Author: Tara Goedjen
Genre: YA Gothic/Paranormal
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
No one knows what really happened on the beach where Roxanne Cole’s body was found, but her boyfriend, Cage, took off that night and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. One year—almost to the day—from Ro’s death, when he knocks on the door of Blue Gate Manor and asks where she is.
Cage has no memory of the past twelve months. According to him, Ro was alive only the day before. Ro’s sister Mae wouldn’t believe him, except that something’s not right. Nothing’s been right in the house since Ro died.
And then Mae finds the little green book. The one hidden in Ro’s room. It’s filled with secrets—dangerous secrets—about her family, and about Ro. And if what it says is true, then maybe, just maybe, Ro isn’t lost forever.
And maybe there are secrets better left to the dead.
The Breathless was another book that I'd been dying to read and ended up falling a bit short. Don't get me wrong - I loved almost everything about the novel. There were just a couple aspects that left me wanting more and it never came. But I'll explain that below. Just know that these are solely my issues and opinions - they don't have anything to do with the book itself. I'll break down the major aspects that stood out to me:
Plot: The plot for this book was dark, twisty, and had SO much potential. After reading the description, I knew I had to read it. But then once I started getting into the story, it just got better and better. There are so many fantastic ideas: magic (dark magic at that), possible necromancy, hidden rooms and loads of family secrets that went back generations. I was fully sucked in from the very beginning and I easily slipped into the world the author created. Like I said, the plot had so much potential and could have got in so many different ways. But what really bugged me were the questions left unanswered and a lot of things never fully explained. I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so I can't go into much detail. But the ending (epilogue) wasn't a huge surprise to me - there was quite a bit of foreshadowing and hints throughout the book, but it left gaping questions of who had done it, how and when had this happened, and why had it been done? Just explaining that part would have given me a lot of closure instead of ending with a feeling of being unfinished. Several other parts of the story, which some other readers might not care about, left me wondering as well. Especially parts about what happened in the past. What happened to these people we learn about? What about the cryptic drawings and "equations" in the book that were always being referred to? I thought for sure those would be explained and would help answer questions in the story line - but they weren't at all. Maybe that was to let the reader form their own conclusions and ideas? I don't know, but I personally wanted the gaps filled in so I could finish the book with the satisfaction that it had all been told. Sadly, that didn't happen for me. If these things would've been included, then I would have adored this novel and given it a much higher rating. Because I honestly loved everything else about it - but these holes left me wanting answers.
Characters: The characters were all pretty well written, especially Mae. We get to know her the best. We also get to know Cage pretty well, and even Ro on some level. The other secondary characters were pretty two dimensional and had minimal defining traits and characteristics. But that didn't bother me a whole lot because they weren't the focus of the story.
Writing Style: Here's another huge point for me when it comes to reading a book. Writing style can easily make or break a book for me. The author chose an interesting style when writing this novel. The story is written, in the majority, in the third person. Usually from Mae's point of view, but sometimes from Cage's. There were sections from the past mixed in that told the story of a young man named Grady - one of the first family members to live and grow up in Blue Gate Manor. Those parts help to give the reader a history of the family, the house, and the magic surrounding it all. I really loved reading these parts of the book and I think it gave the story a little something extra and different. Lastly, there were a few little parts that we written in the first person point of view, but almost always refers to a "we" instead of a singular person - and we never learn who these narrators are. That was another part of the story that bugged me. Those sections were fascinating and would've been a fantastic addition to the story - if only we were told who was speaking. Were they ghosts? Spirits from another realm? Again, I believe if this was revealed during the book, then I would've understood it much better and loved it more.
Overall, this was a fantastic YA gothic paranormal novel that is definitely worth the read. Although I had some issues with it, I did really enjoy reading it and recommend it to fans of paranormal, gothic fiction, fantasy, and even horror.
*A huge thanks to the wonderful people at Random House Children's Books for sending me a copy for review!*