Thank you to the publisher for gifting me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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. Then her Dad drops a bombshell: he is leaving Claude’s mother. Suddenly, Claude’s entire world feels like a lie and her future is 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.
As soon as I found out there was a new Jennifer Niven book on the way I was incredibly excited. And that excited continued right until the very last page of the book.
I’ll be honest with you, it took me quite a bit of time to get into this story and in turn to be invested in the characters. At the start of the book I just didn’t care for the characters and didn’t actually care for their story. I think this is mostly down to the beginning of the book being a large information dump. Once I got past all the information dumping I quickly got really into the story.
This book is heavily based around the themes of sex and virginity. It is such a wonderful book that explores sex and the thoughts surrounding sex and virginity and it left me feeling really sex positive. The way in which sex and virginity is discussed in this book is so positive and incredibly important especially in YA books. Breathless weaves these themes into an overall incredible storyline. It discusses virginity being a patriarchal construct and explores this as an issue and also how early sexual experiences can feel monumental.
Jennifer Niven once again handles trauma in Breathless excellently. It shows how we are all influent and shaped by our past. As well as, how we have to take responsibility for the present and the future. One thing which I really appreciated was the way in which Miah’s history as a carer is explained really well and I feel it is extremely valuable in a YA book.
I loved Claude and Miah. I loved them both and they are characters I’d do anything for. Both characters are also well-rounded and complex in a good way and I love them. I was also a huge fan of Claude’s Mom and her storyline. Again, she was well-rounded and didn’t fall flat.
Jennifer Niven continues to be a favourite author of mine and I’m sure she will always be. At the start of this book and at the end Jennifer mentions how personal to her this book is and you can tell. There is a lot of thought given to all the storylines in this book and Jennifer’s writing is still incredibly beautiful.
Overall, Breathless is an intimate, personal and beautiful book that makes you long for summer. It is different from previous Jennifer Niven books but it is still incredible. I highly recommend this one if you are looking for a book with heavy themes of sex and virginity and makes you long for summer!