Author: Cole Gibson
Published: 21 March 2012
Format: Paperback, Library Book, Search Ohio
Synopsis (from Goodreads): “Obituary-reading emo girl Edith Small is broken – the end result of forcing herself inside a mold that doesn’t fit. All she wants is to conform to her strict sergeant stepfather’s rules long enough to make it to graduation day. But a boat accident threatens to unravel the life Edith has worked so hard to keep. After waking up in a hospital with a lacerated shoulder, Edith fakes amnesia. Because admitting she received her injuries from a blue-haired girl who breathes underwater is all the reason Sir needs to send Edith on the first bus to military school. Safe at home, Edith struggles to put the nightmare behind her. But the mysterious creatures that live in the ocean aren’t about to let her forget. After meeting Bastin – a strange boy with silver hair and black eyes – on a secluded dock, Edith learns about the war raging undersea to end human existence. A war that Edith, unwittingly, has become the key to winning. In a world where death is an ever-present shadow and motives are as dark as the bottom of the ocean, Edith must decide if her life is worth risking for a love that can’t survive past the shore.”
Rating: 2.75/5 stars
Breathless is a surprisingly quick read that I would recommend to most junior high or high school students who wanted an easy mermaid book. My concern, however, is that this book manages to age itself with the heavy use of the word “emo” to describe Edith. Is emo still a thing? While being emo was definitely a thing from 2008-2012ish, I’m not sure the word has stood the test of time. I only know what it means because I was in high school when every other person was emo….
I definitely just typed emo too many times.
The characters really stood out to me in Breathless. My heart hurt so much for Edith and was filled with so much anger in regards to sir. Gibson does a great job of showing the ways an unhealthy, abusive household can traumatize a person. As a reader, it hurt to see Edith constantly trying to please a man who only wanted to blame her for the death of her younger brother and ship her off to military school. Sir, Edith’s stepfather, is cruel to Edith, treating her like she is below human. Her mother is numbed by the loss of her son that she is unmotivated and afraid to speak up against her husband.
Edith and Morgan have a great friendship, and are supportive of one another throughout the book. Both are outcasts in school, but find great joy in being friends, which was very nice.
The relationship between Bastin and Edith was unbelievable, at best. It seemed like they fell completely in love within a week, maybe two? It’s very much 2012 insta-love that is more tiring than exciting to read about. Bastin went from not knowing about love and genuine emotions to announcing his love for Edith in a very short amount of time. I felt like I skipped a few pages because they seemed to go from just chatting to being in love with each other.
Another issue I had that I can’t discuss too much, because, spoilers, was that Bastin was a painfully inconsistent character. I was quickly counting his contradictions before Edith was slightly aware of them. They weren’t sly ones either. They were blatantly obviously ones that made me put the book down for a moment and say, “Huh??”.
Overall, Breathless is not as exciting as it’s summary promises, but for readers looking for a quick, mildly entertaining story, it will make a good fit. I would recommend this book more towards younger teens because of the writing style, and I think they might find it more romantic than I did.
Although, I gotta say, Bastin’s description (long silver flowing hair that resembles aluminum foil -YES, ALUMINUM FOIL- and round black….orbs -fancy way of saying eyes, I guess?-) sounded more scary than attractive to me.
But to each their own. Maybe I’m too picky with hair and orbs….
And maybe that’s why my family thinks I’m going to die alone…
Hmmm…. Gonna go reflect on that one for a bit.