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Breathe My Name

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  1,266 Ratings  ·  176 Reviews
I need to see you.
Please come right away.
We have to finish.

Frances Robinson is in high school now. She lives a quiet, suburban life, far from her horrifying past. When she was a child, her birth mother smothered her three sisters. Through pure luck, Frances survived. Now her mother has just been released from prison . . . and she wants to see Frances.
A new boy at school ca
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 8th 2007 by Razorbill
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 29, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-reality
Well... At first I was pretty into this book. It deals with a teen who was the only surviving sister of infanticide. Her mother suffocated her 3 younger sisters in a post partum, isolated, depressed situation. I think many aspects of how she may feel growing up, and why this could have possibly happened is interesting. I also feel like many of the characters were fairly well flushed out. So why the 2? Towards the end of the book the author throws in what i felt was a totally superfluous plot twi ...more
Rachel Brown
Sep 29, 2012 Rachel Brown rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaated this YA novel, which has won a number of awards which it did not deserve. Hate. Hate. Hate. Let me tell you why!

It opens with a creepily evocative piece of writing from the point of view of a child, Shine, living with her three younger sisters and their psychotic mother, who thinks she's the queen of a fantasyland called Fireless.

Then it switches to the same child, now a teenager named Frances, who is living with her adoptive parents in Alabama. Her birth mother and sister
Lauren DeStefano
I will never be able to say enough good things about this book. The characters were so vivid, and they appeared on the page fully-formed. The prose was lyrical and lovely, only sticking to necessary details. It wasn't too heavy, though it tackled a very tragic subject matter. It touches upon the ascending madness of the protagonist's mother in flashbacks that lead to a devastating conclusion. And, though the protag's sisters are long gone by the time we hear of them, they are whole, complete bei ...more
May 27, 2009 Rosanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Celia Powell
I picked this up off the YA shelves at the library because of the cover (I love the title written in condensation), and then because of the "my mother killed all my siblings except for me and she's now in a mental hospital" storyline. Because I find those news stories about mothers who kill their children horrifically fascinating.

Breathe My Name wasn't bad - when her mother's released from prison and leaves her a mysterious message, Frances and the new guy at her school, Nix, head off to find he
Jan 25, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 05, 2009 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Megan by: Heather Norman
R. A. Nelson’s work Breathe My Name is a sensible work of fiction that will tug at your heart and draw you in. Along with a recent work, Teach Me, he follows a girl in her troubles to overcome her past and move toward forgetting her mother. With every other chapter switching from Frances’ life when she was seven to the present with her as a junior in High School, it keeps you active in the story line. I enjoyed her protective parents and her childish innocence, or so she would seem.
As life se
Apr 09, 2010 Melina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Frances is haunted by her past. When she was small she lived with her mother and small sisters whom she helped cared for. Her mother created a new, magical world that she raised her children around. Frances' father was always away and that's why what happened was such a miracle: Frances' mother took each one of her kids, one by one, up to her bedroom and smothered them. Frances was th elast one and only one to survive because someone walked in.

Now 18, she is adopted an still in school. She is sh
Quit on pg 101.

It's not terrible, per se, but I don't give a crap about any of the characters or the plot. The heroine grates on my nerves (whinging), the hero is a Gary Stu (yawn), & the adults are all portrayed as Not Getting It because...they're adults, I guess? Whatever. I hate that technique -- it's a cheap & dirty way for authors to make their heroes/heroines appear DEEP(tm) & knowledgeable about human interaction. Zzzzz. I feel like I've already seen this kind of plot on Law &
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for

Frances Robinson's story has a lot in common with several news stories in recent years. Eleven years ago, her biological mother smothered her three younger sisters, and if it hadn't been for the arrival of a total stranger, Frances might have been next.

BREATHE MY NAME picks up when Frances is eighteen and a junior in high school. She lives with her loving adoptive parents in a nice home in a nice town. She is relatively happy, but
Carrie Walker
Jan 04, 2010 Carrie Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ricardo Lombera
Mar 31, 2014 Ricardo Lombera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
R.A. Nelson's 'Breathe My Name' is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Frances who had to rebuild her life after her mother killed her sisters, Tan, Ninny, and Suddle at a small Tennessee town her mother called Fireless. When they lived in 'Fireless', her mother named her sisters and herself Fireless names. Until her mother's homicidal actions, they all lived in a peaceful, made-up world where everything had joy at every corner. After the death of her sisters, Frances, or Shine, was adopted and ...more
Sep 05, 2011 Gorfo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gorfo by: summer
Breathe My Name didn't click for me. It has all the elements that generally interest a reader, a shy, messed up teenaged girl,and a beautiful teenage boy who by some trick of fate somehow fall into each other's lives and click, and of course the typical boisterous best friend. However, Frances is not the typical troubled teenager, her name isn't even Frances. But which name do you want to know? Do you want to know her real name? Francine Jelks. Or her secret name? Shine. When Frances was a littl ...more
Readable but...I did not like it. The beginning was promising, but as soon as Nix was introduced things started to disintegrate. Thankfully the romance was connected to other things - fear, and trust - but Nix was not a believable character. I was half-expecting him to turn out to be bad news. The best friend irritated me as well. The main character, too. In fact, there were absolutely no characters I particularly liked. Anyway. As other reviewers have said, (view spoiler) ...more
Apr 16, 2009 A.lam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Breathe My Name by R.A. Nelson is an intriguing tale that keeps you reading. Nelson develops character and theme with excruciating detail, creating a unique reading experience.His use of foreshadowing added an essential component of suspense in the already gripping tale. To appreciate the story, we have to realize that as much as it talks about extremities, it also is reflective of the haunting yet heart-warming details of life. Nelson adds in small, almost undetectable moments of human frailty ...more
Lizzy Abhold
I wasn't sure I was going to like this book at first but after I started it, it was amazing. This is the story of a girl who seems to have a perfect life, but her past isn't as perfect as she seems. She has a terrible secret; one that she can never get away from. On her first day of school, she meets a boy named Nix that shows her she doesn't have to be scared of her past anymore. They go on a long journey that gives her the answers she's been looking for. This book has its secrets that definite ...more
Sep 10, 2007 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
A haunting portrayal of what it is to live with a truly terrible event. The main character's mother killed her sisters and tried to kill her when she was little. Suddenly, she hears that her mother is being released from the mental institute she was sentenced to.
In the midst of the main tragedy that takes place, the main character goes through a very real and convincing first teenage love that. While the beginning was solid, the end felt forced and confused. Something so terrible could never wra
Alethea A
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 11, 2016 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Breath my name is a great read. The book leaves you hooked and interested with every chapter and page. Frances is a girl with a very complicated past and an unwell mother, that leaves you shocked and breathless. This book brings out a wide range of emotions, as she takes you through her life you can't help but; wonder, laugh, fear, worry, cry, and love. The story line really makes you think about the world we live in and how the mind is such a powerful force that can make you do the craziest thi ...more
Kiaraelys Lopez
Sep 01, 2014 Kiaraelys Lopez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book Breathe My Name, by R.A. Nelson, is a very intriguing book that is perfect for people who enjoy thrillers and realistic fiction. The story is haunting, but incredibly interesting. This book explores the dark past of the main character, Frances, and follows her journey as she ends what begun so long ago. Throughout the book, Frances goes through the struggles of revisiting the past as she attempts to find her mentally ill birth mother. The ending of this book is, personally, one of my fa ...more
Mackenzie Jackson
I really didn’t like this book. I didn’t like the way it was written with two different "worlds", it was definitely nothing like anything else I’ve ever read. It starts with Frances starting a new school and meeting a boy while she’s being stalked by a lawyer who ends up coming to her with a letter from her criminal birth mother. Frances and her boyfriend Nix run away to find her birth mother after being afraid to tell him something so important. The alternate world of Fireless is never explaine ...more
Jul 03, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. The front cover is very effective creating the, often creepy, feel of the story. Throughout the book reference is made to Frances' constant fears and how they affect her breathing . I also like how the chapters alternate between Frances' life at 18 back to her memories of when she was a child living with her mother and younger sisters. This book is a chilly little thriller but is spoiled by the ending. I thought it was rather weak with everything being too neatly reso ...more
Jan 08, 2015 Keshia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Breathe My Name is one of my favorite novels and has merited multiple re-reads. It follows the story of 18 year old Francie and her struggles with her past, one where she is the only survivor of her four siblings who were all murdered by her deranged mother. What works so well with this story is the way that Nelson intertwines the narrative, the mingling of her past self and her current self. The moments of her childhood are particularly poignant, not only because there is the always lingering p ...more
Suspenseful and well-written but the plot twist was a bit much and very unrealistic ((view spoiler)) It seems as if the author knew there were a lot of unanswered questions and tried to clear them up with an awkward question and answer type c ...more
Mar 29, 2009 Celestasaurus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 07, 2011 Christie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Fireless is the country where we live. Every day Momma teaches us something new about it.

Frances is 18 and something of a loner. She lives with her parents and two younger brothers in small-town Alabama. It isn’t until the new boy, John Mullinix or Nix, arrives at her school that Frances’ life cracks open. Frances has been living in the shadow of a traumatic event – an event so horrible that she never talks about it and has, in many ways, surpressed its horror.

Frances’ best friend Ann Mirette in
Jan 27, 2009 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before reading Breathe My Name, I had seen a couple of stories on TV or in newspapers where the mother or father had killed their children after facing a big form of depression, but I had never really given it much thought to what it must be like to be the child left behind, the one who was saved. So, when I began this I didn't really know what to except from Frances. I wondered if she would have an all around pity party for herself constantly, pretend it didn't happen, or just deal with the con ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 23, 2012 Ashleigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
Recommended to Ashleigh by: barnes and noble
Shelves: english356-1-12
Frances Robinson has the perfect life, she has a great family and she just met this cute new boy. But Frances can never forget her past. The truth is, Frances was adopted by the Robinsons but before that she had a biological mother and 3 sisters. When living with her mother, Frances believed to live in the made-up country of Fireless. One day, Frances’ mother, Afton, suffocated her children but Frances managed to escape. Now after years of being in prison, Afton is out and contacting Frances.

I l
Jul 10, 2012 Kelley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This was a YA book that I first picked up at our HS library but the one of my students read it, loved it and returned it before I got a chance to get to it! When I saw it again at the Troy library, I jumped at the chance to actually sit down and enjoy it. The story is about Francine, a high school junior with a terrible secret: her mentally disturbed mother suffocated her three siblings (and almost Francine) when she was younger. The story alternates between chapters illustrating her mother's me ...more
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What's The Name o...: SOLVED. Girl's mother kills siblings *spoilers* [s] 6 66 May 13, 2014 01:32PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Breathe My Name 1 3 Sep 09, 2012 01:55PM  
wheres the setting? 1 11 Oct 28, 2009 10:01PM  
ghost chapter 1 22 Mar 26, 2008 01:59PM  
  • Do Not Pass Go
  • This Gorgeous Game
  • Safe
  • Almost Home
  • Silhouetted by the Blue
  • No More Us for You
  • Chasing Tail Lights
  • You Know Where to Find Me
  • All We Know of Heaven
  • Cures for Heartbreak
  • Black Box
  • Night Flying
  • Illegal
  • Claiming Georgia Tate
  • The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs
  • Leslie's Journal
  • Me, the Missing, and the Dead
  • The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance
R.A. Nelson's work was selected as a finalist for National Public Radio's list of the "Best Young Adult Fiction Ever Written." He was chosen a Horn Book Newcomer and his books have been nominated to the YALSA Best Books for Young Adults list and recognized by the Parents' Choice Awards, the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list, Booksense Kid Picks, the Miami Herald Best Books of the ...more
More about R.A. Nelson...

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“I'd make oatmeal cookies."
"I would. That's just what I would do."
He lifts one hand from the steering wheel and pinches his chin. "Because the world is changing so fast all the time. There's nothing you can do but just say, 'cool,' and roll with it. But some things can stay the same. Flour is still flour. Vanilla still smells like vanilla. Say a giant fireball is motoring toward us right now from Alha Centauri. Okay, universe. You expect us to run and scream and kill one another? Sorry, we're making oatmeal freaking cookies.”
“Life is a war, and the families are the armies. Even if you win the war, some will never see you plant the flag.” 7 likes
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