Jennilyn's Reviews > The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath

The Fine Art of Holding Your Breath by Charity Tahmaseb
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Apr 08, 2015

it was amazing
bookshelves: owned-digital, source-giveaway
Read 2 times. Last read April 13, 2015 to April 20, 2015.

***Also posted on RurouniJenniReads***

I received an e-copy of this book from the author as part of the 2015 YA Spring Fling. This did not affect my views.

MacKennna Meyers is a seventeen-year old girl who is part of the swim team in Black Earth High . She was raised by her war veteran father who is still deeply affected by her mother’s death. Her reclusive father did not want to talk anything about her mother making MacKenna long for her even more. MacKenna secretly applied for an ROTC scholarship in her desperate attempt to somehow have a connection with her mother.

Meanwhile in school, her relationship with her bestfriend Nissa is falling apart for some strange reason. And Landon, a boy who left five years ago without any explanation, is back in town and wants to continue what they had from the past.

This book tells a wonderfully woven story of how having secrets destroy relationships. The tagline on the book cover said it aptly, “Secrets , like war, had their own casualties.”

It's really a simple story but the simplicity is mainly the reason why I related to it and enjoyed it thoroughly. The book is told in MacKenna’s point of view and her words and thoughts feel real to me. I can understand when sometimes she thinks that she needs to fly under the radar and be in stealth girl mode. Her longing for her mother and her confusion about her father not talking about it grips me. When MacKenna is being swept off her feet by Landon, I am also beside myself in swooning. Her transformation from the girl who thought at the start of the novel that, “Eveyone had secrets.” into “But the time for secrets are over.” in the end is so well-written.

One of my favorite parts of the book is how MacKenna randomly remembers her father’s opinion on things. Examples of these are:

"Dad on his old clothes: About time they were put to good use."
"Dad on staying late: Mission first, princess."
"Dad on free stuff: Nothing’s ever free, princess. Remember that."

It just shows how MacKenna thinks highly of what her dad might think of her actions. I like how MacKenna's father is not an absentee parent in MacKenna's life despite his depression/trauma.

Another nice touch in the book are the free verse poems on a journal written by MacKenna’s mother. It’s a brilliant way of giving us a glimpse of how MacKenna’s mother was.

I enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend it to readers of the young adult genre.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 8, 2015 – Shelved
April 8, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
April 13, 2015 – Started Reading
April 14, 2015 –
page 40
14.39% "Aww, I like Grandma Adele already."
April 15, 2015 –
page 63
22.66% "The narration of teeny secrets among MacKenna's family (her, her dad, her grandma, even her dead mom) feels so true-to-life."
April 16, 2015 –
page 75
26.98% "I love how MacKenna is always remembering/taking note of her dad's opinions on things. Like on this page: "Dad on soft-sided, canvas covers: Sucks during a Minnesota winter, princess." I am so digging this book but my reading phase is a bit rusty. Ugh, I hate that I'm a slow reader!"
April 18, 2015 –
page 141
50.72% "Chapter 9 is kilig! "
April 19, 2015 –
page 218
78.42% ""nearly forget that all we may ever have is a before."\n \n - what a tragic line. :("
April 20, 2015 – Finished Reading
August 10, 2016 – Shelved as: owned-digital
August 10, 2016 – Shelved as: source-giveaway

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