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Try Not to Breathe

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  14,615 ratings  ·  1,724 reviews
For fans of Lianne Moriarty, Paula Hawkins, and Tana French, an arresting debut novel of psychological suspense: a young journalist struggles to keep the demons of her alcoholism at bay as she finds her purpose again in tackling the mystery of a shocking headline-making crime, still unsolved after fifteen years.

Amy Stevenson was the biggest news story of 1995. Only fifteen
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by Ballantine Books
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Holly Seddon Hi Trinia,

Thank you so much for getting in touch - I'm delighted you enjoyed it!

Ah the title... I didn't want the title to give away the plot too…more
Hi Trinia,

Thank you so much for getting in touch - I'm delighted you enjoyed it!

Ah the title... I didn't want the title to give away the plot too much but I wanted it to be intriguing and unsettling, I also wanted it to reflect or at least nod to the musical influences and elements of the story. So I looked at songs that were released in 1995 and that was the year Try Not to Breathe was released by REM. I felt that all of the main characters are in some way 'holding their breath' so it felt like a good fit! (less)
Holly Seddon Thank you so much, Ray, that's very kind of you. I'm currently working on my next novel. It's a similar genre but a standalone book set in Manchester,…moreThank you so much, Ray, that's very kind of you. I'm currently working on my next novel. It's a similar genre but a standalone book set in Manchester, England. I'm enjoying getting to know the new characters! (less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  14,615 ratings  ·  1,724 reviews

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Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Try Not to Breathe is Holly Seddon's debut novel. A really good psychological suspense novel that pulled me in right from the start.

***Although I always try my best there may be minor spoilers***

Alex Dale is a young journalist whose focus is mostly on trying to maintain her alcoholism. She rides the line between serious drinker and functioning alcoholic. After losing her job and her husband she's barely hanging on.

Then Alex comes across Amy Stevenson....

While writing an article about a doctor
Chelsea Humphrey
I'd like to thank Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Well, I'm a bit disappointed as all the hype around this book had me expecting more. I should have learned by now that hype tends to destroy reads for me.

Things I liked: many aspects of the plot were very unique and intriguing. I found the idea of a victim of a horrific crime left in a "vegetative state" interesting and a strong theme to build an excellent thriller on. Also, the research of the symptoms of various
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book from start to finish.
This psychological thriller is about a journalist, Alex Dale who when visiting a hospital notices a face from the past. A young girl, Amy Stevenson was attacked 15 years ago and the crime was never solved is lying in a hospital bed, the journalist feels a compulsion to seek out the truth. The book shifts from present to past as the story and the truth unfold. Well paced and strong believable characters that had me reading it at every opportunity. An
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TRY NOT TO BREATHE the debut novel of British author Holly Seddon, is an outstanding psychological tale of suspense. It is really hard to believe that this is a debut novel, as it is so good. I am sorry I took so long to read this novel, but I recently had eye surgery and was restricted with my activity. This character-driven novel involves the reader right from the beginning…the story of two women that connect and become friends.

The first woman, Amy Stevenson, is a hospital patient in a
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish to thank Holly Seddon, Net Galley and Ballantine Books for an advanced copy of Try Not to Breathe in exchange for an unbiased review.

Try Not to Breathe, the debut novel of British author Holly Seddon, is an excellent psychological tale of suspense. It follows the story of Alex Dale, a disgraced journalist who is struggling to regain not only her respectability, but also her life, which she essentially lost to the ravages of the bottle. Alex is working on a freelance investigative article
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, mystery

I would never have guessed this was a debut book for author Holly Seddon...I'm super impressed!

Well thought-out and engaging characters along with a storyline that was fast paced and compelling.

More of a who-dunnit than a psychological thriller, but this still kept me on the edge of my seat and guessing along the way.
I thought I had the antagonist figured out early on, then oops-I realized I was wrong and settled on my next suspect.
That carried me for a bit until I switched gears and decided
Lo Bookfrantic
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-review-ng

4.5 "Killer Secret" Stars

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Type: Standalone
POV: First Person – Shifting
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2016

“I played tennis again. I played tennis and I won.”


This was definitely one of those books where you open it and you just can't put it try to sleep but you can't stop thinking about what is going to happen next, You try to guess who the bloody killer is and finally you reached the end and you can breathe again without even realizing you
For fifteen years Amy has lain comatose as a result of a horrific beating, the case never solved. Jake was Amy's boyfriend at the time of the attack. Riddled with guilt and loss, he has had a great deal of difficulty moving forward with his life. Alex is a washed up journalist who is slowly and methodically killing herself with booze. She seizes upon this cold case and begins the slow climb from rock bottom, vowing to find out who is responsible for the crime. The line between consciousness and ...more
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
Amy is still alive - with a paralyze body - in a hospital bed - fifteen years later.
As readers, we have questions about this. For fifteen years a boyfriend - Jacob continues to visit her. A little odd??? ( even 'if' he feels love or guilt). Fifteen years is a long time - when you are only a teenage boy from the start.

Alex has experienced more loss in her life than she can handle -and is a heavy daily drinker. At one time she had a successful career as a journalist ....
but now seems closer to
j e w e l s
Holly Seddon came up with a great story idea: A news reporter investigates the story of a young woman named Amy she has stumbled upon in a convalescent home. Amy has been in a coma for many years due to a violent act she endured at the age of 15. The person responsible for this crime has never been apprehended and the reporter embarks on a dangerous mission to expose the perp.

The reporter, Alex Dale is a drunken, hot mess of a main character in TRY NOT TO BREATHE. This is my second novel to
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such an original premise. A young girl is attacked and ends up in a coma. A woman is increasingly falling apart becomes obsessed with the case. They were the same age, the case so highly known at the time. Amy was only 15 when attacked and Alex, 15 years later tries her best to work out what happened all those years ago. Alex is in such a mess of her own, a failed marriage and a terrible alcohol addiction. Can she even maintain focus for a day to work out what went wrong? The internal dialogue ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
MY BLOGS: Melissa Martin's Reading List

I cried at the end of this book, but it was a good cry. It was a somewhat happy ending....


I can't believe this is the author's debut novel. I loved it so much and it really touched me. Sometimes (or a lot of times) when we are young, we do some really stupid things. Amy did a stupid thing, but she didn't deserve what happened to her.

This book tells different points of view. You have Alex, Jacob, Amy, and a little bit from Sue.

Alex is was a journalist
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-books
As far as psychological thrillers go, this is the best I have read for some time. Try Not to Breathe comes from debut author Holly Seddon. The inspiration for this gripping tale came to Seddon while she was listening to a radio show discuss patients in vegetative states. Amy Stevenson, the main character who is in a coma for the bulk of Try Not to Breathe, formed in Seddon’s mind after listening to this show. Seddon has also conducted extensive research through the Royal Hospital for ...more
Larry H
Nov 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I'd rate this 3.5 stars.

Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House/Ballantine for making it available!

Here's a question: does anyone else, when they read mysteries, find themselves suspecting everyone, and whenever a new character is introduced you try to determine whether that person is the culprit? I don't believe I'm alone in that behavior, but it's difficult to disengage the "detective"
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Amy Stevenson was attacked 15 years ago and have ever since been in a coma. No one has been caught for the brutal attack. Alex Dale was once a loving wife, a mother to be and a brilliant journalist. Now she has nothing left. But, then she does an interview with a doctor about coma patients and meets Amy. They are close in age and grew up close by, but they never met. Amy remembers the case and the more she investigates about it the more obsesses is she to solve what happened to Amy. But, how to ...more
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life

I liked this one a lot. The story kept me very interested and I really had a hard time putting it down at times. I am not always a fan of multiple points of view but I think that it worked wonderfully in this book. As the book unfolded, I wasn't quite sure where things were going. I had a couple of guesses about who was responsible for what happened to Amy but I wasn't quite sure until it came out in the story. I do love it when I can't figure
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this book from the very first page It got me hooked & i kept turning the pages, Holly Seddon is an accomplished writer with a lot of promise.

This book is set in Kent Amy Stevenson is a young 15 year old girl who has a boyfriend Jake & her best friends Becky & Jenny they have a secret that they are hiding about Amy but wont tell.

Suddenly Amy is attacked in a park & left for dead she ends up in hospital in a comatose state unable to talk about who attacked her then Alex who
Jill McGill
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon is a well-written and fast moving novel that I thoroughly enjoyed!
It's very hard to believe that this was her debut novel - great job!!!
Nov 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brenda by: Helen Goltz

Amy Stevenson was only fifteen years old when it happened; her abduction in 1995 was the talk of the town and headlines in the newspapers for a long time afterwards. But Amy had been found alive much to her family’s delight. That was short-lived though when it was realised that Amy would never be the same again – completely unable to communicate and in a vegetative state, the horror of what had happened was intensified by the fact that Amy’s attacker was never found.

Fifteen years later
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow!! What a fantastic book! I really enjoyed this one. 'Try Not To Breathe' is Holly Seddon's debut novel and I cannot wait to read her next one (Just discovered I will have to wait until July 2017!).

The characters are so captivating and after finishing the novel I still want to know more about them. Alex is a semi-functioning alcoholic and I had no idea how strong this addiction could be. The lengths Alex goes to, to try and live a normal life are really quite disturbing.

And Amy, poor Amy...
Tim The Enchanter
Posted to The Literary

Pretention vs. Enjoyment - 4 vs. 5 Stars

4 Stars or 5 Stars. 4 Stars or 5 Stars. 4 Stars or 5 Stars. Choosing my rating tends to be an easy choice. The pretentious reviewer in me thought I should go with 4 stars. The down to earth guy who loves a good yarn thought this was worth all 5. In this case, enjoyment won out over pretention and 5 stars rule the day.

Plot Summary

The story follows Alex, a down and out journalist. Her life is controlled by serious
Liz Barnsley
**4.5 stars**

Try Not To Breathe was a wonderfully engaging and intense story – one to watch in early 2016 I have a feeling it is going to be a huge hit..

Amy had a secret – and her secret nearly killed her. Years later Alex Dale is fighting a losing battle with alcoholism and trying to reboot her journalistic career. Whilst on a story about vegetative and locked in patients she stumbles across a case she remembers well and decides it is time to try and find justice for Amy. Amy meanwhile is not
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She's earned chops at other forms of writing, but this is the author's first at-bat with a novel. And by golly, she's hit a home run with the bases loaded. Put another way, WOW!

The book begins in England in 1995 with a peek into the life of 15-year-old Amy Stevenson - a young girl with a few good friends, a mother and stepfather she adores (well, most of the time - she's 15, after all), a sweet boyfriend - and a big secret. Fast-forward 15 years and we see Amy again; this time, we learn she's
Frank Phillips
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars rounded up here! I cannot believe this is a debut novel from this author! It had all the elements that I hope for in a thriller and the ending shocked me with the reveal and got me all emotional with how touching it was at the same time. That in itself set it apart from most other solid Thrillers I have read recently! This is a book about assault, illness, disability and comebacks, which I personally have experienced recently. a great read and I would recommend it to pretty much ...more

First off I have to say that this character driven novel contains all the twists, secrets, guilt, misery, and mystery inherent in all of the best psychological thrillers available today. It does NOT read like the debut novel it is. Well done Holly Seddon!

Simplistically this is the story of two damaged women who become friends.

The first, Amy Stevenson, is very damaged indeed. She is a hospital patient in a vegetative state. Fifteen years ago when she was
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story revolves around two view points, Alex and Amy's. Alex is a journalist who likes to drink a lot, but is still capable of functioning at work. She is visiting a hospice to research coma victims when she sees a girl that she recognises as Amy Stevenson. Amy has been lying in a coma for 15 years after suffering a brutal attack, the culprit yet to be found. Alex becomes fascinated with Amy's story, she visits regularly, holding Amy's hand, talking to her and in her own way, develops a bond ...more
Elle's Book Blog
:: 6 Marvelous Stars ::

I received an ARC of this book via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. THANK YOU!
This book will be available on February 23rd 2016. You can preorder it NOW!

WOW. This book is amazing. Fans of mystery, thrillers, and suspense NEED to read this book. I was literally hooked from page one. I was gripping my kindle for dear life. And I constantly felt a need to know what was going to happen next. I absolutely loved this book. For a debut, it’s utterly perfect. I haven’t
Miriam Smith
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed "Try Not To Breathe" by Holly Seddon, I was gripped from the start and flew through it in a couple of days.
I loved the layout of the story, quick intriguing chapters from the different characters points of view, especially Amy's, knowing the medical state she was in.
This was a really well thought out and researched story, well written with compassion and emotion yet keeping the crime mystery still at the forefront.
I'd happily recommend this book and easily award it 5 stars!
Liz Lazarus
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this novel - fascinating story and very well written.
The point of view from Amy was so well done and the author's imagery is superb:
"It's hard to describe how I feel at the moment. I guess it's like being stuck very far down a well, being able to see a bit of sunlight out of the top, but being too far from it to be heard. I feel warm, cocooned but separated."
The portrayal of Alex's struggle with alcoholism felt authentic. Was reminiscent of Rachel in The Girl On The Train -
Tracy Fenton
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a big fan of comparing books and especially lumping psychological thrillers together under the next "Girl on a Train" genre which is how this book is being hyped. The only similarities I found were several unreliable narrators and 1 barely functioning alcoholic.

Taking all that into account.... I loved this book. I was gripped from the start to to very end and devoured it within 2 days (even waking at 4am this morning to read more). With short chapters it was a case of.. Oh just one
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Holly Seddon is the international bestselling author of TRY NOT TO BREATHE, DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYES and LOVE WILL TEAR US APART. AFTER DARK will be published in early 2021.

After growing up in the English countryside obsessed with music and books, Holly worked in London as a journalist and editor. She now lives in Amsterdam with her family and writes full time.

Alongside fellow author Gillian
“Time is not a good healer. Time is a blank page on which the left behind scribble their regrets and their confessions.” 4 likes
“When I woke up this time, the dream was still hanging around me, caught in my sheets and my hair.” 3 likes
More quotes…