get go, but doesn't know how to assert herself on the subject or choose differently. I thought some of those conflicts between them were really unique: struggling with his "promise to God", and the frequently-stated reason he likes her being that she's so "innocent and lost". He's otherwise a little bit of a too-perfect YA love interest, but the things that made him different were really realistic.

The backstory of Katie's family comes out a leeeeetle melodramatic and could have been reined in to feel more realistic. (Why did her brother's schizophrenia have to be "drug-induced," so she can blame bullying, and set up their family as town outcasts? I guess that is a real thing, but it feels like the author spent too much time on Wikipedia one day and came up with a scenario to support it.) And her parents are kind of cliched in the first half of the book, but they both surprised me later. There's some brave things said about the darkness of families that can't hold together.

Every once in a while there was something that stuck out of the flow, particularly that the passage of time feels weird at several points and goes too fast. And there isn't a ton of atmosphere, either at school or at home. And Katie's passion for swimming doesn't have the impact I felt it would; I was disappointed that we only see her and Drew train and hang out at the pool together the one time. Speaking of atmosphere, I'd think that would be a big one.

I also admit a little disappointment that more didn't develop with the homosexuality suspicions between the girls. The potential for that in this setting is so huge, and it's there just enough that I expected something to happen. I guess that's just a conflict I'm already a fan of and would read the heck out of in a book like this, so I thought it would have more impact on the story. I suppose in this book it might have seemed like too much going on, as by the end there's already a couple different things brought down on Katie for her to deal with judgement from. But it was an interesting ingredient with these characters, and could have been more present too.

It was interesting seeing Katie operate like a real normal teenager a lot. She indulges in a lot of irresponsible habits and ungenerous behavior, and there isn't a ton of moralizing about it. Like I was a little surprised that the author never stepped in to correct Katie's bitter judgement of her teen mom friend from home, for instance, but also those things usually go uncorrected in life, so. I think sometimes YA protagonists are such handy achievers you side with unquestioningly, and Katie bucks that if only a little bit. And she still does a pretty great job. ( )
  pokylittlepuppy | Feb 1, 2011 |
I wanted to read Breathless because I found the cover to be interesting so when I had the chance to read it, I really wasn't sure what to expect.
This book is an overall meh for me, despite the fact that I did like it at times.
I liked Katie when I first started the book, and then after that, she felt bland to me. And over the course of the story, I didn't care for any of the characters.
I didn't dislike this book because of the all the smoking and drinking, it was something completely different. But just a warning note for people who don't really like these things, it happens a lot.
My feelings for the Epilogue, while it is a nice touch to the story, I don't think that it's necessarily needed for Breathless.
In the end, I didn't like Breathless, but I think you should still read it if you're not bothered with some of the things I mentioned above and maybe you might have a different opinion and like it better than I did. ( )
  gubry | Nov 20, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802798497, Hardcover)

When Katie Kitrell is shipped off to boarding school by her distant father and overbearing mother, it doesn’t take her long to become part of the It Crowd. She’s smart, she’s cute, and she’s an Olympic-bound swimmer who has a first class ticket to any Ivy League school of her choice. But what her new friends, roommate, and boyfriend don’t know is that Katie is swimming away from her past, and from her schizophrenic older brother, Will, who won’t let her go. And when he does the unthinkable, it’s all Katie can do to keep her head above water.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:39 -0400)

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At boarding school, Katie tries to focus on swimming and becoming popular instead of the painful memories of her institutionalized schizophrenic older brother.

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