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Just Breathe

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  300 ratings  ·  83 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
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by HarperTeen
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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?

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
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 ...more
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
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
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
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 depression that
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.
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
Richie Partington
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
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 ...more
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
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 ...more
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
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mental-health

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.
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
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).
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a great book to read while sitting in a waiting room for almost two hours. Cute story, interesting theory: Does our spirit separate from our bodies when we're near death? I can't answer that, but Cammie McGovern did in her own way.
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.
Emily Kamminga
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book.
Raya Elhajjar
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Not as good as I thought it might be...
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.
Victoria Lederer
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was drawn to this book because of some reviews likening it to Five Feet Apart. While there were some similar elements, I like that this book depicted a more visible illness as well as an invisible one (depression). Glad it found its way into my reading pile!
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-fav
It was heartbreaking and hopeful at the same time. I loved it, also I wanna cry for the characters for a couple of days or a lifetime can’t decide I just love them so damn much they deserve the best.
I get an email each week that sends a chapter a day of a book. I often am not interested in them, but this one caught my attention and I read the first chapter, then the second, then found myself waiting for the next chapters anxiously. When the week was over, I realized I would have to wait another week before the book was released, but i went and preordered it so I could finish the book as soon as it came out. It is a YA book with that tone, but I really liked the story of two teenaged kids, ...more
Yeah, it's another sick-teenager novel, but it's a GOOD one. Not maudlin or predictable. Both main characters are flawed but kindhearted. Even minor characters get to grow and change. I stayed up way too late reading this.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Absolutely lovely. This has an All the Bright Places feel - two people coming together in such an unexpectedly beautiful way. Love.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING!!! Such a great read. When you think its going one way, it takes an unexpected turn. Thanks to Epic Reads for the sampler in their newsletter at the end of December and for First 5 for the chapter samplers before the release.

I was hooked from the first page. Very "All The Bright Places" and "If I stay" style

5 Stars!!
Just Breathe is gonna be the easiest book to sell. Did you like Five Feet Apart? Then here ya go. Yes, it’s more “sick lit”. Yep, like FFA, it’s Cystic Fibrosis. But that’s where the differences end. David has CF but his parents have always assured him that he has a “mild case” so he has always assured his friends (and himself) that it’s no big deal. He’s President of the Senior Class. He has a longtime girlfriend. He’s well-liked and charismatic. He’s got no time for CF. But he can’t pretend ...more
Rachel Reeves
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for providing a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Another great book from a wonderful author. I have enjoyed all of McGovern's books I have read and she is such a delightful person as well (I've moderated a panel she was on at a book festival in the past).

This is a beautifully written book. McGovern really has a gift for giving a respectful and realistic look at a variety of health conditions young people face. She writes characters living
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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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