Breath to Breath by Craig Lew

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William is seventeen when he’s uprooted from his home and sent to live with his estranged father―someone he hasn’t seen since he was a little kid. When he’s unexpectedly dragged into a situation where he has no choice but to help an abused four-year-old boy, William’s world is rocked to the core as he discovers the truth of the boy’s experience of extreme sexual abuse. He and this boy are connected in ways William can’t even imagine. As horrible memories begin to flood his consciousness, William’s rage drives him to steal a neighbor’s guns, convinced he must stop those responsible for causing a boy so much pain and betrayal. How William finds the love and compassion he needs to make the right choices is the heart and pulse of this riveting verse novel. Inspired by a true story, Breath To Breath explores what hurt and healing really mean: to survive you hold your breath, but to live you must exhale. ************************ From the Publisher: Relish Media emerged for two reasons. First, the audience of our first books grew up and required content to engage them as they got older. And second, this story found me and beckoned to be published as a young adult novel. Several years ago as I was struggling in an unsafe relationship that was bringing up issues of abuse from my childhood, I sought the help of an energy worker named William. A friend of mine had given me his name years earlier, but as with many things in life, I wasn’t ready for help until I was in crisis. As William helped me to repair what was broken in me, we became friends. William shared with me his own story, which is nothing short of miraculous. He is a survivor of profound sexual and emotional abuse. He was born with special gifts of perceptivity, which made his suffering that much greater. As a child , he tried to numb himself to his sensitivity to escape the pain and he was suicidal for most of his adolescence and young adulthood. But William’s path led him away from self-loathing and self-destruction and instead to self-acceptance and healing, and eventually to healing others. His gift is amazingly powerful, and he has devoted himself to sharing it to benefit others. A few years ago after one of our sessions, William handed me a stack of pages he’d written about his life. He knew I was a publisher and wanted my opinion. I cried as I read his story. I cried for William for having to endure a childhood devoid of love, compassion, and belonging. I cried for the damage emotional and physical abuse caused and for the long path to wholeness it created. I identified with the story as a survivor of repeated child molestation and I realized that I was holding in my hands the means to continue William’s healing, my own healing, and the healing of many others like us. In that moment, I conceived the idea for what was to become Breath to Breath. With William’s consent, in August 2013 just prior to the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Annual Summer Conference, I posted what was essentially a “Want Ad” on the Little Pickle Press blog seeking an author to develop a manuscript inspired by William’s story. Many talented authors presented themselves, and one emerged as the ideal candidate to write our title―Craig Lew, the recipient of SCBWI’s coveted Mentorship Award and bestselling YA author, Ellen Hopkins’ mentee. William and Craig connected immediately, so we commissioned the work. When I asked Craig who his first choice of Editor was, he said longtime editor and consultant Emma D. Dryden, who also edits the work of his mentor. Emma accepted our invitation, and in the words of Theodore Roosevelt (made popular by Brené Brown), we endeavored to dare greatly together. We have all contemplated, emoted, hurt, made ourselves vulnerable, grown, struggled, connected . . . and healed during the journey to bring Breath to Breath to you. It is my heartfelt desire that within these pages of moving verse readers will find parts of themselves and feel seen, understood, redeemed, and hopeful that wholeness, and happiness, is a choice they can make for themselves. With humility and gratitude, Rana DiOrio

About Craig Lew

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Craig Lew was born in Fresno, California, and is a fourth-generation Chinese American. As a producer, director, and screenwriter of horror and dark comedy movies, he believes that in any story the best hero is the one who seeks love. Writing his debut YA novel in free verse, Craig said, "When you write about the dark subject of child abuse while weaving a message of healing and forgiveness, you can't help but find more room in your own heart for compassion." For more information about Craig, visit:
Published November 16, 2015 by Relish Media. 797 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Breath to Breath

Gr 10 Up—William Stout, a recent transplant from Kansas, is hoping his move to California will be the fresh start he needs. After his grandfather passes from cancer, he moves to California to live with his estranged father. The 17-year-old William remembers very little of his parents, yet somethi...

Feb 01 2016 | Read Full Review of Breath to Breath