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New Release Review and Giveaway! BREATHLESS by Jennifer Niven

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Author: Jennifer Niven
Pub. Date: September 29, 2020
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 400

From Jennifer Niven, the New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places, comes an unforgettable new novel about a sensitive girl ready to live her bravest life–sex, heartbreak, family dramas, and all.

Before: With graduation on the horizon, budding writer Claudine Henry is making plans: college in the fall, become a famous author, and maybe–finally–have sex. She doesn’t even need to be in love. Then her dad drops a bombshell: he’s leaving Claude’s mother. Suddenly, Claude’s entire world feels like a lie, and her future anything but under control.

After: Claude’s mom whisks them away to the last place Claude could imagine nursing a broken heart: a remote, mosquito-infested island off the coast of Georgia. But then Jeremiah Crew happens. Miah is a local trail guide with a passion for photography–and a past he doesn’t like to talk about. He’s brash and enigmatic, and even more infuriatingly, he’s the only one who seems to see Claude for who she wants to be. So when Claude decides to sleep with Miah, she tells herself it’s just sex, nothing more. There’s not enough time to fall in love, especially if it means putting her already broken heart at risk.

Compulsively readable and impossible to forget, Jennifer Niven’s luminous new novel is an insightful portrait of a young woman ready to write her own story.

Breathless cover

Find it: GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD,


My first book by Jennifer Niven, but definitely not my last!

Breathless is the story of Claude, a girl who thought she had everything under control as she graduated from high school and turned toward college. Sure, her creative writing teacher found her writing to be a bit superficial (“You have to put it all out re so that we can feel what you feel. You always seem to be holding back, Claudine”), but she’s got a plan. She’s got a stellar summer trip planned with her bestie, a cute guy she likes, a college waiting for her in the fall, and a bright future after that as a writer. She’s already working on her first novel!

(OK, so she does admit up front that the novel is probably “bad and overly long,” but still…she’s writing! First drafts are always crap, right? To paraphrase a dead white male author…)

But back to Claude 🙂 Just when she thinks she knows who she is and where she’s going, the rug–or the floor, as she puts it–is pulled out from under her. Her parents are separating; Claude, her mom, and their cat are going to Georgia for the summer while her dog and dad (the one who is asking for the separation) are staying in Ohio; and all of her immediate plans for the future are suddenly in shambles around her. Oh, and her parents ask her not to talk about any of this with anyone, effectively ruining her last few days at home. Even worse, her best friend has also been keeping something from her, and oh, by the way–the island which she and her mom are going to? Barely even has wi-fi or cell service. I mean, things could maybe be worse. Probably. But right then? Claude’s definitely not feeling that way.

So it’s a very angry, hurt, and lost Claude who shows up on the remote Georgia island for the summer, where she meets Jeremiah Crew, the boy who initially annoys her but eventually manages to see her like no one else has. And though she may or may not finally lose her virginity this summer (yes, it’s definitely a big part of the story, but as someone else who was in some very similar shoes at that stage of life, it felt 100% realistic and was handled very well–I enjoyed reading this as an adult, and wouldn’t hesitate it hand it to my daughter to read as well), she will definitely find a strength she didn’t know she had.

The ending is a bit bittersweet (again, very realistic) but reading the acknowledgments at the end gave me all the happy feels. Do yourself a favor and don’t skip them <3

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to start planning my future trip to a remote island off the coast of Georgia…

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Jennifer Niven author photo

About the author:

Jennifer Niven is the New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places and Holding Up the Universe, as well as the popular Velva Jean series. She is also the author of several non-fiction books, including Ada Blackjack, The Aqua-Net Diaries, and The Ice Master, which was named a top non-fiction book by Entertainment Weekly. Her New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places is soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning. Although she grew up in Indiana, she now lives with her fiancé and literary cats in Los Angeles, which remains her favorite place to wander.

Photo: Justin Conway

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