Mandy's Reviews > Breathe: A Ghost Story

Breathe by Cliff McNish
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Oct 20, 12

Read in October, 2012

** spoiler alert ** I preread this book to see if it was "too scary" for my kids. It was, but not because the ghosts were scary -- because there was too much despair. I don't usually write spoilers, but in this book you have:

o Ghosts trapped in the plane of the living by other, predatory ghosts.

o Ghosts draining other ghosts of their energy in order to save themselves from the "Nightmare passage" (a place like hell, but you don't go there because you are bad, you go there because your spirit energy is drained in this plane)

o A (living) main character whose father died abruptly from a heart attack, and who himself has life-threatening asthma.

o Oh, and by the way, the same main character has super powers.

The overwhelming depression of this book made it too intense for kids. The unbelievability of the plot and overwhelming coincidence of a person with these skills happening upon this house and its secrets makes it hard for adults to get into. I will say, the language is very readable and probably appropriate for elementary school readers, but the content was disappointing.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kali Schrader Wrong I'm 11 and read it and loved it


Mandy I admit, when I read children's books these days, I tend view them in terms of "what would my child think of this book"? My children -- 12 and 10 -- are not big fans of sad books, so that may have influenced my review somewhat.

When I was your age (and younger), I loved scary books, and would read all the Stephen King and ghost stories I could get my hands on; I think this is what drew me to this book in the first place. However, I think I still would have given this book low marks: needlessly depressing, too much coincidence, and too many plot contrivances for my tastes. But, you know, people look for different things when they read, so it is perfectly reasonable for you to give this book high scores; I respect your opinion.

If you are a fan of creepy books, I would be curious to know what you think of Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights" or Daphne Du Maurier's "Rebecca". Neither is overtly a ghost story (although there are ghosts in "Wuthering Heights"), but both are suspenseful. When I was your age, I loved them both, and I still like them, but my opinion of the characters has changed considerably. It would be interesting to hear your take on them.


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