Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Breathe My Name” as Want to Read:
Breathe My Name
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Breathe My Name

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  1,171 ratings  ·  166 reviews
Frances can forgive. She can even forget. But she can never escape her past . . .

A compelling psychological thriller from the acclaimed author of Teach Me. Frances Robinson has the perfect life: loving adoptive parents, a great best friend, and a cute new boyfriend. But Frances has a secret.

Once upon a time she wasn’t Frances Robinson. She was Shine, and she lived with h

...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 16th 2008 by Razorbill (first published November 8th 2007)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Breathe My Name, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Breathe My Name

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jennifer
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
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
...more
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
Rosanne
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
...more
Michelle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Megan
Mar 05, 2009 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Melina
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
...more
Sarah
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 &
...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

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
...more
Carrie Walker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ricardo Lombera
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
Gorfo
Sep 05, 2011 Gorfo rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
Evelyn
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
A.lam
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
Lauren
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
...more
Alethea A
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kiara
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
Mackenzi 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
Keshia
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
Julia
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
Celestasaurus
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christie
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
...more
Lauren
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
Erica
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashleigh
Oct 23, 2012 Ashleigh rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Kelley
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
MaryAnn Harlan
I don’t often read for plot. I enjoy a good story but if the voice of the characters doesn’t catch me, or doesn’t sound authentic I don’t usually keep reading. And Breathe My Name is a pretty good example of why that is. Frances has a secret, a secret name and a secret past and it is all about to catch up with her. Sounds pretty good right? It was - I enjoyed the story, the journey she takes. Except. Except at times the dialog rang false, even her internal dialogue and it would jar me into think ...more
Krista (CubicleBlindness Reviews)
By luck Frances was saved that day from being suffocated by her mother. She is now almost an adult, very insecure and soft-spoken. Her adoptive parents are awesome and her new boyfriend is quirky.It's obvious she's attracted to him for his ability to connect with people. She soon finds out that his brother is autistic and his home-life requires this special attention to people others just don't understand. So this makes him kind of a weirdo to others in the school. But Frances feels an instant c ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: SOLVED. Girl's mother kills siblings *spoilers* [s] 6 65 May 13, 2014 01:32PM  
wheres the setting? 1 11 Oct 28, 2009 10:01PM  
ghost chapter 1 21 Mar 26, 2008 01:59PM  
  • This Gorgeous Game
  • Silhouetted by the Blue
  • Do Not Pass Go
  • Safe
  • The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs
  • Beast
  • All We Know of Heaven
  • Chasing Tail Lights
  • Me, the Missing, and the Dead
  • Buried
  • Leslie's Journal
  • Almost Home
  • Teenage Waistland
  • Black Box
  • The Silent Room
  • Before, After, and Somebody In Between
  • He Forgot to Say Goodbye
  • Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend (Belle, #1)
474489
R.A. Nelson is the author of the novels TEACH ME and BREATHE MY NAME, both nominated to the YALSA Best Books for Young Adults list. Nelson’s third book is DAYS OF LITTLE TEXAS, coming out on July 14 with Knopf. He is working on his fourth book, THROAT, slated for Fall 2010, also with Knopf.

Nelson was chosen as a Horn Book Newcomer in 2005 and his books have been recognized by the New York Public L
...more
More about R.A. Nelson...
Teach Me Throat Days of Little Texas Sammy the Spider Likes to Bite: Moral of the Story: Just Because You Can Bite, Does Not Mean You Should Bite.

Share This Book

“I'd make oatmeal cookies."
"Cookies?"
"I would. That's just what I would do."
"Why?"
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.”
12 likes
“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
More quotes…