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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  3,456 ratings  ·  467 reviews
When Katie Kitrell is shipped off to boarding school, it doesn't take her long to become part of the It Crowd. She's smart, she's cute, and she's a swimming prodigy who has a first-class ticket to any Ivy League school of her choice. But what her new friends, roommate, and boyfriend don't know is that Katie is swimming away from the secrets of her past, and from the schizo ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Walker Childrens (first published August 18th 2009)
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Abigail The main character of Breathless is Katie Kitrell.

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Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,456 ratings  ·  467 reviews

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Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites-2012
Raw, realistic and subject matters out of the norm, from the jock christian boy refusing to have sex to the psychotically insane brother who kills cats without really thinking of the consequences.

Katie, the main character, is the flower that rose from the pot of dirt. Her family, once poor, is now well off, she's good looking, good at swimming and destined for an Ivy league school.

Breathless doesnt have a central plot to summarize with, but if i had to, I'd go with the fact that Katie gets sen
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was an okay read, but it felt longer than what it was.
It was slightly boring in the beginning, and was quite confusing throughout.
The confusion was mainly due to the time changes. One minute Katie would be in the boarding school, and the next she was back at home. There wasn't any mention on how long had passed. The only dates that were mentioned was Christmas and Halloween.

There was a few parts that focused on schizophrenia, but the majority of it was more about Katie's life at boarding s
Apr 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
3 stars.

This book was surprisingly good! I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but this book is a raw and real portrait of mental illness and how that affects a whole family. It did not shy away from the consequences of the protagonist's brother's mental illness, which I appreciated. In many contemporary YAs (even adult books), authors shy away from exposing what real families go through when one of their own has a devastating mental illness. As Katie is shipped off to a boarding school, she
Mar 07, 2010 rated it really liked it

Throughout much of this book, I found myself to have mixed feelings about it. At times, I was bored and other times I was interested and other times I just wanted to smack several of the characters- but the last little bit of the book pulled everything together pretty nicely.

Will's part in this story was certainly the most emotional- the toll on his family because of his mental illness was hard to read, especially because of how young it all started for him. Watching how innocent he was despite
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I got this book from Thriftbooks when they gave me a discount code for my birthday, I was like “hey they gave me a code I can’t miss this opportunity” and decided to buy 2 books-one of them was this one. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like it or anything and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have started reading it but the books on my bookshelf kept falling down without this one so yeah.

“I’m not mean, I’m honest. Nobody is ever straightforward. But sometimes people need to hear the truth.”

Like I said,
Sep 12, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was different for me, but I liked it. The story was unique and I like some crazy when I read so it was good for me.
Feb 28, 2011 rated it liked it
This was a realistic story overall, and a good portrayal of a dysfunctional family. Katie's family is falling apart, especially her older brother. Her dad is a psychiatrist who works all the time, and her mother is an alcoholic. Her brother is diagnosed as schizophrenic, and as the story continues, his mental illness grows. Her parents send her to boarding school as a result, where she begins as a sophomore. In order to fit in, she tells everyone at the school "an untruth," and they conclude tha ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was hard to put down and very entertaining. The beginning is boring, like most books but when I made it past that part I loved it!
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Grade: B

Champion swimmer Katie is sent to boarding school after her older brother's latest schizophrenic episode. For the first time she's popular and has a boyfriend, Drew, though she's closest to roommate Mazzie.

Katie first person narration seemed authentic and I could read for hours at a time without a break. I like Jessica Warman's writing style. She mixes great dialogue, description and plot and BREATHLESS has great voice.

Katie was perfectly imperfect, with a good heart but not always the
Alina Jimenez
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, it contains a various amount of elements such as tone, imagery and conflict (internal and external). I really liked how the author used different types of tones for certain characters in oder to identify them. For example Katie's roommate Mazzie is very sarcastic, and because the other used that type of tone it was easy to imagine how Mazzie is or how she is talking. Tone was also part of the imagery element that the author used, because with the tone of the character ...more
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: youngadult
Waffled between bored, interested, outraged, then back again. Main character is screwed up because of her parent's poor parenting and her mental brother, but I had trouble sympathizing. Once she got into the boarding school, I started becoming more interested, until I got slapped in the face a couple of times by the author's ridiculous portrayal of virgin Christian guys. Not to say that what was portrayed in the book couldn't be true....but I've always found Christians to be either a lot more su ...more
Dec 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was such an uneven read for me. I didn't care for any of the characters and over the course of the entire story, never found sympathy for any of them. I thought that the time changes/years were very sporadic and made the reading sloppy for me. I felt like the book had a lot of build up for very little action, and what happens was just not exciting. I think this might be a hard sell because it requires being okay with a lot of ambiguity -- the scenes and people keep changing and there is not ...more
Aisyah ♡
May 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
Hopelessly boring, maybe I should just quit reading YA novel set in snobbish boarding schools...
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is excellent but I did cry.
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: Purchased on kindle from
15-year-old Katie hasn’t seen her brother (Will) in months, not since the beginning of his latest stint in a psych unit, but now that he’s home, they’re back to their old tricks; namely sitting on the roof of their house smoking.

Will has drug-induced schizophrenia, and every so often he comes off his meds and ends up back on the psych ward, not that this stops his from smoking weed all the time.

After Will attempts suicide, Katie’s parents decide tha
Jun 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Katie Kitrell's life is going down the tubes. Her brother has finally done something so bad that not even Katie can escape from it. The only thing her parents can think to do is to ship her off to some unheard of boarding school.

Once there, things don't seem to bad. Katie fits right in with the popular crowd and boy are there some cute guys there, especially Drew. Everything seems just great for Katie and how can she possible ruin that by telling them about her brother? So, she doesn't. Instead
E. Anderson
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This elegantly written story chronicles the high school years of Katie Kitrell, a swimming prodigy who is sent away to boarding school when her schizophrenic brother, Will, becomes violent. At first she resents her parents, but soon she is relieved to be a part of a world that doesn't know about Will and his outbursts. It's not long before she is telling people he is dead. Shedding her past and embracing new friends, and even a new boyfriend, Katie finds herself keeping up in the competitive rea ...more
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teens-and-adults
In this story, a girl has a brother who is insane so her wealthy parents send her to a boarding school where she makes friends. The book is not really that much about her brother--It is more about the girl growing up and finding her place in life.

One thing: I think the author should have revealed Mazzie's big secret. It is a book so it is supposed to be full of twists and turns and suprises. I kept trying to guess what the big secret was and then I knew she was about to reveal it--what a letdow
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So at first I literally just pulled this book off the shelf at the library because I had nothing to read. I had no idea how much I would love it. As I was reading the book, i was so into it that without realizing it, I was comparing real people and events to those in the book. I admit, Breathless did have its flaws, but I would still rate it five stars without a doubt.
Sami W
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was kind of hard to comprehend in some spots, but otherwise it was very well written and the author did a very good job of picking and choosing what she all wanted to put in this book.
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Jessica Warman's Breathless is a book about a girl named Katie Kitrell. She is an amazing swimmer, smart, pretty, and what every girl wants to be, but after her schizophrenic brother tries to kill himself, her parents send her off to boarding school where she tries to fit in with the other girls. There are many things that I both loved and what I wasn't exactly a fan of. Jessica Warman is a really good writer (I read her book Between) and she is really talented at using imagery to capture scenes ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book took me a while to get into. Some parts were very boring. I enjoyed reading about the main character's experiences at her new school and how they clashed with her outside life. Family issues made it difficult to try and make friends/blend in. Overall, it was an okay book.
Eva Salvatore Holland
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was amazing. It was more realistic than most books I read. I would recommend to people who like romance, a little mystery. Katie is showed as a teenager. Not some fake perfect life teenager. A teenager with struggles and fire. Loved it!
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked this book because it was about a girl having her own personal problems and how she gets through it.
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lizzie by: Secret santa present from Lindsay!
I almost added the similar-appearing Lurlene McDaniel book to Goodreads by mistake. Wonh.

What I liked most about this one was its upfront handling of feelings coming from a painful personal history, and how difficult it is to move on from. Having pain in where you come from is treated here like it is its own conflict, as you try to move on with your life. Katie's home life, and her bond with her mentally ill brother, is established in the beginning before she's sent to a boarding school, and we
To a certain extent, I honestly don't know how I feel about this book. Part of me loved the brutal reality and honesty and part of me was just intensely overwhelmed because while I understood the actions of the characters, they were put in situations I found I had a difficult time empathizing with. I would ask myself: If this were me and my brother was criminally insane, what would I do? What kind of strength or weakness would over-take me if I had to face what Kaite had?

Most of the time, my
Aug 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary-ya
Prior to reading this book, let me just say that I did not know anything about it. I hadn't heard about it from any of the many book blogs I frequent or the book vloggers that I watch. I came upon it while scanning the YA section of my local library. The cover was interesting and the synopsis seemed promising so I picked it up. And let me say, I was definitely glad that I did.

The story is about a girl named Katie Kitrell who, in the beginning, is trying to cope with a mentally unstable/ill broth
Melissa (i swim for oceans)
Breathless is the story of teenage Katie, a talented swimmer with the world at her feet, but she's hiding a dark secret and a painful past. Her older brother, whom she loves more than anything, is schizophrenic, and his disease is slowly consuming every inch of love and care he had for his family – especially his little sister. Katie discovers it's easier to lie about the past and pretend that everything is fine, her home life is normal, and there's no dark secrets hiding under her bed. The prob ...more
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it
This story is about a girl named Katie Kitrell. Katie lives with her family and her brother Will (who is schizophrenic). She had a good life when she was little until she was about nine years old, when her father got a new job. Once he got a new job he never came home and Katie didn't get to see him at all, she started calling him " The Ghost" since she never saw him. Katie had a tendency to not do what her parents say and actually do the opposite. They never let her have any fun or do anything ...more
Lissie Emm
I absolutly loved this book, from the first page to the last. i started reading this book at eight pm, and i finished it at about 2 in the morning. I loved how the author made sure there weren't any unnecessary characters; everyone mentioned was there for a reason. My favorite character was Drew. Funny, beautiful Drew. He made the book soo much better with those comments of his like in his car when he declared, "Katie, I'm ready for you to start giving me blow jobs" or when Katie tried to reassu ...more
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Jessica Warman is the author of Breathless, which received three starred reviews and was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and Where the Truth Lies. The idea for Between came from an incident in her childhood, when a local boy went missing after a party on a yacht (he was eventually found, alive).

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