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3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,051 Ratings  ·  416 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 19, 2012 Emma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites-2012
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
Aug 12, 2013 Abbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 02, 2015 Defne rated it really liked it
I got this book from Thriftbooks when they gave me a discount code for my birthday, I was like “hey they gave me a code I can’t miss this opportunity” and decided to buy 2 books-one of them was this one. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like it or anything and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have started reading it but the books on my bookshelf kept falling down without this one so yeah.

“I’m not mean, I’m honest. Nobody is ever straightforward. But sometimes people need to hear the truth.”

Like I said,
May 19, 2015 Hiba rated it liked it
3 stars.

This book was surprisingly good! I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but this book is a raw and real portrait of mental illness and how that affects a whole family. It did not shy away from the consequences of the protagonist's brother's mental illness, which I appreciated. In many contemporary YAs (even adult books), authors shy away from exposing what real families go through when one of their own has a devastating mental illness. As Katie is shipped off to a boarding school, she
Ms. Z
Feb 28, 2011 Ms. Z rated it liked it
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
Mar 07, 2010 Kari rated it really liked it

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
Jul 04, 2012 Pygmy rated it it was ok
Shelves: youngadult
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
Dec 09, 2009 Kelly rated it it was ok
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
Alina Jimenez
Mar 10, 2014 Alina Jimenez rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 19, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it
Grade: B

Champion swimmer Katie is sent to boarding school after her older brother's latest schizophrenic episode. For the first time she's popular and has a boyfriend, Drew, though she's closest to roommate Mazzie.

Katie first person narration seemed authentic and I could read for hours at a time without a break. I like Jessica Warman's writing style. She mixes great dialogue, description and plot and BREATHLESS has great voice.

Katie was perfectly imperfect, with a good heart but not always the
Aug 28, 2009 Katie rated it liked it
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
E. Anderson
Sep 10, 2009 E. Anderson rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 20, 2014 Sami W rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 23, 2015 Lizzie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lizzie by: Secret santa present from Lindsay!
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
Aug 29, 2010 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary-ya
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
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
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
(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
May 16, 2011 Catherine rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 04, 2009 Jennifer Wardrip rated it it was amazing
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
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
Feb 28, 2013 16baldwizo rated it liked it
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
May 10, 2012 Agatha rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 19, 2015 Malika rated it really liked it
I was captivated by Mazzie's character. I'd say she had the most spunk. This wasn't exactly a memorable book, as I can't even recall the main character's name as I'm typing this and I read it under a week ago. Anyway, the main character made some decisions that most people wouldn't approve of. I just knew what would get her in trouble down the road. But hey, it's a story - there has to be some sort of conflict. I liked Drew (hey, I remembered his name! maybe I'm remembering the name's of the cha ...more
Sep 23, 2009 Kricket rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kricket by: sarah w
i liked this a lot. after her brother will's public suicide attempt and descent into schizophrenia, katie kittrell leaves for boarding school in west virginia. new friends, her boyfriend drew, and her talent for swimming help her forget about her family in pennsylvania, especially will. when her friends ask, it's easier to say will is dead.

what i loved most here were the characters- so complicated and realistic. estella: the popular bitch who can also be sweet and loving. katie's dad: a workahol
Rimsha Khan
Good but a bit weird
4 stars
arman really is one of the best authors I've come across lately, and one that, despite some of the difficult subject matter, I will be recommending to some of my older students.

I really enjoyed this novel. Warman's ability to describe the world her characters are in just blow me away - she can make me physically gag, a feat no other author to date has managed. H

Favourite quote:

"all the ignorance surrounding us like a dizzying funnel that sucked our family inside and whirled it to bits"

Inhye Kim
Mar 31, 2016 Inhye Kim rated it really liked it
Warman’s work of ‘Breathless” is a realistic story overall, and a good portrayal of a dysfunctional family. Warman draws out Katie’s emotions and her complex life with immediacy. Broken family has the potential effect to a teenager’s life. She revealed the process of a teenage girl overcoming every-day conflicts. We all have minor to major stress within our lives. It is the overcoming that builds up our maturity. We will be all matured grown ups in our future if we can overcome our conflicts suc ...more
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  • A Blue So Dark
  • Say the Word
  • After the Moment
  • Breathless
  • Nothing Else Matters
  • New Girl
  • Like Mandarin
  • You Are My Only
  • Border Crossing
  • Same Difference
  • Darkwater
  • The Uninvited
  • Saving Maddie
  • Broken Soup
  • Wonderland
  • Sophomore Switch
  • Kisses and Lies (Scarlett Wakefield, #2)
  • Why I Fight
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...

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“I'm not mean, I'm honest. Nobody is ever straightforward. But sometimes people need to hear the truth.” 68 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.” 46 likes
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