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Just Breathe

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,255 ratings  ·  229 reviews
From the critically acclaimed author of A Step Toward Falling and Say What You Will comes a new YA standalone about mental health, chronic illness, and two teenagers learning to deal with both while falling for each other, perfect for fans of Five Feet Apart.

David Sheinman is the popular president of his senior class, battling cystic fibrosis.

Jamie Turner is a quiet sophom
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by HarperTeen
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  1,255 ratings  ·  229 reviews

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Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Awkwardness, Lungs and Being Yourself as You Just Breathe

As a person who is relatively healthy I enjoy reading about characters who struggle with disability. While lately I’ve dealt with various health conditions with loved ones I can’t imagine needing a new pair of lungs. Just Breathe takes us on that journey and gives us a glimpse of what that might be like through the eyes of a depressive girl dealing with her own issues.

Did Just Breathe make this Fangirl’s heart ache in all the best ways?

Mar 20, 2021 rated it it was ok
tw: suicide and depression
The basis of this book is a depressed girl meets a popular sick boy with Cystic Fibrosis. Sounds like a heartbreaking tale, with lots and lots of tears, right? Well, it wasn't.

This was live footage of me reading this book.

It was the story of a depressed girl meeting a popular sick boy and falling for him and kissing him, while he still has a girlfriend.

Firstly, the plot of this is simple and straightforward. I totally have never seen it before. And a huge--maybe I shou
Melanie  Brinkman
You will fall down in the complicated dance of life, but you must keep on.

A story of hurting hearts and hanging on. Struggles and strengths don't always show their faces.

It's not that bad. Or so David thought until his cystic fibrosis send him to the hospital once more. His family, friends, and girlfriend say that he'll be fine, but his recently increased need for new lungs says differently. As their reassuring lies pour in, he's never felt more alone.

It's no big deal. That's what Jamie tells he
Oh boy. This is going to be a tearjerker for me. I have both chronic illnesses & mental health disorders. It is a different kind of hell to live your life constantly in some form of pain or exhaustion or emotional/ mental pain such as depression or anxiety for just some examples... but because they are invisible illnesses... most people just don’t get it. You feel judged all the time. Sigh. You don’t have to actually be *dying* to live with very serious & devastating symptoms. Someone may LOOK a ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
As the blurb says, this book is about David, who has Cystic Fibrosis, and Jamie, a girl with depression.
I've got to admit that normally I stay away from this kind of stories. I don't like reading about people who definitely are going to die (for example: The Fault in Our Stars, I haven't read it, haven't seen the movie, and I can promise that I won't). But there was something about this one, that made me go against that "rule".
And I am quite happy I did. I really liked it.
We have two main chara
Oct 05, 2020 rated it liked it
3/5 stars!!

i'll write more when i'm not in the middle of a bio zoom (oops)
Just Breathe follows the story of David and Jamie. David, a popular high school senior with cystic fibrosis develops a friendship with Jamie, awkward high school sophomore suffering from depression.

The book kind of fell into that hole where when the book follows two characters with trauma or illness, it becomes their only personality trait and they're fairly one-dimensiona
Stephanie Fitzgerald
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Y.A. readers
A most excellent Y.A. novel! This was one that pulled me in two directions like taffy. Of course, I sympathized with the two main teen characters and cheered for them in their happy moments, held my breath for them in the tense parts. However, I am also a parent, so in some scenes I wanted to shake these two and scream, “Are you nuts? What were you thinking?!”
I would definitely recommend this for Y.A. readers, and anyone interested in learning more about Cystic Fibrosis.
Red Flags/Trigger Warning
Samantha Kelley
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-favorites

This book was..everything. This book was special to me for a lot of reasons.

First of all and most importantly, I have Cystic Fibrosis. Growing up, I didn't like to talk about it but now I LOVE talking about it because people need to be aware of what CF is. Last year we were blessed with 'Five Feet Apart' and this year we are blessed with this novel, continuing to educate and raise awareness of CF. This book was hard for me to read to be honest. I have always been one to
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book was beautiful, amazing and heartbreaking.
"Our greatest joy comes when we seek to do good for others. We are bound in a delicate network. We learn to be a human being from other human beings."

It surely felt like being on a roller coaster full of both sad and joy tears.

The story is about David, a senior in high school who is diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and Jamie, a sophomore who is battling depression. It all starts when Jamie is volunteering at David’s hospital. They both happen to g
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When your best friend has CF, you buddy read this book. I’m so proud of you, Samantha.

What a book. While Five Feet Apart showed the dangers of two cystic fibrosis patients living in close quarters, this book showed the relationship between cystic fibrosis and depression. Both are chronic illnesses that can be kept at bay before the floodgates suddenly open. An important read for those familiar AND unfamiliar with these conditions.

“I want to spend time with people I actually like, not people I fe
Blodeuedd Finland
Like I said, I like YA fic in audio that tugs on the heartstrings. Though I did wish this could have tugged a bit more.

David has cystic fibrosis and is at the hospital. I never really got to know him, sure he is sick, sure he wont live long, but still...

Jamie struggles with depression. Her father killed himself. She was homeschooled and she loves art. Her I do know. I felt so sorry for her.

They meet as she works as a volunteer. They get to know each other, and she takes risk, omg no, do not take
Richie Partington
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Richie’s Picks: JUST BREATHE by Cammie McGovern, Harper Teen, January 2020, 352p., ISBN: 978-0-06-246335-7

“Breathe, breathe in the air”
-- Pink Floyd (1973)

Popular Senior Class president David Sheinman has cystic fibrosis and has ended up in the hospital, unable to adequately function in his normal world of school, extracurriculars, and college applications. There’s no question: He needs a new pair of lungs way more than an Ivy League acceptance letter.


Apparently, my mother is softening. Sh
Erik McManus
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was adorable and made my heart feel warm. The unlikely pairing of two people both battling with their own struggles (be that physical and mental) and their story that they form together was just beautiful. I really enjoy books like this because it brings awareness to a disease like Cystic Fibrosis and gives you a narrative to help make the learning more enjoyable. It also highlights the severity of the disease and all the measures that need to be taken in order to live a normal life wi ...more
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Edelweiss and @harperteen for the advance Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this 1.7.20 release. David is the senior class president hiding a secret - he has cystic fibrosis. When he lands in the hospital and learns he has to officially go on the lung transplant waiting list, he is kept company by Jamie, a sophomore who volunteers at the hospital. She is hiding her own pain - she found her father after he committed suicide and fell into a deep depressi
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
i'm disappointed.
the first half of the book was a strong 3/5 but then it kind of all went downhill, the plot was confusing and messy and too many random things were thrown in during the last few chapters and the characters themselves didn't make much sense either, which made them frustrating to read about. the story itself wasn't bad, just too random (what part was supposed to be the climax??) and ended too neat and perfect in my opinion (call me cynical i don't care).
some positive things though
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. Just Breathe handles two vastly different kind of illnesses incredibly well; David has Cystic Fibrosis, and Jamie has clinical depression. The two form a friendship during Jamie's volunteer shifts at the hospital David is staying at, bonding over origami, films, and the general understanding of each other that their peers don't seem to grasp. An incredibly touching novel about medical issues that is also refreshingly different and new from other books in the YA illness genre. ...more
Natasha Hurwitch
Mar 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a sweet beach-read. Very accessible, cute rom-com. I really related to Jamie, and the medical parts were informative without being overbearing. The book is broken into three parts, and while the second part was a little confusing thanks to perspective, the other two parts made up for it. Definitely an easy way to pass a few hours.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Not as good as I thought it might be...
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it

Honestly, I feel like it handled the whole mental illness & physical illness really well, and accurately shows quite a few things which I am super grateful for. I loved all the characters and I enjoyed rooting for them. My gripe was the generic high school romance trope it fell into in the last third. It was saved a bit but like... not really.

But I really did fly through this book and I'm so glad I picked it up. It was something I picked up on a super whim and I'm glad I did.
Rachael Cavinder
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good young adult realistic fiction. If you liked The Fault in our Stars, you will definitely enjoy this one.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Some heavy topics... cystic fibrosis, depression, suicide... throughout an uplifting story. For me, the character of Jamie seemed a bit "flat" at times. That character didn't seem as developed as the rest of the story, so it all seemed to drag at times and just seemed a bit choppy. It took me a lot longer to get through this book than it should have because of this. ...more
Mel (Daily Prophecy)
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved Say What you Will, I felt okay about Just My Luck & A Step Towards Falling and now I have fallen in love again with Just Breathe.

This book deals with two different characters who happen to fall in love during difficult times. David is dealing with his health issues, waiting for new lungs, and Jamie struggles with her depression after the suicide of her father. Both teenagers meet in the hospital and start an (unlikely) friendship that soon blossoms into more, but David is in a relationsh
Shar | sunsnacksseries
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

The story follows David, a senior in high school who is battling cystic fibrosis. Along with Jamie, a sophomore who is clinically depressed.

"Depression can happen when everything is good. You wake up one morning so scared of losing it all you can't get get out of bed....He has a chronic condition he's living with, and so do I."

Jamie volunteers at the hospital David resides. They both go to the same school, but they aren't friends...until th
John Clark
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just the situation both Jamie and David are in at the start of this story would make it riveting, but the author keeps digging while slowly feeding readers more details about what life was like for each of them before they met. You start to appreciate just how determined these teens are to try going beyond the physical and emotional constraints placed upon them. In David's case, it's his failing lungs that also threaten to bring down other vital organs, not to mention his parents' 'just get bett ...more
Kelly Hager
I love Cammie McGovern's books so much! They usually make me cry, but they're also full of great characters and are just amazing.

I love how this book shows depression and how Jamie's not pathetic or trying to get attention or any of the other stigmas. Sometimes she's fine and sometimes she's not, and it's not ever under her control, just like how David's cystic fibrosis is out of his control. (Also, I didn't know much about CF before, so I feel like I learned a lot just from this book.)

This is o
Elizabeth C
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book because the characters are so relatable. Like all of Cammie McGovern’s characters, they drew me in and I cared so much about their fates that I read the book in two sittings. Both David and Jamie live in between life and death for two different reasons, and the old movie metaphors are perfect. Dance is also a fitting symbol of their connection to one another as well as their precarious relationship to the world. As an adult reader, I appreciate this book because it speaks to me ...more
Meg’s bookshelf (Moonlit Reads) 🌙
I’m going to be honest, this is one of the first books to ever make me cry. It was beautiful, heartbreaking, amazing. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. When I first requested this book, I thought it was a self-help book about anxiety. When I started listening to it, I realized it was something totally different and I LOVED it. Had I not thought it was something else, I probably would have never picked this book up, so I’m very glad I did!
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cammie has done another wonderful job of helping the reader to see through someone else’s eyes. Both characters have such authentic and real challenges medically and mentally- my empathy cup runneth over and I felt their arcs and realizations and challenges were so genuine. I am so glad that Cammie’s books are out there in the world for my students (and me).
Monty McGovern
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another winner from Cammie McGovern! This engaging and moving story focusses on a boy who struggles to hide his cystic fibrosis (he is the senior class president at his high school) and a girl at his school who similarly struggles to hide her depression. They meet because she volunteers at the hospital where he has to be admitted from time to time for treatments. Their relationship develops in interesting and unpredictable ways. McGovern presents their disabilities frankly, without sentimentalit ...more
Olivia Bragg
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This certainly isn't a perfect book but it deals with its sensitive topics with a certain finesse that i find very impressive. Cammie Mcgovern manages to write about mental and physical illness in a way that doesn't romanticize them. Which is a very impressive feat. Though the premise of the plot is a little unoriginal the book is actually quite unique. I definitely recommend having your heart broken by this book. ...more
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Cammie McGovern was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford and received the Nelson Algren Award in short fiction. Her work has been published in Redbook, Seventeen, Glimmer Train, TriQuarterly, and other publications.

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