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The Breathless

3.23  ·  Rating details ·  634 ratings  ·  206 reviews
No one knows what really happened on the beach where Roxanne Cole’s body was found, but her boyfriend, Cage, took off that night and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. One year—almost to the day—from Ro’s death, when he knocks on the door of Blue Gate Manor and asks where she is.

Cage has no memory of the past twelve months. According to him, Ro was alive only the day befor
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Delacorte Press
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Olivia I was confused as well, it never explicitly says in this book. You will just have to give it your best guess. But I think it was Ro's suitor, I forgot…moreI was confused as well, it never explicitly says in this book. You will just have to give it your best guess. But I think it was Ro's suitor, I forgot the name.(less)
Liana Kiff If you think your child is ready for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then they'll probably be OK with this book. There isn't any gratuitous sex, but there a…moreIf you think your child is ready for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then they'll probably be OK with this book. There isn't any gratuitous sex, but there are some quite adult concepts about grief, and some creepy bits. There is nothing here that would need to be cut for network TV.(less)

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Average rating 3.23  · 
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 ·  634 ratings  ·  206 reviews

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Elle (ellexamines)
The Breathless left me... breathless. Because of the annoyed sighing.

So this is... how can I put it... an emotional suspense novel that is not very emotional or suspenseful. Or tense. And sort of boring. And there was a love triangle between two guys who were into the lead's dead sister. It was a mess. Let's talk.

I think the lack of suspense is partially the writing style - which is somewhat dull and turns otherwise creepy scenes dull and boring - but also just the complete lack of interesting
Katie Nelson
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A page turning, gothic mystery!

Mae's sister Ro mysteriously died, and life has been hard for her family ever since. Her father is obsessed with finding Cage, her sister's boyfriend who disappeared the night of her death, but comes back almost a year later with no memory of the events. Ro doesn't want to help, but she desperately needs answers and with the help of Cage, and a little green book full of family secrets, she just might uncover the truth.

This book was atmospheric and suspenseful and f
Candace Robinson
I normally don't mind a few unanswered questions because I hate when books are tied in pretty pink bows. Buttttt there was some pretty important stuff that had zero answers! I'll get to that later under spoilers! As for characters I absolutely thought Mae and Cage were the perfect POV duo. I loved them both! As for the rest of the characters... I was annoyed and thought Ro was self centered and not sure why everyone was obsessed with her! Lance came off as a creep from page one. Dad—Sonny should ...more
Melanie Thompson
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mae's life changes when her older sister dies mysteriously. Her father is obsessed with finding the boy he believes to be her killer while Mae and her twin sister live in the shadow of Ro's death. The discovery of a secret family journal sends Mae into a dark series of revelations and life-changing events. This Southern Gothic tale twists and turns and ultimately surprises with a page turning thrill. Magic and mystery imbue the pages with a delicious, heart-pounding suspense. YA readers who like ...more
Sandra Mather
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This atmospheric Southern tale weaves a mysterious spell where the past lives on and affects the present. The redolence of dark magic hangs as heavily in the air as the fragrance of the coastal waters or the night-blooming jasmine. In the tradition of Anne Rice, this book will enchant you.
Feb 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Thriller A Thon: New to you author - Creepy cover

This book has no plot and the characters have no personality. There just isn't much of anything here.
Karen McManus
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a darkly beautiful book, imbued with echos of the past in its lush Southern setting. Mae Cole is still living in the shadow of her golden sister Ro, almost a year after Ro died. When Ro's former boyfriend knocks on the door of their historic home with no memory of the past year, his return sets off a haunting, magical mystery. I tore through this book, especially as I got toward the end, and I never saw the last few pages coming. Tara Goedjen writes gorgeously and weaves a suspenseful ta ...more
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Obviously I have not read the book yet but I heard about it from those in "the know" and I am eager to read it! I like mysteries and this sounds like an intriguing one with several unexpected twists. Looking forward to its release! ...more
Brina (Brina and the Books)
3 Stars

Reviewed on: Brina and the Books

The first thing that made me look into this book a little further was the stunning cover. The deep purple colors at the edge merging into black, and the girl in the write dress along with the white, fading writing were haunting and beautiful at the same time. When the description stated that The Breathless was "for fans of the dark family secrets of We Were Liars" I was sold.

When Roxanne Cole died on the beach, her boyfriend, Cage, was with her. He is also
Eve (Between The Bookends)
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it


descriptionGreat cover on this one. Good representation of the story. Good use of graphics. Great comosition and title work as well.description


descriptionThis was an impressive debut novel by this author that is for sure. I enjoyed it a lot. It was well written and paced. It was atmospheric in the setting. The plot was engaging and kept me turning the pages. It was creepy and dark in places. There were twists and turns. The characters were interesting and well developed. My only issue and why I took a star off was the ending
Caroline Graham
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Breathless is a gorgeous, atmospheric mystery that skilfully captures the gothic South. Goedjen’s world is rich, dark and full of intrigue and it is populated with characters that are as strange as they are compelling. The book’s central mystery is the death of Roxanne (Ro) Cole and the wake of grief and suspicion she leaves behind, but the narrative reaches so much deeper than this. It explores the boundaries between life and death, the complicated threads that bind a family together and, t ...more
If I could sum up how I feel about this book in one word it would be: ugggggggggggggghhhhhh.

I don't even want to go into all the reasons why I didn't like The Breathless but you know what, I'm going to anyway. I don't know if it's because I'm in a reading slump right now, but a lot of things in this book pissed me off to varying degrees. I'll list them in order of least pissed to most pissed:

5. The way it changed tenses so often was weird, and it felt less like a cool unique thing and more like
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed

This book completely slipped by me. I am usually pretty on top of book releases. I like to know what books are coming and when they come out. I missed this one and had no idea of its existence until I was sent a copy. I took one look at it and thought that it looked pretty interesting. The cover was eerily beautiful so I figured that I would give the book a try.

Wow! How can this be a debut novel? It definitely does not feel like one. The premise was excellent
Amanda Searcy
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Keep the lights on! This story is engrossing, suspenseful, and complex. I loved the setting and how it jumps back and forth between time periods. There are secrets at every turn, and a young woman who is trying to figure it all out while dealing with her grief and helping a friend. A one-sitting read and a great mystery! Perfect for fans of Beautiful Creatures!
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This author has a gift for painting a picture of a scene and inviting the reader right into it. Her descriptions were mesmerizing to say the least, and I could hardly put the book down. I read 2 teen reviews claiming the book is racist but those reviews were based on the ARC copy. In the new October release I saw no grounds for that accusation. The characters that the reviewer claims are black are described on page 30 as having "the palest skin Grady has ever seen." Any hint of racial issues hav ...more
Actual Review
I was curious about this book because of the mixed reviews it’s been getting. The Breathless is a gothic novel told in multiple perspectives.

I like the author’s writing even if it was weird. It was written in different tenses. Also, it was as if the POVs were told in 3rd person by an omniscient narrator, not the characters themselves. The constant use of “you” and “we” left me baffled. It seemed like the author wanted a narrator for her book who knew what was going to happen an
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow!!! Super fun, atmospheric southern gothic -- where has this been all my life?! Make sure to pick this up when it releases in October!
Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
You can find this review and others on my blog

“But a single flame is not enough to hold back the world’s darkness. […] Though when a light goes out, it can be raised again. You just need a book that is like a box of matches.”

Okay, this was a roller coaster of a book. The Breathless was one of my most anticipated books of this year (I know I have a TON of anticipated books), so I was beyond happy when I got an ARC of it and picked it up. I completely fo
Danielle Steenrod
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
“That was the thing about life–people always assumed there’d be more time. More time to say hello, more time to say I love you. More time to say I’m sorry. Until there wasn’t.”
-Tara Goedjen, The Breathless

When Mae’s sister Ro dies an unexpected death, her world is thrown upside down. No one knows how she died or who did it, if she was even murdered. The only person that was with Ro at the time of her death was her boyfriend, Cage. What is even more suspicious, is that he took off just after her
Dena (Batch of Books)
Jan 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery, ya
I think I liked it? I have mixed feelings about this book, but most of them are good feelings, so we’ll go with that.
Mae’s older sister Ro died almost a year ago.

Nobody knows what happened, but everyone thinks that her boyfriend Cage killed her. But then Cage shows up, looking for Ro, claiming that he remembers nothing of the past year. When Mae stumbles across an old family book her sister was obsessed with, she knows it has the power to change everything.
I adored the setting.

Blue Gate (the hou
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The thrills unfurl with delicious languor right from the first page of Tara Goedjen’s debut novel, The Breathless.
Tara draws on her teenage years in Alabama to conjure a murder-thriller infused with the miasma and mystery of the Deep South.
The tragic and unexplained death of teen Roxanne Cole, discovered on a beach one year ago, still baffles the community and her grieving family.
Most assume that her boyfriend, long since vanished, committed the crime.
Yet when Cage turns up to Blue Gate Manor lo
Jessica Taylor
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best debut novels I’ve ever read! THE BREATHLESS is a complicated tale exploring sisters, family, and loving those who hurt us the most. The non-linear storytelling kept me flipping pages as both storylines were equally compelling. Set in a crumbling mansion deep in the woods of Alabama, the setting is beautiful and at the same time truly frightening. Mae is a strong character and Cage is a dreamy love interest. The suspense had me reading late into the night - with all the lights on. ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I got an ARC back in the end of April at a book festival. I was instantly excited because I love books that take place in the south and deal with the creepy magical history. This book did not let me down. The setting of Blue Gate was perfect for this kind of story. I loved the storyline and the ending. The only downside was some of it was predictable.
Shady Cosgrove
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. I'm not usually a young adult reader but the pacing and characterisation was just great. The gothic setting was haunting and with all of the twists and turns I found myself rushing through my day to get back to reading. I'd DEFINITELY recommend this. Read it! ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I thought it was okay. It was a little predictable and interesting. I thought it was weird how Cafe was dating someone with the same blood as him or maybe not. Nothing was really completely explained like the ending about Cage. I understood most of it but the ending confuses me. If anyone who read this explain to me what happened.
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Received advanced reader copy from publisher via Baker & Taylor book supplier

I was set for a creep-me-out read and it never got my skin crawling. The setting was pretty awesome (old, historic mansion in the Deep South surrounded by woods) but the characters never made it past superficial and the rituals that should have scared the you-know-what out of me didn’t even make me blink. An unsurprising ending just settled the book into “ok” territory.

Other Goodreads reviewers saw racism in this book
Susan Sherman
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lock your doors. Turn off your phone. For heaven’s sake don’t start this book late at night. You’ll be up ‘til dawn. Tara Goedjen’s debut novel The Breathless is bound to keep you in that state. It has everything: a crumbling mansion deep in the Alabama woods; a tragic death haunting this family; a mystery itching to be solved; a book of spells; a witch or two, and even an old man in the attic who knows a lot, but can’t speak.
In Goedjen’s capable hands we move deftly from Mae Cole, a complicate
Patty (IheartYA311)
Jun 01, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book immensely and my rating was 4 stars until close to the end. The writing is fantastic as is the world building. The concept is original, dark, and wicked. Character development was spot on- I even had fun hating the characters that were meant to be hated- they felt like real people. The pacing is consistent thought the story, which is very hard to do. The only major issue I had was all the loose ends and unanswered questions. Some things took place without reason, and maybe th ...more
Tomes And Textiles
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Find the full review on the blog.

The Breathless is a non-linear Gothic horror told in multiple points of view, steeped in creepy houses, spirits, love, loss, sisterhood. And...that's the best thing I can say about this book. It just wasn't for me.

For the rest of my review, click on this link.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I must say, I have strayed away from YA lately because I can't seem to connect with the characters. When I read the synopsis for this mystery/thriller, though, I was so intrigued and had to take a chance on it.

When Ro Cole died, no one knows who did it or why she was murdered. All they know is that her boyfriend, Cage, disappeared the day she died and hasn't been seen since. Everyone speculates that Cage did it, but no one has heard from him in over a year. Until now. Cage wakes up in the hospi
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“That was the thing about life--people always assumed there'd be more time. More time to say hello, more time to say I love you. More time to say I'm sorry. Until there wasn't.” 4 likes
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