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Breathing Room

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,069 Ratings  ·  224 Reviews

Evvy Hoffmeister is thirteen years old when her family brings her to Loon Lake Sanatorium to get cured of tuberculosis (TB). Evvy is frightened by her new surroundings; the rules to abide are harsh and the nurses equally rigid. But Evvy soon falls into step with the other girls in her ward. There’s Sarah, quiet but thoughtful; Pearl, who adores Hollywood glamour; and De

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Community Reviews

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Rachael Stein
Dec 20, 2012 Rachael Stein rated it liked it
Book buzz is a capricious thing. A book gets a starred review or two, a word from the right blogger, and suddenly it's the It Girl of Publishing Year 2013. Last year it was Okay for Now. This year it's Wonder. Sometimes they show up in the Newbery pantheon (oh lovely When You Reach Me), but sometimes the committee looks further afield (Moon Over what?). If this year's committee has been casting about for neglected titles (as well they should be), Breathing Room may be up for discussion.

Sam gave
Mar 03, 2015 Frances rated it it was amazing
Breathing Room by Marsha Hayles

Evvy Hoffmeister is a 13 year old girl who is put into Loon Lake Sanitarium in Loon Lake, Minnesota during the beginning of WWII to be treated for Tuberculosis. At first Evvy is afraid of her new, unknown surroundings, but as time wears on, she becomes close friends with her roommates. The 4 girls she becomes very close with are: Dena, a strong harsh young lady who is really quite kind; Pearl, who Wishes to one day escape this sanitarium and become a Movie star; Be
Brayden Beaubier
Oct 08, 2015 Brayden Beaubier rated it really liked it
Breathing room by Marsha Hayles is a very interesting book. It is about a young girl named Evvy who is battling tuberculosis (tb) in the year of 1940. She is faced with many problems and situations. I thought that this was an interesting book, because it had a different perspective on the tb outbreak of the 1940s. I would recommend this book to others that are interested in history.I liked that there were lots of major events in the book.Some were unexpected,but also some parts that could have b ...more
I picked this one to read because the setting sounded interesting: the story takes place in a sanatorium in the early 1940's. 13-year-old Evvy Hoffmeister has to go live there to recover from tuberculosis, and the story focuses on her feelings as she deals with being away from her family and as she makes friends with the other girls in her room. Evvy has a way with words (she loves poetry and later on discovers that she wants to be a writer in some capacity), and there are some really beautiful ...more
Aug 18, 2013 Kermit rated it really liked it
Shelves: junior-fiction
4.7 stars
Loved this book! It was so interesting! It's 1940, 13-year-old Evvy lives in Minnesota, and has tuberculosis. She spends time in Loon Lake TB Sanatorium in order to recover.
Sometimes people lived for years and years in the sanatoriums, and so many patients died. Evvy experiences the typical TB care of the time which included lots of rest, lots of food, and strict medical care.
She develops relationships with the other girls in her room, and not everyone has a happy ending.
Be sure and re
Jessica Haight
Jan 16, 2013 Jessica Haight rated it really liked it
Eveleyn’s father drops her off at Loon Lake in May of 1940. Although she is thirteen, she is scared to be left at a sanitarium by herself. What is worse is that she is only allowed to bring a few items with her, and her stuffed animal gets taken away from her because it could contain germs. Evvy has tuberculosis and in order for her to get better she must be separated from her family and follow the rules. Because she has tuberculosis breathing isn’t easy. Being alone is hard too, and Evvy has tr ...more
Ellise Moore
Oct 29, 2013 Ellise Moore rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, moving, realistic. Breathing Room was perfect in pace, voice, and meaning. Hayles' demonstrates incredible skill for a first-time novelist in crafting her story to get a deeper meaning across. She used the word's of William Ernest Henley's Invictus to state that despite any higher forces, man is the captain of his fate: "It matters not how strait the gate / How charged with punishments the scroll / I am the master of my fate: / I am the captain of my soul.". This message was beautiful ...more
Aug 13, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Fascinating account of a young girl in 1940 rural America with tuberculosis, who goes to a sanatorium designed to help TB patients. Thank heaven we have passed the day when it was considered part of the treatment of patients to be harsh with them! (Thanks, Patch Adams, NOT part of this story, for your help in that direction!) Part of this story is how kindness went a long way with these already depressed patients, kindness from a nurse, a doctor, roommates, friends...and even how cruelty can act ...more
Evvy is 13 and has TB. She is also known as patient 22781. In Minnesota 1940 if you have TB you get sent to Loon Lake Sanatorium, a hospital for TB patients. Evvy is in a room with a few other girls. There they must be silent and rest. Their bodies will either learn to fight the TB or they will die. Most will die. Evvy misses her twin brother and her parents. She wants to get better but she also wants to enjoy life. Looking around her breathing room she wonders who will go home and who will neve ...more
Oct 28, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I thought this a fantastic book and immediately wanted to know if the author had written other books. I listed it as a four star only because I really cannot be called a young adult. But I found it so interesting. It comes in the voice of a child, and explores a time in history not remembered in society. The author covers all aspects and although the novel is fiction, it reads as non-fiction. As a side note--my daughter is learning all about metaphors and onomonopias, and I thought we could go t ...more
Apr 16, 2013 Christa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
This was such a good book! Part of the reason I liked it so much is probably because I'm an RT...But even without that, it was still good. I even learned some new things about TB! Like...I had no idea they used to give TB patients pneumos on purpose, to rest their lungs. Weird. The book was a little slow, but it wouldn't have fit the story if it wasn't. It was a short, easy read, so that made up for the slowness. I also really enjoyed all the old pics. There was a few a tear jerker moments, but ...more
Apr 02, 2015 Susie rated it it was amazing
What an expertly-crafted novel. I really appreciate the way Hayles included so many historical photographs, with a lot of research at the end, in an effort to depict what life could have been like in a sanatorium. The misconceptions and eventual successful treatment of TB are explained well.

I can't imagine spending four years at a sanatorium, as Dena did, or going so long without seeing my family.I liked the way the characters were revealed, and how some of them were not what they seemed at firs
Feb 26, 2015 M. rated it really liked it
Excellent book. Easy reading but interesting to me as an adult. Well researched historical fiction describing life in a tuberculosis sanitarium in 1940 from the viewpoint of Evvy, an adolescent girl who is there to be cured.

Evvy, age 13, is put on a ward with 3 other girls roughly her age and gradually learns to accept the rigors of her cure. Treatment consists of absolute bed rest, fresh air, good food, and no talking. Death is always near and the girls handle it in their own ways. Gradually t
Ms. Yingling
Feb 06, 2014 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
In 1940, Evvy is sent to the Loon Lake Sanitorium to try to be cured of her tuberculosis. The standard treatments of extreme rest (no talking, no coughing, certainly no getting up out of bed for a long time!) are covered, but Evvy does manage to make some friends with the other girls in her ward. There is some buzz about WWII and popular culture at the time, and some people get better and some don't. For a nonfiction title to go with this, try Invincible Microbe. Queenie is another book about th ...more
Jennie Vosen
Oct 20, 2015 Jennie Vosen rated it really liked it
A touching and well-written fiction book about children in a TB sanatorium. The story pulled me in so much, I read it in one day and wished it wasn't done when the last page came along.
Lurdes Z
Nov 27, 2015 Lurdes Z rated it it was amazing
With evident grace and pain, Hayes left me gasping for air at the end of each chapter. The descriptions of a teenager facing TB powerfully left me feeling weak inside. Evvy, the main character, expresses the faith she has in her family everyday she awakens to a new day, thankful they are at home supporting her from a distance, but also fears the symptoms of TB like she is expected to die. Envy and her new friends at the hospital form a bond of strength between each other which helps them through ...more
Jess Myname
Jan 26, 2015 Jess Myname rated it it was amazing
This was a great book even though I think it would be an easy read for ages eight and up depending on their reading levels it was still interesting for someone of my age. The story as well told the descriptions are thoughtful and carefully planned. I loved the back of the book where it talked about The research that the author did. I enjoyed the images that were pulled from that time. They added an extra element to the authentic feel of this book. I'm interested in reading some of the books that ...more
Jessica Payne
Aug 13, 2014 Jessica Payne rated it really liked it
While this is a book aimed at a reader that is younger, (I would say middle grade or early YA), it was still very appealing. The novel, which is historical fiction, is set in the 1940's and centers around a young girl's experience in a sanatorium to treat her Tuberculosis. There is a cast of interesting characters, a historically accurate setting, and a compelling voice. The book also deals with some fairly sophisticated issues of prejudice and antisemitism, illness and death.

The story was ende
Janet Rundquist
Dec 09, 2014 Janet Rundquist rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story about something I knew little about before - sanitariums and tuberculosis during the 1940s. The experience that Hayles draws for Evvy's year of recovery from this not fully understood disease is bittersweet. Short chapters in a somewhat vignette-style offer a touching glimpse into isolation and friendships formed in the face of illness and death.
J.L. Simpson Middle School
Apr 25, 2016 J.L. Simpson Middle School rated it really liked it
In The Breathing Room, main character Evvy is growing up in Michigan during the 1940’s, and is suffering from Tuberculosis (TB). To get better, Evvy is sent to a Sanatorium, where people hope to be cured by the disease, called Loon Lake. While she’s at Loon Lake, she meets Dena, Pearl, and Sarah. Each girl suffers from TB, and is hoping to recover to get back to their homes and families and friends. Soon the girls all become close friends. At one point, everyone seems to be improving, until one ...more
Dec 31, 2015 Kim rated it really liked it
"Unfortunately, Doctor," Nurse Marshall said with an inpatient firmness, "her nature is as stubborn as her disease."

4.5 stars

Loved this book and getting to know Evvy and the others. Hit all the feels from joy to sorrow to gleeful to heartbreaking.
Nicole Donald
Jan 06, 2016 Nicole Donald rated it really liked it
I thought this book was really good. I loved the descriptions of the Sanitorium, and the rules and routines. I did think the ending felt a little rushed. Be warned, this is a SAD book. People die. I thought the characters were all very well drawn out. I wish Evvy had gotten a the operation where they push the air into the lungs. Well, not really, as that would have been very painful and dangerous for her, but it would have been interesting to here it described in more detail. The writing and sty ...more
Interesting to me, because while I knew a little about TB and its treatment, I didn't know as much as I learned from this book! My biggest glimpse was Cecily from "Avonlea." I liked seeing the different characters and how they coped. There wasn't great depth or development in the characters necessarily, but still a lot of good stuff to be had from the book. I especially loved the information the author included at the end. (I had no idea about poet Henley and author Stevenson! PLUS--I LOVE "Invi ...more
Apr 02, 2015 elizabeth rated it really liked it
Tuberculosis, formerly known as consumption, has long fascinated me, primarily because of how pervasive and impacting it was during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This story follows a young girl as she lives in a sanitorium, having contracted the disease. The characters are charming and telling. The disease and some people's apathy towards it or fear of it shines through, becoming another type of character in the novel.

Hayles obviously devoted a great deal of time and energy to researching
Sep 10, 2014 Courtenay rated it it was amazing
Wow. I picked this book up a number of times but never quite brought myself to read it ... until now. So glad I did. Evvy is a young teen suffering from TB who is sent away to live at a sanatorium in Minnesota until her illness either takes her or clears up. I was impressed by the real-feel Marsha Hayles gave the book, in particular the back pages about TB, her research, and the illustration plates. Not only did I learn something while reading this piece of fiction, but I was moved to tears, so ...more
Jul 28, 2014 Tami rated it really liked it
Breathing Room is the story of Evvy Hoffmeister, a 13-year-old girl who is placed at the Loon Lake Sanitorium for tuberculosis in 1940 in Minnesota. The author grew up in Rochester, MN and her father was a pediatrician at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic there. Her feel for the area and the topic are evident in the genuineness of Evvy's voice.

With short quick chapters Evvy guides us through her time at Loon Lake from fear and loneliness to friendship, love, loss and healing. Because the novel take
May 30, 2014 Ashley rated it liked it
Found this in the YA section whilst pulling books from the picklist. My first reaction "hey, cool, a book about TB sanatoriums in YA. I must read!" So I read it and it was OK. I've read much better books about the sanatorium experience. Betty MacDonald's The Plague and I, for example.

Not The Magic Mountain, though. Euch. After about 400 pages of Magic Mountain and you start to think Naphtha had the right idea in his method of getting the hell out of that story.

"Breathing Room" was rather dull,
"In 1940, thirteen-year-old Evvy Hoffmeister and her newfound friends struggle to get well at Loon Lake Sanatorium, where they are being treated for tuberculosis."-HCL synopsis

One of this year's Maud Hart Lovelace nominees, this book has generated quite a little buzz among our students, with good reason. It is excellently written with well-drawn characters (I think we've all known a rule-bound Nurse Marshall, and the interplay among Evvy's roommates certainly reminded me of high school) and lots
Apr 28, 2014 Maggie rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-and-kidlit
In some ways, this book about girls with tuberculosis living in a sanatorium is sort of an odd twist on the traditional boarding school or camp story. Girls from different backgrounds are thrown together and must learn to get along; everyone has a story and isn't always who they appear to be on the surface. There are even the requisite sneaking-out scenes and a midnight-feast scene. But this is a quiet book ... literally, because the main characters are barely allowed to speak. And it is heartb ...more
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Dent Book Challen...: Breathing Room by Marsha Hayles 1 2 Apr 15, 2015 12:07PM  
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Marsha Hayles is the author of many picture books and now a novel for young people. Her picture books frequently make use of rhyme and playful language, and range in topic from celebrating a day at the beach to suffering sore feet. Her novel Breathing Room is about girls suffering from tuberculosis at a sanatorium in 1940 and reflects her life-long interest in medicine, inspired, in part, by her c ...more
More about Marsha Hayles...

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