Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer Hubbard

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Along she came…
Everyday, Ryan Turner must face the reality that everyone knows what he did. It’s in they way they speak to him. It’s in the way they look at him. Ryan’s only solace comes from the local waterfall, where the violent crashing of the water clears his mind of everything.

But then one day, a girl named Nicki Thornton throws herself into his solitary world. Nicki is direct about his past and determined to crash through the wall of glass that Ryan has put between himself and others. She seeks answers to questions that she knows only Ryan can understand. Nicki dives deeper into his life, opening his heart and getting closer to the shameful secrets that he has tried to bury. Though Ryan knows he does not have all of the answers that she seeks, but he realizes that he may have found an answer to his own questions in her.

“Haunting, hopeful and masterfully crafted”—Kirkus Reviews

About Jennifer Hubbard

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Jennifer R. Hubbard ( is the author of The Secret Year. She lives and writes near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Published January 19, 2012 by Puffin. 256 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Try Not to Breathe

Kirkus Reviews

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Defying both sensationalism and cliché, the narrative explores Ryan's suicide attempt and its aftermath with what Ryan calls “Patterson Honesty: the truth, stripped down of all formalities, all politeness.” Although much is made of understanding the past—the shame and numbness that led to Ryan's ...

Dec 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Try Not to Breathe

Publishers Weekly

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In her second novel, Hubbard (The Secret Year) compellingly portrays the quiet anguish of “after.” Sixteen-year-old Ryan has endured too much in a year—a new school, mono, romantic rejection, and a su

Dec 12 2011 | Read Full Review of Try Not to Breathe


“I wasn’t crazy enough to jump into Matt Thornton’s wreck for an illegal six-hour trip with a girl who would apparently have fingernails in 10 different colors by then and whose main interest in life was hunting down the spirit of her late father,” 16-year-old Ryan insists in Jennifer R.

Jun 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Try Not to Breathe


Ryan's emotions are written with such great pacing that your eyes pore over the words.

Jan 28 2012 | Read Full Review of Try Not to Breathe

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City Book Review

He has spent the summer recovering from both the attempt and the subsequent time he spent in a mental hospital, where his mother hovers over him, his father pretends life is normal, and he has no real friends to speak of beyond people he met in the hospital.

Mar 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Try Not to Breathe

Bookmarks Magazine

Ryan isn't sure why he trusts Nicki with his darkest secrets, but that trust turns out to be the catalyst that he desperately needs to start living again.

Jan 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Try Not to Breathe

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