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A Breath Too Late

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4.24  ·  Rating details ·  483 ratings  ·  159 reviews
For fans of Girl in Pieces, All the Bright Places, and Girl, Interrupted comes a haunting and breathtaking YA contemporary debut novel that packs a powerful message: hope can be found in the darkness.

Seventeen-year-old Ellie had no hope left. Yet the day after she dies by suicide, she finds herself in the midst of an out-of-body experience. She is a spectator, swaying
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 28th 2020 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Shirley Ririhena I don't remember curse words being used but there's few scene with verbal abuse and degrading words. As for sex, it has one make out scene and implied…moreI don't remember curse words being used but there's few scene with verbal abuse and degrading words. As for sex, it has one make out scene and implied sex.(less)
Alicia Neither, its rather heartbreaking 💔…moreNeither, it’s rather heartbreaking 💔(less)
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Damn, this is gonna be along one... I have many mental disorders, one being bipolar depression with those wonderful suicidal thoughts. Yeah, I still get them a lot. Seems funny with my 2 year cancer free anniversary coming up. But, mental illness is a bitch you cant understand. SPOILER EXCERPTS!



Im going to add a lot of excerpts from the book, mostly things I felt meant something to me, including some from authors note. This book is also about domestic abuse.

Authors Note:



*The moment the truth
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Maria
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
We are birds with paper wings. Just because the wings were tattered, doesnt mean they could never fly. It doesnt mean that their little fragile lives were worth nothing.

I don't think I'll ever forget Ellie's story. God, there's so much grief and helplessness.
And I want to kill Ellie's mother. I mean, it is when your daughter burned herself alive you remembered that you had to fight? Fucking coward!
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destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I was really looking forward to this, but it wasn't what I expected at all. Yes, it is a book about a girl regretting her own suicide, but I feel like the vast majority of it is actually about domestic abuse and about Ellie's mom more or less keeping them in a situation where their lives are being threatened constantly and they face almost daily violence from Ellie's dad. As a domestic abuse survivor myself, I usually find stories like this cathartic and releasing, if that makes sense, but... ...more
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell
Ugh, just reading the synopsis already makes me feel sad.

Really hope this isn't another 13 Reasons Why....
A.J.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-nos, contemporary, arc, 2020
I received a physical ARC of this book as part of the Roaring 20s Debut group ARC tour. My opinion is my own and I am under no obligation to write this review.

Equal parts beautiful and devastating, A BREATH TOO LATE is not an easy book to read, but I absolutely believe it'll be a lifesaver to many.

Told from the perspective of Ellie Walker, a high school senior who's just committed suicide yet still lingers in her old home and around the people she used to know, there are no magic tricks to this
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Sierra Elmore
I was lucky enough to read a very early version of this story, and I still remember how beautiful and wonderful and haunting it is. Rocky's crafted a beautiful story, and I can't wait to see the final version!
Isabella (The Feminist Bookworm)
Wow. This is the first book in 5+ years that made me cry. It was absolutely devastating but incredibly beautiful.

The best way to describe this book is that the main character is in the same predicament as Mia in If I Stay, except that she is actually dead. The main character is Ellie, who has recently died by suicide. She finds herself essentially a ghost still on earth, right beside her family and friends. The book itself is written in an epistolary format to a variety of different people and
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PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
2 STARS

Ellie wakes up dead after committing suicide. She watches as her mother and best friend August mourn. Regretting her choice, she begins each chapter addressing a person or thing, trying to figure out why she killed herself.

Rocky Callen pens beautiful pose, words that were a pleasure to read, despite the bleak nature of A BREATH TOO LATE. Dark books are among my favorites to read, but I didnt connect with Ellie and her story. Callen starts with a preface that she wanted to write a boom
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Samantha (WLABB)
After years of abuse, Ellie has lost all hope, but finds herself lingering after dying by suicide. As she attempts to reconstruct the events leading to her death, she discovers quite a few shining pieces of hope in the rubble.

Look, this book is about a young woman, who chose death over continuing to live in an abusive and oppressive home. Yes, it's devastating at times, but it's also absolutely beautiful.

The story begins after Ellie's death, and as she watches others grieve for her, she starts
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Ashleigh
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreakingly tragic but beautifully render.

I have never been so emotionally battered by a book.
Renata
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I initially gave this book 3 stars but I thought deeper about it and I believe it deserves 4 stars. I think this book is sad, truly heartbroken but so beautifully written, like I couldnt stop reading and you can feel and understand the character so well it deserves more. If anyone thinks about reading this book, there are some triggering warnings, obviously the suicide but also an abusive father.

We follow the story of Ellie, a student in her last year of high school that ends her life one day,
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Cheryl
A Breath Too Late is a heartbreaking, moving, intense, yet beautifully written novel about a young teen, Ellie Walker, who, after years of living in an abusive home situation, ends her life during her senior year of high school.

The novel begins when the spirit of Ellie relives her life as it unfolded prior to her death. Through this experience, she is able to come to an understanding of not only her thoughts and feelings, but also those of her mother and her close friend, August. She comes to
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Katherine Hardisty-Cranstone
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't quite know how to review this book because it left me speechless. I'll start off that there are some triggers.

TRIGGERS: Domestic violence, abuse, depression, suicide

But wow did this book need to be written. It follows the story of Ellie who witnesses the lives of those she knew after she commits suicide. It is written as letters as she follows the threads of her life that led her to take her own life.

Rocky Callen weaves a BEAUTIFUL tale of love, loss, and hope in the face of so much
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Amy
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review. All opinions are my own.

OK-full disclosure, I finished this book a week ago and I am STILL thinking about it. I have struggled a bit with writing a review, not because I didn't know what to say (it's amazing, it's impactful, it's important) but that I wasn't sure I was going to say what needs to be said about this book in a way that would convince others to read it. Because you need to. Trust me
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Anandi Puritipati
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fuck you. Fuck me. Fuck.
Nicole Kronzer
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
A BREATH TOO LATE is heartbreakingly wonderful.

I teach high school English and creative writing, and whenever a book with suicide themes comes up, I worry for my students and how suicide can become glorified. Our district was named a suicide contagion zone a number of years agothis is an issue that is always on my heart and mind. This book acknowledges and names without glorifyingits a remarkable feat.

I love the two timelines. The characters are believable and I feel so much for all of them. I
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Dante
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing

When I first read the description for A BREATH TOO LATE by Rocky Callen, I knew it was one of those books that I would feel in my soul.

I wasn't wrong.

The book is about a seventeen year old girl named Ellie who, after dying by suicide, finds herself stuck. Stuck in memories, stuck in depression, and stuck in the aftermath of a world where she no longer lives and is forced to watch the people around her process their grief. I've lost people to this disease. It's a subject that always hits home,
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Cynthia
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ok, now that Im done crying, I can compose my thoughts.

Rocky Callen has written a wildly impactful story full of hope amidst the sadness through its elegant, poetic prose and a creative epistolary structure. While the main character, Ellie has died by suicide, this isnt a book that glorifies it nor shares specifics of how she dies. Ellie is a spirit not realizing what has happened as she visits her mama, August (childhood best friend and budding love interest), and father. She is inundated with
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Kali Cole
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is devastatingly beautiful. I really loved how this is written and how every page feels poetic and raw. It almost reminded me of Girl in Pieces which is one of my favorite books. It read as if the reader is outside looking in which I find to be really compelling. Trigger warnings: Depression and Abuse are the key topics in this book and the abuse is mildly detailed just to let you all know before you pick this book up. This is definitely a necessary and impactful read that everyone ...more
Susan Ballard
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 ⭐

*Trigger warnings: suicide, physical abuse, depression. (This review will mention these issues as well).


This isnt the first Young Adult book to be about suicide, and it wont be the last. It is an all too common theme in YA novels, and a sad reality. So what makes A Breath Too Late worth reading? Its brutally honest and raw. It does not glamorize suicide, in fact just the opposite.
Seventeen-year-old Ellie has just taken her own life when she awakes in a state of limbo. Not fully aware of
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Carolyn Stover
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Suicide takes the life of 17 year old Ellie. Instead of moving on she stays and relives parts of her life and witnesses the aftermath. Haunting and beautifully written. I think every book gives us something, new knowledge, new perspectives, happiness, etc. Depression and domestic abuse are very real. What this book gave me is a determination to listen more closely, dig a little deeper and be more aware of what friends and people I interact with may be going through.
Dana
Oct 15, 2019 marked it as to-read
10/15/19 - I can tell this will be triggering for me, but I want to read it to give me hope on my bad days.
Donna Hines
Some thrillers are just too far fetched for one's appetite and this one was somewhere in the middle of that road.
It goes down with Ellie waking up dead after committing suicide.
The reasons for such action are quite dramatic and traumatizing as you can imagine and the back and forth between characters including August and her father are riveting.
What's lesser known is the remorse and regret she feels and the wild emotions as readers go through it all with her.
That connection is quite unique and
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Laura
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh man.

I don't normally write reviews, as I typically use goodreads as a "To Read" list and to keep track of what I actually end up reading.

That being said, I felt like I needed to say something about this one. I was expecting to be triggered by this book, but I wasn't expecting it to have such a therapeutic effect on me. I've struggled with depression since I was 14 years old, and suicidal thoughts are no stranger to me. I needed this book - even at 40 years old. I felt like it helped break
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Creya
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Trigger warning: suicide, domestic violence

This book begins one day after Ellie dies by suicide. In comparison, it was absolutely heavier than Thirteen Reason Why. Written in letters addressed to Death, Momma, and Depression to name a few, this book will have you sobbing before the halfway mark.

Oh, and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE dont skip the Authors Note at the beginning of the book.

Put your hand on your heart. It beats for you.
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Melissa Lebata
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Finished this in 3 hours! I couldn't stop turning the pages. Suicide is always such a hard topic to read about! What brought the person/character to that choice?!?! This book does not glorify suicide but rather reminds the audience to live before you are a breath too late. Parents, always ask questions and be there to listen to the small things so they will also tell you the big things!
;3
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
this do be hitting close to home doe

*MAJOR tw for domestic/physical abuse
Melissa
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, ya
Thank you to Brian Geffen from Holt/Macmillan for providing me with an ARC.

I am left bereft and hollowed out after reading Rocky Callens debut novel. As someone with mental health issues who has survived childhood trauma, Callens writing thrust me back into those uncomfortable close places of my childhood home where I couldnt breathe to the first time I realized the weight within was something called depression. Truthfully, I didnt know thats what it was until I was in my twenties. For, as Rocky
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Tara Weiss
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written with cinematic detail and emotional turmoil that can only be described as elegance against adversity. Ellie's haunting story of abuse urges us to locate beauty in darkness. For anyone who has attempted to navigate the bleak, black cloud of depression, Ellie's story is a travel guide for the dark times, for finding that spark of light that could catch fire or tether you to life. A poetic title hints at the fragile path of existence that can be a rallying cry to push on when a ...more
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Rocky Callen, the daughter of an Ecuadorian immigrant, has long lived a life of service ever since she was a 13-year-old advocating for the undocumented immigrants in her community. She interned at NASA at 12 years old, started lobbying congress at 13, and wrote and produced student radio stories at NPR at 14.

A behavioral therapist for over ten years, she received an MFA from Vermont College of
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