Saturday, 27 February 2016

Review : Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

You won't be able to put it down.
Just remember to breathe.

Published by : Corvus
7 January 2016
Copy : Hardback - Reviewer purchased
The Blurb
Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she's cut herself off from everything but her one true love drink. Until she's forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy. Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park not far from her house. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She's as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands. Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma...
The Very Pink Notebook Review
I found this debut novel from Holly Seddon a thoroughly enjoyable read.  The writing flows easily and on the whole I liked the pacing of the story.  The narration is split (chapter by chapter) between Alex and Amy and the story of 'what happened to Amy' reveals itself in both present and past tense accounts. 
I guessed 'who done it' quite early on and from speaking to other friends who have read it, so did they, however, we all agreed that did not spoil the book, as the 'guess who?' element is only part of the plot, rather than the all. 
For me, I was just as intrigued and interested, if not more, in Alex's character than what happened to Amy.  I would happily read a whole novel about the life of Alex, I wanted to know more about her history - Holly I need a prequel!  I thought the way Alex's alcohol addiction was depicted, so measured and accepted, was sad but quite fascinating.  Alex has lost control of her own life, her health is suffering, she seems incapable of helping herself, yet when she meets Amy, locked in a coma and unable to fight for herself, Alex discovers the determination to try and help Amy which makes you realise maybe Alex hasn't given up after all. 
The story looks at the devastation and subsequent aftermath a tragedy will bring.  From how Amy's parents cope, to her boyfriend at the time - Jacob - and his search for closure, and the friends who were left behind, some scratching their head wondering if they ever really knew Amy and some feeling guilty for knowing too much.
Overall, I found this book to be well researched, structured and thought-provoking.  Being a teenager in the 90's myself I loved all the nostalgic references to music and trends and the closing chapter moved me no end.  I felt well and truly satisfied as I closed the book, no mean feat!
A great debut novel, and I am looking forward to reading more from Holly Seddon.
As such, I give this book... four pink notebooks :

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