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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  2,226 ratings  ·  351 reviews
When Katie Kitrell is shipped off to boarding school by her distant father and overbearing mother, it doesn’t take her long to become part of the It Crowd. She’s smart, she’s cute, and she’s an Olympic-bound swimmer who has a first class ticket to any Ivy League school of her choice. But what her new friends, roommate, and boyfriend don’t know is that Katie is swimming awa...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 18th 2009 by Walker Childrens
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This was such an uneven read for me. I didn't care for any of the characters and over the course of the entire story, never found sympathy for any of them. I thought that the time changes/years were very sporadic and made the reading sloppy for me. I felt like the book had a lot of build up for very little action, and what happens was just not exciting. I think this might be a hard sell because it requires being okay with a lot of ambiguity -- the scenes and people keep changing and there is not...more

Throughout much of this book, I found myself to have mixed feelings about it. At times, I was bored and other times I was interested and other times I just wanted to smack several of the characters- but the last little bit of the book pulled everything together pretty nicely.

Will's part in this story was certainly the most emotional- the toll on his family because of his mental illness was hard to read, especially because of how young it all started for him. Watching how innocent he was despite...more
Raw, realistic and subject matters out of the norm, from the jock christian boy refusing to have sex to the psychotically insane brother who kills cats without really thinking of the consequences.

Katie, the main character, is the flower that rose from the pot of dirt. Her family, once poor, is now well off, she's good looking, good at swimming and destined for an Ivy league school.

Breathless doesnt have a central plot to summarize with, but if i had to, I'd go with the fact that Katie gets sen...more
This was an okay read, but it felt longer than what it was.
It was slightly boring in the beginning, and was quite confusing throughout.
The confusion was mainly due to the time changes. One minute Katie would be in the boarding school, and the next she was back at home. There wasn't any mention on how long had passed. The only dates that were mentioned was Christmas and Halloween.

There was a few parts that focused on schizophrenia, but the majority of it was more about Katie's life at boarding s...more
Waffled between bored, interested, outraged, then back again. Main character is screwed up because of her parent's poor parenting and her mental brother, but I had trouble sympathizing. Once she got into the boarding school, I started becoming more interested, until I got slapped in the face a couple of times by the author's ridiculous portrayal of virgin Christian guys. Not to say that what was portrayed in the book couldn't be true....but I've always found Christians to be either a lot more su...more
Alina Jimenez
I really enjoyed this book, it contains a various amount of elements such as tone, imagery and conflict (internal and external). I really liked how the author used different types of tones for certain characters in oder to identify them. For example Katie's roommate Mazzie is very sarcastic, and because the other used that type of tone it was easy to imagine how Mazzie is or how she is talking. Tone was also part of the imagery element that the author used, because with the tone of the character...more
This was a realistic story overall, and a good portrayal of a dysfunctional family. Katie's family is falling apart, especially her older brother. Her dad is a psychiatrist who works all the time, and her mother is an alcoholic. Her brother is diagnosed as schizophrenic, and as the story continues, his mental illness grows. Her parents send her to boarding school as a result, where she begins as a sophomore. In order to fit in, she tells everyone at the school "an untruth," and they conclude tha...more
E. Anderson
This elegantly written story chronicles the high school years of Katie Kitrell, a swimming prodigy who is sent away to boarding school when her schizophrenic brother, Will, becomes violent. At first she resents her parents, but soon she is relieved to be a part of a world that doesn't know about Will and his outbursts. It's not long before she is telling people he is dead. Shedding her past and embracing new friends, and even a new boyfriend, Katie finds herself keeping up in the competitive rea...more
Sami W
This book was kind of hard to comprehend in some spots, but otherwise it was very well written and the author did a very good job of picking and choosing what she all wanted to put in this book.
Katie Kitrell's life is going down the tubes. Her brother has finally done something so bad that not even Katie can escape from it. The only thing her parents can think to do is to ship her off to some unheard of boarding school.

Once there, things don't seem to bad. Katie fits right in with the popular crowd and boy are there some cute guys there, especially Drew. Everything seems just great for Katie and how can she possible ruin that by telling them about her brother? So, she doesn't. Instead...more
Feb 01, 2011 Lizzie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lizzie by: Secret santa present from Lindsay!
Shelves: 2011, young-adult, own
I almost added the similar-appearing Lurlene McDaniel book to Goodreads by mistake. Wonh.

What I liked most about this one was its upfront handling of feelings coming from a painful personal history, and how difficult it is to move on from. Having pain in where you come from is treated here like it is its own conflict, as you try to move on with your life. Katie's home life, and her bond with her mentally ill brother, is established in the beginning before she's sent to a boarding school, and we...more
Prior to reading this book, let me just say that I did not know anything about it. I hadn't heard about it from any of the many book blogs I frequent or the book vloggers that I watch. I came upon it while scanning the YA section of my local library. The cover was interesting and the synopsis seemed promising so I picked it up. And let me say, I was definitely glad that I did.

The story is about a girl named Katie Kitrell who, in the beginning, is trying to cope with a mentally unstable/ill broth...more
2.5 stars

Honestly, I found this book a little dull.
Though the relationships were possibly the most interesting aspect. Katie's brother, Will, was schizophrenic and the book expressed how hard it must be to keep a relationship with someone with a mental disability such as this. Katie also had problems with her parents, referring to her father as “the Ghost” because he was never around (that seemed a little silly to me... especially since she never, in the narration, referred to him as “Dad” and...more
To a certain extent, I honestly don't know how I feel about this book. Part of me loved the brutal reality and honesty and part of me was just intensely overwhelmed because while I understood the actions of the characters, they were put in situations I found I had a difficult time empathizing with. I would ask myself: If this were me and my brother was criminally insane, what would I do? What kind of strength or weakness would over-take me if I had to face what Kaite had?

Most of the time, my...more
(Source: Purchased on kindle from
15-year-old Katie hasn’t seen her brother (Will) in months, not since the beginning of his latest stint in a psych unit, but now that he’s home, they’re back to their old tricks; namely sitting on the roof of their house smoking.

Will has drug-induced schizophrenia, and every so often he comes off his meds and ends up back on the psych ward, not that this stops his from smoking weed all the time.

After Will attempts suicide, Katie’s parents decide tha...more
Jessica Warman's book is a great and easy read from the get- go. Katie Kitrell is a high school sophomore who is sent to a boarding school to be separated from her unstable schizophrenic brother Will. While at school, she immerses herself with her one true passion, swimming and makes a select new group of friends. While trying to avoid her real reason for moving to the school, she lets it slip that her brother died. Captured in her lie, she lives in fear that someone will find out and spread the...more
Lissie Emm
I absolutly loved this book, from the first page to the last. i started reading this book at eight pm, and i finished it at about 2 in the morning. I loved how the author made sure there weren't any unnecessary characters; everyone mentioned was there for a reason. My favorite character was Drew. Funny, beautiful Drew. He made the book soo much better with those comments of his like in his car when he declared, "Katie, I'm ready for you to start giving me blow jobs" or when Katie tried to reassu...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

Katie and her older brother, Will, were like two peas in a pod growing up. At first, their family is poor as their father struggles through medical school and their mother tries to become a successful artist. As their fortune changes, the family finds themselves the richest in their southwestern Pennsylvania town of Hillsburg. The rich are usually the elite of a community, but in Hillsburg, they never quite fit in.

To make matters worse, as time goes by, Wil...more
This book didn’t really do it for me. It’s about a teenage girl with a mentally ill brother who is shipped off to boarding school. It is apparently very closely based on the author’s own life. I think the premise is good and the author does a great job of portraying the complexities and tension in the relationships of young girls. I loved that Katie had her one thing (swimming) that she's really good at and uses it to assimilate. I did feel like the brother’s illness was tied to a specific event...more
Melissa (i swim for oceans)
Breathless is the story of teenage Katie, a talented swimmer with the world at her feet, but she's hiding a dark secret and a painful past. Her older brother, whom she loves more than anything, is schizophrenic, and his disease is slowly consuming every inch of love and care he had for his family – especially his little sister. Katie discovers it's easier to lie about the past and pretend that everything is fine, her home life is normal, and there's no dark secrets hiding under her bed. The prob...more
This story is about a girl named Katie Kitrell. Katie lives with her family and her brother Will (who is schizophrenic). She had a good life when she was little until she was about nine years old, when her father got a new job. Once he got a new job he never came home and Katie didn't get to see him at all, she started calling him " The Ghost" since she never saw him. Katie had a tendency to not do what her parents say and actually do the opposite. They never let her have any fun or do anything...more
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I don't know how I feel about this book. The story kept me reading, but I didn't feel like it had a point. The synopsis said it was somewhat of an autobiography, which might explain the detached writing. I felt nothing for these characters. I didn't dislike them, I didn't like them. This book felt more like I was reading the biography of a random high school student than the proclaimed 'realistic, uplifting story about a girl who loves the water'. Come to think of it, there was little to no swim...more
Melissa Forbes
I listened to Jessica Warman speak at an NTCE conference a few years ago, and I though she was oddly aloof. Breathless was selling well, so it seemed she'd be a little more peppy.

Fast forward to yesterday when I read Breathless. The writing is awful. In an interview printed in the back of the book, she confesses that she wrote most of it the summer after she graduated from high school. Yes. That perfectly describes the quality of prose. I suspect what I thought was "aloof" at the conference was...more
In this story, a girl has a brother who is insane so her wealthy parents send her to a boarding school where she makes friends. The book is not really that much about her brother--It is more about the girl growing up and finding her place in life.

One thing: I think the author should have revealed Mazzie's big secret. It is a book so it is supposed to be full of twists and turns and suprises. I kept trying to guess what the big secret was and then I knew she was about to reveal it--what a letdow...more
♥Jessica, ♥Lady of the Library♥
 photo shesdrowning_zpsd4309882.gif
She's drowning. Not in water, she's simply too good for that. No, she's drowning in her lies. Her mistakes, her tears, and the smoke wafting around her.

Katie Kitrell used to be poor, but that was before her father became a professional therapist and her mother begins selling her original art. After a chain of robberies in her neighborhood, she moves to a town that shuns her family for having money. They're jealous, and she's mad because of it.
But besides that, Katie's life seems almost perfect;...more
I heard so much hype about this book that I was expecting something fantastic and I don't think it lived up to that. It was very good, but reminded me of John Green's Looking for Alaska, in that the main character was a girl with lots of problems and she went slightly wacko, trying to cover up her background, plus all the smoking and drinking and dysfunctional teens and family members. Except this girl was able to put herself back together and not destroy herself.
It was an okay book, overall.

The plot idea wasn't bad, it just wasn't made to it's full potential. While Katie's situation is relatable, her reactions and decisions are not. Though she is old enough to know better, she still encourages her brother to do bad things and she lives without consequences. I do realize her actions are a cry for attention from her parents but really? You have to drag your schizophrenic brother into it too? She is a whiny teenager with no sense of reality, and that's say...more
Tricia Sanders
is no one reading anymore?! Goodreads friends...WHERE are your updates?! (ok, rant is over)

yes, i realize this book is "young adult" but i loved it anyway!
Whoops, reviewed the wrong book at first!
I thought Breathless was a great read because it didn't put a heavy interest in dissecting a romantic relationship. Finally! I have been waiting and waiting for someone to pick up a pen and write about relationships other than boyfriend/girlfriend. Don't get me wrong, love is great, but it is easily oversold and overrated in so many YA novels. What Jessica Warman does is try to get a handle on other relationships that a teen might have in their life. From...more
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YA Buddy Readers'...: Breathless by Jessica Warman - Starting August 12th 2013 73 26 Aug 19, 2013 02:16AM  
Interview with Jessica Warman 1 16 May 26, 2011 03:35PM  
  • A Blue So Dark
  • Nothing Else Matters
  • Black Box
  • After the Moment
  • Breathless
  • Wonderland
  • Dirty Little Secrets
  • Deadville
  • In a Heartbeat
  • Waiting on Hope
  • The Tear Collector
  • Hush
  • Same Difference
  • Dark Song
  • Nothing but Ghosts
  • Jumping Off Swings
  • Broken Soup
  • New Girl
Jessica Warman is the author of Breathless, which received three starred reviews and was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and Where the Truth Lies. The idea for Between came from an incident in her childhood, when a local boy went missing after a party on a yacht (he was eventually found, alive).
More about Jessica Warman...
Between Where the Truth Lies  Beautiful Lies The Last Good Day Of The Year Antes de partir

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“I'm not mean, I'm honest. Nobody is ever straightforward. But sometimes people need to hear the truth.” 59 likes
“You know, I believe that people need to find what they love to do most in the world, what they're best at, and then they need to use that ability to make the world better.” 41 likes
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