Win a copy of Hold Me Like A Breath!
Author: Tiffany Schmidt (website | twitter)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Source/Format: eARC provided by publisher via Netgalley (thank you!)
Publication date: May 19, 2015 (today!)
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | IndieBound | The Book Depository
Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.
Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.
And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever.
All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.
This is one of those books where you’re either going to love it or say “meh” to it – and unfortunately, it was the latter for me. Here’s the breakdown:
What I Liked:
The Concept: When I first heard the concept of Hold Me Like A Breath, I was totally in – mob family, organ transplants, and a girl who bruises so easily that she has to be kept inside at all times? Amazing. Tiffany Schmidt manages to blend all of these things together in an understandable way.
The Fairy Tale Allusions: If you’re a fan of fairy tales, Tiffany Schmidt has put in a ton of references, especially allusions to The Princess and the Pea (Penny and her brother purport to go see Once upon a Mattress, a musical version of that musical). Penny herself is a huge fairy tale fan, so it’s cute how she pokes fun at some of the tropes.
What I Didn’t Like:
Characters I Couldn’t Connect With: Somehow I just never really connected with Penny, and I think this was in large part because Penny, as the fragile girl in the family, never got included in any of the Family’s doings. That outsider status made me feel like I only got glimpses at what was happening, so when things start going south in the novel, I just didn’t care about her or what was happening with her family. Penny has a good arc throughout the entire book, but I just…wasn’t invested. I think that had a lot to do with the next two issues I had with the book.
Major Insta-Love: Halfway through the book, a big, big thing happens to Penny, and it was like the book took a whole new turn. It was like reading a new book – and that book was chock-full of insta-love. I didn’t believe in the romance at all. And unfortunately, that relationship happened to be the linchpin of the entire back half of the novel.
Not Enough Theme: Hold Me Like a Breath started off pretty well, with a strong explanation of the Organ Act and some of the issues about legal and illegal organ transplants; as well as a good explanation of Penny’s disease. The problem was, I never felt like I got below the surface. Even though the concept (see above) of the book was there, the attempt to mix so many threads didn’t quite work – it felt like the narrative jumped from thread to thread in a clunky way, leaving me frustrated and not very connected to the story. I think more emphasis on the different families and transplant methods would have helped a lot.
Book Theme Song:
The Final Word:
Hold Me Like A Breath was just an okay read for me – I had major issues connecting with the characters and themes, and I really wished there had been more done to deepen my understanding of Penny’s disease and issues with organ transplants. An interesting, if flawed, fairy-tale retelling.
HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH is out today. Will you be picking it up? Does the concept of mob family + Princess and the Pea appeal to you? Are you okay with insta-love? How do you feel about books with a lack of theme? Let me know in the comments.
Win a copy of Hold Me Like A Breath!