I received this book for free from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon
Published by Random House Publishing Group on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, Contemporary Women, Psychological
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: First to Read
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Alex Dale is a functioning alcoholic and very-part-time journalist working on a story about comatose patients. While Alex is visiting the Neuro-Disability ward at the hospital, she recognizes Amy Stevenson, a young woman who was left for dead in the woods. It was a huge case in the local media, but the perpetrator was never identified. Alex becomes obsessed with telling Amy’s story. This is complicated because Amy has been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years and there are only a few cold leads to follow. I received this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. This book will be released on February 23, 2016.
Time is not a good healer. Time is a blank page on which the left behind scribble their regrets and their confessions.
Try Not To Breathe is your standard page-turning suspense novel, with a female journalist lead. The writing was straightforward. There are three points of view: Amy (the victim), Alex Dale (the journalist), and Jacob (a mysterious man who visits the ward, with a special focus on Amy). What makes this book interesting is the central focus on people in a persistent vegetative state and the potential for simple communication with a small percentage of them. My favorite chapters were from Amy’s and the chapters where Alex interacted with Amy. Amy is a wake-up call for Alex and she is able to reflect on her own struggles by spending time with Amy and investigating her story. They have both lost everything and everyone around them, except Amy didn’t have a choice in the matter and there don’t seem to be any second chances in her future.
She wasn’t getting better, she’d just mistaken survival for progress. (Alex)
The tension between Jacob and his wife ran a little too long and his chapters were my least favorite. The ending was really easy to predict and I am not someone who usually has it all figured out. View Spoiler »Due to Amy’s point of view in the beginning chapters of the book, the leads that Alex gets sidetracked with feel like a waste of time rather than suspenseful. Plus there is a character that we never meet, but has just enough presence that we can’t forget them. The lack of presence for that character also makes it less satisfying when their identity is discovered, though I did enjoy the trial scene. « Hide Spoiler However–Even though I was 99% sure who did it, I raced through this book. I am usually a one-hour-a-weeknight reader and I stayed up way too late with this one!
Overall, it was entertaining with an interesting concept. In terms of thrillers I’ve read recently, I’d put it in the A Line of Blood/Those Girls category. If you liked this book or typically like thrillers similar to this book, you might like The Girl on the Train (England, isolated alcoholic protagonist) or Black-Eyed Susans (victim with no memory of event + a little bit of science).