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Learning to Breathe

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  368 ratings  ·  102 reviews
Sixteen-year-old Indy struggles to conceal her pregnancy while searching for a place to belong in this stunning debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Amber Smith and Sara Zarr.

Indira Ferguson has done her best to live by her Grammy’s rules—to study hard in school, be respectful, and to never let a boy take advantage of her. But it hasn’t always been easy, especially while
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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3.86  · 
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 ·  368 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
When you know a storm's coming, you can batten down and hide away, or you can try to outrun the rain. Or there's option three: stand your ground, face the weather, and hope your roots keep you in place.

How refreshing it is to dive into a book directed at Teens and YA that isn't a dystopian, a fairy retelling, and/or a teen romance where someone is going to die. Don't get me wrong, I lap those types of books up like they're chocolate, but every once and awhile I like something that is not any
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: tlb, 2018, ya, apl
3.5 stars
It took me a while to get into the flow of this one, but about mid-way through, all I wanted was a happy ending for Indy. Her happy ending, whichever way that would go.

This is a hard read about family, secrets, and assault.
Rachel Strolle
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing

TW: discussion of sexual assault; rape
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: june-2018


I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

I went in with knowing extremely little about Learning To Breathe because it was sent to me unsolicited by the publisher and actually, it worked in my favor. Because I didn't know much about it except for the fact it's about a young girl who is trying her best to hide an unwanted pregnancy and dealing with society judging her, I enjoyed it more. The story was intense a lot of the times. A trigger warning for
Liza Wiemer
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Learning to Breathe is the perfect novel for the #MeToo movement. It sucks you right into Indira's difficult life, which only becomes more challenging when her mom ships her off to her aunt's house in Nassau. The rich language and vivid description will take the reader on the painful journey Indira faces after she's rape. Despite the trials and tribulations, Indira's story is woven with beauty and respite.

This is so well done, it didn't feel like fiction. I couldn't put it down.

Highly recommen
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is one where the book would be so much stronger is the approach to storytelling was different. The disruptive non-linear sequences combined with the italicized sections make it hard to read and get into the flow.

Readers are in love and rooting for Indira especially with her “loose” mother who can’t give her the time of day, but a strong grandmother who tries to do what’s best for her when sending her to her Aunt Patrice’s but that’s when things go wrong. I adored Indy, but it was disrupted
Berkeley High School Library
Indy is 15 years-old and has spent her life in a small community that judges her for her mothers behaviors and for the size of her chest. But she’s too smart and sweet to let all of that get in her way, especially since the love and care of her grandmother keeps her warm. But then Indy is sent to Nassau to live under the care of her aunt, and the sexual advances of her step-cousin. Left to fend for herself with few resources, Indy stumbles upon a yoga retreat community where people look like her ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I can never tell her about him, what he did. We're so different and the words from my world don't translate anymore.

Thank youuu to Netgalley & Indigo for the ARC.

I'm kinda...hunting for the right words here. This wasn't a bad book by any means but I had the bare minimum passion for it the entire time. The words are beautiful, the meaning and payoff are satisfying, the little town is homey and comfortable. And yet it didn't really have any bite or charisma. It's a dreamy, lofty little read.
Navina Lotay
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Trigger warning: Sexual Assault

16 year old Indy has become pregnant, and is hiding it because of her young age and her fear that her aunt will kick her out. This novel is a story about how she deals with all of this, finds her real family, and heals herself. While the premise and plot are great, I wasn't feeling fully engaged with this one. There was nothing that made me particularly drawn to any characters or the plot, and that's why I'm giving it 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher for an advance
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Learning to Breathe is the debut YA novel by Janice Lynn Mather. It is a beautifully written and completely engrossing coming-of-age novel. Although it deals with some very tough and emotionally charged issues including sexual assault, Mathers treats them with sensitivity and empathy while providing a story that is unputdownable. And much of this is down to Indy, the sixteen-year-old protagonist who is strong, resilient, and most of all likable making the reader care deeply about what happens to ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
*Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy.*

What a beautiful book. The writing is lyrical and gorgeous and the story is heartbreaking but also uplifting. A great contemporary read.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
2,75 stars
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
It had a good story line. I would write more later about it. It does have a rape thing in the story so that's a warning if you don't read those books.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I must say, wow. This took me on a journey with a girl who was as real to me as a close friend. I had the honor of watching the main character grow from a scared, embarrassed teen to one who is ready to take on the world. That, to me, is priceless.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018

In the synopsis the publisher compares Janice Lynn Mather's Learning to Breathe to books by Sara Zarr and Amber Smith, and I believe that comparison is spot on. Learning to Breathe isn't an easy book by any means. There's plenty of heartbreaking moments as well as times at which I thought it couldn't possibly get any worse for Indy only to be proven otherwise. At the same time, however, Learning to Breathe does offer a breathe of hope, a breath of positivity, because at a core Learning to
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-books
Another wow book. This is to me a must read for educators to understand a child in a traumatic situation and what may be going on in their lives and minds.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It was a hard book to get into .
Overall it was a descent read ...
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't now how but I stumbled across this book, most likely it was because I wanted a book that I could relate to. I have trouble dealing anxiety, nothing serious, and the title was Learning to Breathe so I thought it was about dealing with anxiety. It's not, it is a great book nevertheless, she has a few panic attacks though. It is emotional book about dealing with [a concerning issue]
(view spoiler)
It is a wonderful story about f
Nancy Hollingsworth
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The rhythm of the storytelling is lovely and sweet. Some stories are difficult. There is redemption.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Indria “Indy” or “Doubles” is a strong character and her voice is powerful. Throughout the course of the book she finds her voice and it’s great to watch her come into her own. The characters are all unique and interesting and I would love more backstory on Joe, Churchy and Indy’s grandmother. I love that the author didn’t shy away from anything. She didn’t write the book with rose coloured glasses on the characters or for the reader.

#indigoemployee #netgalley #learningtobreathe
DNF page 130

TW: Sexual abuse, rape (graphic, not just mentioned), Emotional abuse, physical abuse, bullying

First of all, this is one of the most beautiful covers I've ever seen. Stunning.

I've had this book on my shelves for several months now. I tried listening to the audiobook a few months ago, but it was absolutely awful. This takes place in the Bahamas, and the writing makes it clear that these characters should have Bahamian accents. But the narrator, with the exception of one character, sp
Kiana Cook
Learning to Breathe is an important novel. It presents a refreshingly different lifestyle and setting than you normally encounter in YA with its descriptions of Nassau and Indy’s family life. It’s disturbing and unflinching in its descriptions of sexual assault and the palpable danger that its protagonist feels every day walking down the streets. I loved its emphasis on yoga and the found family that Indy encounters at the yoga retreat, and how they give her a sanctuary when she has nowhere else ...more
This review is also posted on!

Actually 3.5/5 stars
Content Warnings: Sexual assault, rape, slut-shaming, abortion (mention of), incest, substance abuse, emotional abuse, teen pregnancy

Learning to Breathe is a very important book, but also potentially triggering for readers. It is geared towards teens, but as you can see from the content warnings for it, there are lots of heavy moments. I am fortunate enough that I was not triggered by this book, but it was difficult
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I was immediately gripped by the synopsis of this book, so I put it on my Christmas wish list. I received a copy for Christmas and decided to get around to it ASAP. I’m pleased I did because although it didn’t blow me away, I thought it was a really interesting read. I will warn you though, it’s not an easy read. There’s sexual violence involved so proceed with caution.

Learning to Breathe follows Indy. She’s only just turned sixteen and finds herself pregnant after being assaulted. Indy now live
Samantha (WLABB)
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rating: 3.5 Stars

In her home village, they referred to Indy as "Doubles". They said she looked like her mother and probably shared her promiscuity as well. She thought Nassau would be a new start, a place she could escape her mother's reputation, but it seemed that trouble followed her from her home village and brought even more with it.

• Pro: Indy was so damaged by her past, and she lost her support system, when she left her grandmother for Nassau. Her fear and loneliness broke my heart, but I
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
TW: sexual assault, rape, physical and emotional abuse, substance abuse, elder abuse, incest.

This is a super difficult book for me to review. It follow Indy as her mother decides to send her to live with her aunt and uncle after not being stable enough to keep living with her. Her mother is an alcoholic and consistently sleeps with different men, but her grandmother is super understanding and her continues to support her mother as her life spirals. Upon moving in with her aunt and uncle, she sta
Nadia L. Hohn
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book still brings tears to my eyes, just thinking about it.  A truly touching story dealing with tough issues!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review Learning to Breathe by Janice Lynn Mather. Indy comes from a dysfunctional family except for her loving grandmother who would do anything for her, but she’s not always close enough to help and doesn’t own a phone. Indy has been sexually abused and ended up pregnant and she feels alone, with no one to
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Yoga Folks: Mather's Learning to Breathe First Half 3 10 Feb 20, 2019 01:44PM  
Yoga Folks: February Group Read, Learning to Breathe 6 26 Feb 08, 2019 05:14AM  
The Mary Sue Book...: Learning to Breathe 1 3 Jun 10, 2018 09:25PM  

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