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Just Breathe

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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 sophomore, struggling with depression.

The pair soon realizes that they can be their true selves with each other, and their unlikely friendship develops into something so much more. But neither Jamie nor David can bring themselves to reveal the secrets that weigh most heavily on their hearts—and their time for honesty may be running out.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published January 7, 2020

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About the author

Cammie McGovern

13 books623 followers
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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 295 reviews
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
January 31, 2020
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?

Yes! This is really about two teens who become friends because they are both dealing with the darker side of life. They are trying to cope and learn that it’s easier when you share the struggle. Recently I met a woman who had a lung transplant and is dealing with rejection struggles as mentioned in the book. It really allowed me to see how genuinely the lung transplant was represented. But what made Just Breathe so incredible to me was the combo of depression, awkward teen and friends to lovers.

Jaime’s needy, depressive self made me want to hug her.

I loved Jamie. She really sucked me into Just Breathe. We meet David through her volunteering at the hospital where he spends his time dealing with cystic fibrosis. She’s no longer hanging out with her friends and making new ones isn’t likely to happen. Not until David reaches out through email. I just really identified with her friendlessness, her difficulty in talking about her depression and her very real reasons to want to end her life.

Through Jamie’s friendship with David we get to see how she copes and witness her healing from the past. It’s a very realistic look at dealing with depression. David didn’t cure her, she still has to struggle with depression, but she can also live her life and be happy.

David’s raw journey with cystic fibrosis is harrowingly real.

On the other hand I didn’t always like David, when you have a chronic illness it does tend to be all about you. Too much about you, so much so you don’t think about your loved ones as much as you should. And they think about you too much. David is dealing with parents and a girlfriend who totally resemble that dilemma. It’s hard to read at times, but I enjoyed getting an honest look at the ramifications of the disease. It’s raw, realistic and harrowing.

Through David’s friendship with Jamie we see him gain perspective about his transplant situation. His life will not flow the same as other teens who don’t have to deal with his same circumstance. Jamie didn’t always support David in the most healthy of ways, but she did help give him the freedom to make a stand for the life he wants to live going forward.

Just Breathe is messy, difficult teen struggles brought to life.

Jamie and David aren’t the only ones struggling in Just Breathe. There’s also his sister, Eileen, who is the neglected child of parents who concentrate on their chronically ill son. I loved how we thought her struggle was about attention when it was really about secrets. It felt so genuine to me. Teens keep secrets from their parents. And they don’t always know what to do with them.

We also have Jamie’s mom who has just gotten her daughter through a tough time in their lives. She doesn’t want to see this sick kid, David, pull her daughter off the rails. You can’t blame her. She was such a realistic mom that had me seeing both sides. And there’s David’s girlfriend, who is struggling to stay by his side even though that means hanging out in a hospital. She too has a secret and doesn’t handle the situation in the best way.

Just Breathe explores in depth the things we keep hidden from each other. And what happens when we open up to someone who might possibly understand.

It’s all in the details. From old movies and inspirational quotes to origami and art.
I’ve said it in the past and I’ll probably say it again in the future… the details make the story. This time it was origami and old movies that brought these friends together. These shared activities helped them to see each other’s perspective and deepened their relationship. I liked that there was a hint of romance at the end. They understood each other and the impermanence of life, so it makes sense to me that they’d take the love of friends and transition it to something more.

I also really appreciated how Jamie came across as an artist with depression. Since art was such a huge part of her life it makes sense that sometimes it was something she couldn’t handle. The use of origami then became a lifesaver. Both were such an integral part of her personal journey.

The end of Just Breathe is just right for Jamie and David’s journeys, together and as individuals. The future is filled with hope even though their struggles continue.

Just Breathe brings together two damaged teens who struggle together and find they can be the support the other needs. Life will still have it’s ups and downs but they can face them as a couple with whatever time they have left. It’s not just about living but living the life they want well.
Profile Image for Cass (all too tired).
295 reviews110 followers
April 7, 2021
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 shouldn't be proud of this--flex is that I predicted the entire plot (except for a couple of parts that I didn't expect) after the first five chapters. Jamie volunteers at a hospital and she meets David, the class president and a senior. She finds David when she is doing her rounds and he is struggling to breathe. She calls for a nurse and they exchange emails back and forth. Eventually they meet again in person (against the rules, how scandalous) at the hospital. This book goes back and forth between the two perspectives, David and Jamie. We find out that David has a girlfriend, his lungs are getting worse so he might have to get a transplant, and his younger sister gets in lots of trouble for attention. In Jamie's perspective we learn that she has depression and goes to group therapy, she has a loving mother who is constantly worried about her (which all moms are), and for some reason that isn't specified at first, her friend group kicked her out and left her with no friends. Jamie and David continue to meet and begin to fall for each other (emotional cheating, anyone?).

(You're going to hate this gif by the time this review is done.)

Second of all, this book was written like a contemporary romance from the 2000's. I was surprised that this book was published in 2020, but that could be because I got it from the library and the font was larger than I am used to. The entire book had written by an adult vibes.

The writing was quite unremarkable and I can't remember much that stood out as spectacular. Plain and straight to the point, nothing truly flowery, but that could be my preference and I read a lot of that type of writing in Fantasy and other genres. Though, Jamie and David's banter was sometimes fun to read.

Thirdly, the characters were flat, two-dimensional beings that I couldn't connect to. Okay, that might be an overstatement, but you get my point. The only thing that I related to was Jamie's awkwardness, which really shouldn't be something I'm proud of. Overall, the characters made little to no impact on me and I'm probably one of the most frequent criers during anything in my friend group. I sometimes tear up during a child-parent fight, like come on.

She is a depressed sophomore who lost all of her friends in a fight that isn't revealed until later in the book. She volunteers at a hospital because her mom got her a job there to both keep an eye on her and to give Jamie something to do.
I liked her spirit and how she was willing to do things out of her comfort zone. I enjoyed watching her overcome her depression and triumph, but then there is the bad and the ugly. She fell for a senior at her school. Age gaps are not a bad thing as long as they aren't creepy, but David's going to college next year and I think it's a proven fact that long distance isn't one hundred percent effective for all couples. For couples like Bobbi and Hunter [Agents of SHIELD] (yes, I will be recommending this show till the end of time), they thrive in long distance, but for most couples, staying together is what keeps them together.
For the most part I liked her, but she made some choices that made me a bit confused and she also gave me tons of second hand embarrassment.
I wanted to do this a lot.

A boy with cystic fibrosis, who also happens to have a really pretty girlfriend and be the student body president of the school. A complete utter sob story.

Oh and he happens to have very rich parents who are overbearing and are obsessed with his numbers (SAT, ACT, whatever). But he's nice enough, he's acceptable enough to ship with Jamie. But this glorified emotional cheating and a bit of cheating cheating (as in kissing while he still had a girlfriend).

The sister that I don't remember the name of :(
His younger sister is interesting. I liked her, but she caused more drama than was necessary. If she had just told David the stuff that she knew (I can't say much else without spoiling stuff), the emotional cheating would NEVER HAD HAPPENED. I have to say, I did predict that the sister and Jamie would become friends and the sister would end up liking her, making David like her even more. Just like in Pride and Prejudice with Georgina, Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth Bennet. She's a schemer and a troubled kid who wants their parents' attention for something good, but would never would admit it to anyone.

The girlfriend
That's all I have to say and

The parents
David's parents are a wreck. Jamie's mom is semi-stable, but is still mourning the loss of her husband. That's about it.

Fourthly, the representation was a bit dull. It's mostly heterosexual white relationships sadly, but I think it reps depression and cystic fibrosis fairly well. The author did her research well, I think and it doesn't feel forced (though I am not a person with a chronic illness, so I'm not the person to talk to). The girls are mostly 'mean' girls, which makes Jamie look more like a saint. She needs more female friends though other than David's sister.

Fifthly, the twists were boring and the reveals felt pointless.

Sixthly (I don't care if these are words anymore), the romance was fairly cute. This is the only thing that saved this from being a one star read. I am a sucker for high school/contemporary romance stories. I hate to admit this, but I rewatched the Princess Switch with Vanessa Hudgens multiple times. Yes, I'm sad, I know. Lay off me. Still the cheating bugged me, but if you take that out/gloss over it *cough* what the author did *cough*, it's fairly cute. Not the best ship I've ever seen, but they have chemistry and get each other in a way other people can't really understand.

And finally, in conclusion, I wouldn't recommend this book. Unless, you want to check it out and see for yourself. Or, like myself like romance novels and have run out of YA options (fat chance, but you do you).

1.5 stars

P.S. Thank you for reading my longest to date review.
Profile Image for Melanie  Brinkman.
618 reviews74 followers
May 9, 2020
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 herself as her depression hits harder, and unable to relate to any of her former friends. Surely if she can continue to live life, and volunteer at the hospital she can get through this. There, she find David struggling to breathe.

The two soon develop a friendship that quickly turns into something more. Together, they can finally be themselves, not their illnesses. But can they reveal the secrets that way heaviest upon their hearts? Or will time run out for them both?

Trigger warnings for anxiety, mention of steamy scences, illness, death of a parent, money worries, lots of body talk, neglect, depression, hospitalization, panic attack, suicide, and grief.

Shy, lonely Jamie hid her pain. A hospital volunteer, she held so much empathy within her heart, but she struggled to give herself the same compassion. As someone who also struggles with depression, her raw, honest battle with it was painfully authentic. I admired the artistically creative girl's attempts to cope using the very thing her mental illness tried to taint.

Popular, class president David wasn't happy to be in the hospital once more. Even though he tried to buy into everyone (but the doctor's) delusions that his cystic fibrosis wasn't getting worse, the truth terrified him. While I wasn't always the biggest fan of the well-liked boy, I admired his bravery as he made tough decisions about his health. His worry about his rebellious sister was also endearing.

Helping you helps me. On paper, Jamie and David didn't seem a likely pair. One loner, one socially beloved, they came from two different crowds. But watching their simultaneously healing and harmful relationship develop over old movies, positive affirmations, origami & ballroom dancing was cute. However, there was a spoilery element, that made it feel slightly wrong.

Grief folds itself over everyone differently. Some willfully ignore it, some lash out against, some can't help but be swallowed by it. As the teens delt with their respective illnesses, their families did too.

Each of their family members manifested grief in various ways that were authentic to their characters. Although I wished most of the supporting cast had been a bit more developed, I absolutely adored David sister, Eileen. She proved herself quite the force, but the poor girl deserved so much better than to be neglected as a side effect of her brother's illness. Surprising, kind of wild, I would read a whole book about the resilient girl.

We can't control everything that happens between each breath, but we must hold on for our futures. Growing in nuance, Cammie McGovern's prose painted a powerful picture of life with a chronic illness. Jamie and David's dual narration made me feel incredibly empathetic towards every one of their truths and fears. Tackling feelings of crippling loneliness and the trials of staying hopeful, coping, and grief in an honest way, this contemporary tugged on my heart. Soothing and surprising, Just Breathe was a breath of fresh air.

Life gets bleak. Let this book remind you to Just Breathe.
Profile Image for Clau.
825 reviews117 followers
January 15, 2020
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 characters, whose lives couldn't be more different, but somehow they understand each other better than anyone else. Both of them have faced stuff that kids their age haven't, and therefore, can't really get.
I honestly think this is a really touching story, about facing your problems and finding yourself, yet accepting that being lost is okay too.
Profile Image for Ashley.
781 reviews422 followers
Want to read
November 6, 2019
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 and ACT fine & not be, at all.

Do not judge others, period, kids. You don’t know who you could possibly be hurting in a very serious way.
Profile Image for Samantha Geissler.
563 reviews20 followers
January 11, 2020

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 make it seem like CF ISN'T a big deal, but it is. David (who has CF), really opened my eyes and scared me, made me proud and made me cry. One thing he says in the beginning of the book really stuck with me on a personal level when he talks about his case being "mild." That's me, always but there really ISN'T a mild type.

Second, I struggle with depression as well (which is common with CF). Jamie's story with depression made me uncomfortable for the fact that she was raw, honest, real and relatable. I saw myself in both of these characters in so many ways.

Cammie McGovern did an absolutely beautiful job of writing about both Cystic Fibrosis and depression and I enjoyed how these characters came together, despite both of their "chronic" illnesses.

This book is definitely directed toward a younger age group, but I still think that it would be helpful for anyone of any age to read this tale. It's educational, emotional, beautiful and enjoyable. I literally loved everything about this book and the story and how it all unfolded.

Also the cover? GORGEOUS. The quote on the front is EVERYTHING: "You can't see the future yet. But it's there. Just hang on."


"It's a complicated business, having something like Cystic Fibrosis, which is a big deal except you spent most of your life pretending it isn't. You say, "It's like asthma, only you cough a lot. I'm not contagious; my body just makes a lot of mucus..."

"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."

I would give this book MORE than 5 stars if I could.

"I didn't understand the way depression worked - that it feels physical for a long time, like something else is wrong. Your bones ache. Food tastes different. You're always tired because you never sleep. You can't think clearly, and you're too exhausted to do anything."
January 8, 2021
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 Warnings:
Mentions of suicide and attempted suicide are present.
Profile Image for brie.
554 reviews49 followers
October 5, 2020
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-dimensional. Both characters felt very flat and boring to me.

David was probably a little bit more enjoyable to me, since I found his struggles with his CF to be a lot more interesting. His sense of teenage rebellion and questioning the meaning of life felt a little tired at times, but nonetheless his story had substance and held my interest. His feelings of fear and wanting to throw away his college dreams were really interesting to read about. It didn't fall into this TFIOS pit of clichés, but had natural ups and downs and authentic character feelings and actions.

The thing is, Jamie's story-line was a lot more boring. The book alludes to an incident prior to the beginning of the book, and how though she might seem on the come-up her mental health is in a somewhat fragile state. What made the book somewhat disappointing to me, was that her mental health and struggles with depression were always in reaction to her relationship with David. "You're only going to get hurt and end up in a bad place again", "You're becoming friends with him to project your own insecurities and loneliness", etc. Jamie's mental health is much overlooked in this story. Excluding a few mentions of medication, and conversations with her mother the focus of the story always felt more like it was on David. In a twisted sort of way, the book inadvertently emphasized the stigma that physical health > mental health. I'm SURE that wasn't the intention of the author, but without a clear-cut scene stating my feelings are just as valid as yours, the book failed to make me comfortable with how Jamie's struggles were being dealt.

The whole jealous girlfriend, cliché parental death, not my thing. They had some cute banter but I failed to feel like they had much romantic chemistry and thought they could've better suited for as friends with struggles that support one another instead of having to pair them together. The sole saviour of this book is David. I appreciated him and his story, and very little else.

If you like sick kids stories I would still very much recommend! But to me, it was kind of a let down :(
Profile Image for Lamisse.
77 reviews25 followers
March 30, 2020
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 go to the same school but they were not friends until they actually bonded to be really good ones to something much deeper than that.
I surely enjoyed this book, I smiled and cried through it. Cammie featured two important topics in a realistic way that makes you interested in knowing more about it, I enjoyed her writing style and if you’re a fan of TFIOS, Five Feet Apart and All the Bright Places you’ll surely enjoy this one too.
Profile Image for Creya.
333 reviews193 followers
January 12, 2020
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 feel like I’m supposed to spend time with.”

“Being happy takes some work. For some people it takes a ton of work. If this isn’t how you’re genetically programmed, it takes therapy and medication and living with the side effects of medication and the stigma if anyone finds out you’re taking medication.”
Profile Image for Blodeuedd Finland.
3,387 reviews293 followers
January 23, 2020
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 risks Jamie!

It gets really hard. I felt for her, and I can't say more because spoilers.

It also got weird as, well, spoilers!

I liked it, I will tell you, no tears. No sadness.

Narrators. I do not think I have listened to either narrator before, but they did well. I enjoyed listening to them.
Profile Image for Sophie Gabrielle.
Author 3 books60 followers
March 30, 2021
DNF for now.
I’m just not in the mood for this right now. I have to think about my own illness enough as it is, I don’t want to be reading about it as well right now. Gotta look after my mental health! I will go back to it someday though, when I feel stronger.
Profile Image for Richie Partington.
1,077 reviews123 followers
February 16, 2020
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. She’s talked to enough outside specialists to agree with Dr C’s assessment, and now my parents are doing what’s required to get me on the transplant list. They’re submitting their own health histories and talking to a psychologist about their ability to support me for the year I’ll spend recovering from the operation.
‘A year?’ I gasp when I hear this. ‘Is that what they’re saying?’
‘Yes,’ my mom says. ‘That’s what they’re saying.
This news sends me back to the message boards on my CF websites. My mother doesn’t think I should spend too much time on these boards. ‘It’s not good for you to read depressing stories. CF is the only thing you have in common, and you aren’t defined by your disease.’ I don’t tell her, I’ve been lying in bed for three weeks, draining bile from my chest and breathing with one lung. At this point, I’m pretty defined by my disease.”

Sophomore Jamie Turner already knows who David is when she unexpectedly meets him in the hospital where, after school, she’s serving as a Smile Awhile volunteer.


It’s unnerving how often I channel my dad’s joking style when I’m talking to David. Whenever he mentions it, some part of me forgets for a second and wants to say, ‘If you think I’m funny, you should meet my dad.’ Then I go quiet.
Recently a new worry has cropped up in my mind: David likes the Dad-like qualities in me most of all. Even as I find comfort in being like my mom--working hard, thinking about others, learning practical skills--my dad is in me, too, popping out daily to make this boy laugh. It feels like a high-wire act, too risky to get away with for long. I can’t imitate parts of my charming, suicidal father and be sure that only the charming part comes out.”

When Jamie first encounters David in his hospital bed, he’s in extreme pain and struggling to breathe. She quickly summons a nurse. Afterward, David emails Jamie to thank her and suggest they communicate. As they get to know one another, she ends up becoming his emotional support system, regularly exchanging emails and texts, stopping by to see him, lending him copies of the classic films her late father had turned her onto, and teaching him to do origami. David has a girlfriend, but Sharon’s pretty much missing in action.

David and Jamie find that they can uncharacteristically be their unguarded selves when they talk or email or watch movies or fold paper with one another.

What David doesn’t know is that Jamie is in really bad shape, too. She spent her childhood being homeschooled by her artist father before attending “real” school. Then she was the one who found her dead father, from whom she’d inherited depression as well as artistic talent. Eventually, also suffering from depression along with feelings of guilt, she’d almost succeeded in killing herself, too. She spent time in a psychiatric hospital and underwent counseling before returning to school and starting the volunteer gig at the hospital where her mom works.

The story, told in alternating perspectives, shows the pair become closer and closer. David, who increasingly yearns to escape the confines of the hospital for a brief respite and fresh air, eventually persuades Jamie to assist him in sneaking out. Jamie knows about David’s girlfriend, but falls into imagining these outings as dates.

Eventually one of their escapades goes south and Jamie has to call for an ambulance.

David falls into a coma, and that’s the end of Jamie being permitted to see him. The messy aftermath involves furious parents, hospital officials, and lawyers.

Amidst this drama, a third troubled character, David’s younger sister Eileen, makes the story even more powerful and cohesive. David wants Jamie to befriend and influence her. Eileen eventually becomes the person who, in some critical situations, can see what her brother and Jamie cannot.

The accurate, in-depth depictions of CF and depression are enlightening and add to the tension.

Will they survive? Can they help heal one another? While published under the teen inprint, there’s nothing here that makes me hesitate to share it with seventh and eighth graders, with whom it will be extremely popular. While there is potential for romance mixed into the medical drama, the story here is foremost about taking risks to be a caring and thoughtful friend.

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com
Profile Image for pizza boy.
253 reviews2 followers
February 16, 2020
ספר מרגש על נערה שמתאהבת בנער חולה בסיסטיק פיברוזיס. כן אני יודע, מקורי מאוד! בכל מקרה הסיפור כתוב בצורה קלילה, כיפית ולא יותר מדי קיטשית. אני תמיד אוהב לקרוא סיפורים שמלאים בתקווה אבל תוך כדי מלאים בכל כך הרבה פחדים מהעתיד.
4.5 כוכבים
Profile Image for maya.
254 reviews37 followers
April 9, 2020
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: david's and jamie's very different chronical illnesses and the way they were talked about. i think jamie's depression could've been explored more but it was fine.

(oh and one last thing that kind of bugged me? '"she's in tenth grade, eileen.' 'yeah, but she doesn't act like it.'" idk this quote makes me uncomfortable. in this case it's 'just' a two year gap but...)
Profile Image for Erik McManus.
302 reviews291 followers
April 4, 2020
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 with it.

The characters were both likable in their own ways and I found their interactions to feel real and genuine. I kept wanting to pick up this book when I put it down because I wanted to escape back to their story and find out what was going to happen next. I like experiencing characters with real emotions and interactions and this book gave me that. I find that a lot of the time, you read contemporary and the interactions just seem unbelievable or ridiculous but this book kept it very real and I appreciated that.

We need more books like this. I would recommend this to anyone that wants a cute story about life as a teenager, battling a hard disease and friendship.
Profile Image for Carli.
996 reviews8 followers
December 26, 2019
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 depression that resulted in a hospital stay of her own. As the two forge a friendship - and maybe more - they fail to realize the risks they are taking maybe be more dangerous than they realize. A bit of sex talk has me on the dance about this one for a 6-8 library, but I definitely recommend it for mature 8th grade readers on up.
Profile Image for Andrew.
1,473 reviews80 followers
October 6, 2019
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.
March 29, 2020
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.
Profile Image for raya.
108 reviews46 followers
August 5, 2021
Not as good as I thought it might be...but then again, i knew this was going to be a cliche.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
232 reviews7 followers
February 17, 2020

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.
247 reviews1 follower
August 12, 2020
A good young adult realistic fiction. If you liked The Fault in our Stars, you will definitely enjoy this one.
Profile Image for Tlwinky.
590 reviews3 followers
February 4, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Mel (Daily Prophecy).
1,075 reviews466 followers
September 21, 2019
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 relationship and doesn't remember much after his transplant. Jamie decides there is no place for David in her life, not with her depression.

Are the two capable of finding each other again?

I loved quiet, shy, talented Jamie and her soft nature. I have a weak spot for characters like her and it was great to see her grow and use her sass around the people she trusts. Her healthy relationship with her mother was a nice addition to the story and it was obvious the two love each other.

David is a more popular guy at school, he has been with his girlfriend for years, but his relationship with his parents is rocky and he deals with his rebellious little sister. When his health declines he is set for the hard reality: without new lungs, he will die soon.

Jamie works at the hospital and during one of her rounds, she meets David. The two of them have a spark and this soon turns into a friendship. I really liked seeing them grow together and explore the world with their problems. The tone of this book is quite light, despite the dire situation and heavy topics, which made it easier to read.

Recommended :)
Profile Image for Shar | sunsnacksseries.
166 reviews21 followers
January 14, 2020
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 the two of them form a friendship in an unlikely way, surprising them both. They realize they can be completely themselves around each other, and aren't afraid to be open and vulnerable.

Their friendship blossoms into something deeper, but before they can do anything about it, something terrible happens after they break the rules. Their lives change, and both of them wonder if they can revive the close bond they once had.

Just Breathe was a wonderful read. I read it in two sittings, because the writing style was fast paced and flowed together perfectly. I love how this book featured deep topics, in a deep, meaningful and realistic way. Perfect for YA. I also love a good slow-burn romance. If you're a fan of books that tackle mental & physical health (TFiOS, All The Bright Places, Five Feet Apart, etc...) I highly recommend this one.

Profile Image for John Clark.
2,215 reviews22 followers
March 7, 2021
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 better and you'll be off to college' mantra. For Jamie, it's the pitfall-strewn road back from depression and a suicidal episode, coupled with her painful awareness that her former friends are, at best tolerating her, and at worst are using her to make themselves feel better. Kudos for David's sister Eileen. She's appealing all the way through the story, no matter what she wears or does. What really struck me was what happened after their third trip from the hospital. I don't want to give anything away, but that whole part of the story was lights-out the way it was written. This is a truly rich and emotional story of illness, recovery and perseverance. It's an excellent choice for all school and public libraries.
Profile Image for Kelly Hager.
3,097 reviews129 followers
December 30, 2019
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 obviously a book that deals with heavy topics but there's a lot of lightness here, as well. It never felt like a chore or too emotionally taxing to read it. (Also, if you are a fan of classic movies, you are going to love Jamie.)

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Elizabeth C.
96 reviews1 follower
January 9, 2020
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 on a much more rich, complex level than I would normally anticipate from a YA novel. Read Just Breathe; you’ll be glad you did.
Profile Image for meg.
87 reviews16 followers
February 24, 2020
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!
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