The Breathless
No one knows what really happened on the beach where Roxanne Cole’s body was found, but her boyfriend, Cage, took off that night and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. One year—almost to the day—from Ro’s death, when he knocks on the door of Blue Gate Manor and asks where she is.Cage has no memory of the past twelve months. According to him, Ro was alive only the day before. Ro’s sister Mae wouldn’t believe him, except that something’s not right. Nothing’s been right in the house since Ro died.And then Mae finds the little green book. The one hidden in Ro’s room. It’s filled with secrets—dangerous secrets—about her family, and about Ro. And if what it says is true, then maybe, just maybe, Ro isn’t lost forever.And maybe there are secrets better left to the dead.

The Breathless Details

TitleThe Breathless
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 10th, 2017
PublisherDelacorte Press
ISBN-139781524714765
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Gothic, Horror

The Breathless Review

  • Elise (thebookishactress on wordpress)
    January 1, 1970
    1.5 stars. I started this trip with seven arcs to read, and this was the last. Ironically, this is also the only one of those arcs I didn't finish. Not only does The Breathless have some... uh... uncomfortably racist bits - we'll get to that later - it also completely fails at being creepy or even interesting. WOW, I HATED THIS MORE THAN I REALIZED?♔ Not suspenseful. There are moments where the book mentions dead horse bones and snake skins and whispering names and yet I was basically just beggi 1.5 stars. I started this trip with seven arcs to read, and this was the last. Ironically, this is also the only one of those arcs I didn't finish. Not only does The Breathless have some... uh... uncomfortably racist bits - we'll get to that later - it also completely fails at being creepy or even interesting. WOW, I HATED THIS MORE THAN I REALIZED?♔ Not suspenseful. There are moments where the book mentions dead horse bones and snake skins and whispering names and yet I was basically just begging it all to end. If you're writing suspense, you need to make your reader feel unsettled. This is not suspense, just horror-movie fodder.♔ Not a single character is compelling. I'm not sure I can name a single solid trait of the protagonist's. A not-very-creepy book can always be remedied with good characters, but none of the characters here are morally ambiguous or intriguing; in fact, none of them have personalities. ♔ The writing style is dull and turns otherwise creepy scenes dull and boring. The changing tenses are probably supposed to be a literary device, but it honestly just feels sloppy. The author uses present tense for flashbacks and past tense for what's happening right now, and it sounds like a cool idea, but it's actually just dissonant and annoying. ♔ The love triangle here is a doozy: dead sister's ex-boyfriend who probably murdered her vs. a guy who had a crush on her sister. Just to make this clear: both of the guys are into her dead sister. Actually, Cage's point of view makes it clear that he's attracted to Mae because she looks like her dead sister. That's so fucking weird and creepy? Why did no editor read that and cross it off with the annotation "what the fuck"?♔ Calling out a book I didn't finish for racism strikes me as vaguely slimy, and I'd like to note that this could have been totally remedied and subverted in the second half of this book. But in the first two hundred pages, The Breathless utilizes the trope of magical slaves who do evil voodoo. It also utilizes a slave/master relationship, this time in the context of American slavery. The relationship isn't totally romanticized by the narrative, but it's not portrayed as negative, either. The whole thing left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It is absolutely possible that this issue is remedied and gets better in the second half. The author's note is telling me this was, in fact, meant to be a jerkoff session to slavery, but maybe I misread? so... uh... don't take my word for it, maybe it got totally fixed, but like. I would not recommend this, based off what I read, to anyone who's made uncomfortable by blatant racism. (So hopefully all my followers?)VERDICT: My thought process reading this was basically bad, bad, messy, racist, bad, bad, bad. It was... not fun. Highly not recommended. (Is that a thing?)Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube
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  • Katie Nelson
    January 1, 1970
    A page turning, gothic mystery!Mae's sister Ro mysteriously died, and life has been hard for her family ever since. Her father is obsessed with finding Cage, her sister's boyfriend who disappeared the night of her death, but comes back almost a year later with no memory of the events. Ro doesn't want to help, but she desperately needs answers and with the help of Cage, and a little green book full of family secrets, she just might uncover the truth.This book was atmospheric and suspenseful and f A page turning, gothic mystery!Mae's sister Ro mysteriously died, and life has been hard for her family ever since. Her father is obsessed with finding Cage, her sister's boyfriend who disappeared the night of her death, but comes back almost a year later with no memory of the events. Ro doesn't want to help, but she desperately needs answers and with the help of Cage, and a little green book full of family secrets, she just might uncover the truth.This book was atmospheric and suspenseful and full of gorgeous writing that made me keep turning pages late into the night. The southern setting felt oppressively hot and dark, but so real. The mystery unfolds skillfully, with a combination of present day and past family secrets, but the real heart of the novel was the strong relationships between the sisters and their fierce love for family. The ending was masterfully done, and as soon as I read it, I went back to the beginning to re-read several parts. It's the kind of book you want to pass to all your friends, just so you can have someone to talk to about the book. I can't wait to see what comes next from this talented author!
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  • Melanie Thompson
    January 1, 1970
    Mae's life changes when her older sister dies mysteriously. Her father is obsessed with finding the boy he believes to be her killer while Mae and her twin sister live in the shadow of Ro's death. The discovery of a secret family journal sends Mae into a dark series of revelations and life-changing events. This Southern Gothic tale twists and turns and ultimately surprises with a page turning thrill. Magic and mystery imbue the pages with a delicious, heart-pounding suspense. YA readers who like Mae's life changes when her older sister dies mysteriously. Her father is obsessed with finding the boy he believes to be her killer while Mae and her twin sister live in the shadow of Ro's death. The discovery of a secret family journal sends Mae into a dark series of revelations and life-changing events. This Southern Gothic tale twists and turns and ultimately surprises with a page turning thrill. Magic and mystery imbue the pages with a delicious, heart-pounding suspense. YA readers who like dark stories will enjoy this story.
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  • Sandra Mather
    January 1, 1970
    This atmospheric Southern tale weaves a mysterious spell where the past lives on and affects the present. The redolence of dark magic hangs as heavily in the air as the fragrance of the coastal waters or the night-blooming jasmine. In the tradition of Anne Rice, this book will enchant you.
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    Obviously I have not read the book yet but I heard about it from those in "the know" and I am eager to read it! I like mysteries and this sounds like an intriguing one with several unexpected twists. Looking forward to its release!
  • Karen McManus
    January 1, 1970
    This is a darkly beautiful book, imbued with echos of the past in its lush Southern setting. Mae Cole is still living in the shadow of her golden sister Ro, almost a year after Ro died. When Ro's former boyfriend knocks on the door of their historic home with no memory of the past year, his return sets off a haunting, magical mystery. I tore through this book, especially as I got toward the end, and I never saw the last few pages coming. Tara Goedjen writes gorgeously and weaves a suspenseful ta This is a darkly beautiful book, imbued with echos of the past in its lush Southern setting. Mae Cole is still living in the shadow of her golden sister Ro, almost a year after Ro died. When Ro's former boyfriend knocks on the door of their historic home with no memory of the past year, his return sets off a haunting, magical mystery. I tore through this book, especially as I got toward the end, and I never saw the last few pages coming. Tara Goedjen writes gorgeously and weaves a suspenseful tale of secrets, obsession, and love.
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  • Caroline Graham
    January 1, 1970
    The Breathless is a gorgeous, atmospheric mystery that skilfully captures the gothic South. Goedjen’s world is rich, dark and full of intrigue and it is populated with characters that are as strange as they are compelling. The book’s central mystery is the death of Roxanne (Ro) Cole and the wake of grief and suspicion she leaves behind, but the narrative reaches so much deeper than this. It explores the boundaries between life and death, the complicated threads that bind a family together and, t The Breathless is a gorgeous, atmospheric mystery that skilfully captures the gothic South. Goedjen’s world is rich, dark and full of intrigue and it is populated with characters that are as strange as they are compelling. The book’s central mystery is the death of Roxanne (Ro) Cole and the wake of grief and suspicion she leaves behind, but the narrative reaches so much deeper than this. It explores the boundaries between life and death, the complicated threads that bind a family together and, through its equal-parts damaged and hopeful characters, what it takes to unearth the past and face the truth. This is a dark, suspenseful narrative that is as smart as it is heartfelt and complex—it’s beautifully written to boot. I loved it!
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  • Amanda Searcy
    January 1, 1970
    Keep the lights on! This story is engrossing, suspenseful, and complex. I loved the setting and how it jumps back and forth between time periods. There are secrets at every turn, and a young woman who is trying to figure it all out while dealing with her grief and helping a friend. A one-sitting read and a great mystery! Perfect for fans of Beautiful Creatures!
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Wow!!! Super fun, atmospheric southern gothic -- where has this been all my life?! Make sure to pick this up when it releases in October!
  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    If I could sum up how I feel about this book in one word it would be: ugggggggggggggghhhhhh. and also, why?I don't even want to go into all the reasons why I didn't like The Breathless but you know what, I'm going to anyway. I don't know if it's because I'm in a reading slump right now, but a lot of things in this book pissed me off to varying degrees. I'll list them in order of least pissed to most pissed:5. The way it changed tenses so often was weird, and it felt less like a cool unique thing If I could sum up how I feel about this book in one word it would be: ugggggggggggggghhhhhh. and also, why?I don't even want to go into all the reasons why I didn't like The Breathless but you know what, I'm going to anyway. I don't know if it's because I'm in a reading slump right now, but a lot of things in this book pissed me off to varying degrees. I'll list them in order of least pissed to most pissed:5. The way it changed tenses so often was weird, and it felt less like a cool unique thing and more like the editor hadn't noticed the mistakes. I noticed it enough for it to turn me off on this book pretty early. 4. It wasn't scary at all. I personally think it's quite difficult to write a high-quality horror novel and this one didn't make the cut. If anyone is reading this and is left wanting more in the scariness factor, I would definitely recommend Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine instead. 3. The characters. Where do I start. "Her green eyes have a hint of gold, and she is a pretty thing." what who why. The main character was an angsty Mary Sue. I really wanted to feel sad that her sister died, but the book did nothing to elicit a sympathetic response from the reader.2. The love triangle was just...really weird. Both of the guys were still obsessed with her dead sister, and I guess they thought if they couldn't have her they would settle for her little sister instead? But the thing that irked me the most about it is that Mae was totally fine with that?! Maybe I just didn't read enough of it but half the time I was annoyed by it and the other half I was like "girl! love yourself!!"1. The thing that pissed me off the most in this freaking book is the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle,) racism. I made the mistake of reading the editor's note before I started the book, and learned that this rich white family lives in a family plantation home in the deep South. Not only that, the entire note had a "heritage not hate" vibe. That made me want to already not read it, but I decided to give it a go anyway because, hey, maybe that was just the editor. It wasn't. The Breathless reminded me of The Crucible, but not in a good way. There was voodoo and it just rubbed me the wrong way in a fashion I can't explain because I'm not good at words. But, the point is there was very little diversity in this book, and the actions of the questionable/problematic protagonists were never addressed or challenged in any way. I usually don't write lengthy reviews for books I don't like, but I have spent too much of my life unaware of my own privilege to let prejudicial books like this fly under the radar, unchallenged. So, yeah. I would not recommend this book to anyone, really. There are so many better horror books out there with better diversity, better characters, better everything.
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  • Eve Recinella (Between The Bookends)
    January 1, 1970
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I got an ARC back in the end of April at a book festival. I was instantly excited because I love books that take place in the south and deal with the creepy magical history. This book did not let me down. The setting of Blue Gate was perfect for this kind of story. I loved the storyline and the ending. The only downside was some of it was predictable.
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  • Shady Cosgrove
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED this book. I'm not usually a young adult reader but the pacing and characterisation was just great. The gothic setting was haunting and with all of the twists and turns I found myself rushing through my day to get back to reading. I'd DEFINITELY recommend this. Read it!
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  • Susan Sherman
    January 1, 1970
    Lock your doors. Turn off your phone. For heaven’s sake don’t start this book late at night. You’ll be up ‘til dawn. Tara Goedjen’s debut novel The Breathless is bound to keep you in that state. It has everything: a crumbling mansion deep in the Alabama woods; a tragic death haunting this family; a mystery itching to be solved; a book of spells; a witch or two, and even an old man in the attic who knows a lot, but can’t speak. In Goedjen’s capable hands we move deftly from Mae Cole, a complicate Lock your doors. Turn off your phone. For heaven’s sake don’t start this book late at night. You’ll be up ‘til dawn. Tara Goedjen’s debut novel The Breathless is bound to keep you in that state. It has everything: a crumbling mansion deep in the Alabama woods; a tragic death haunting this family; a mystery itching to be solved; a book of spells; a witch or two, and even an old man in the attic who knows a lot, but can’t speak. In Goedjen’s capable hands we move deftly from Mae Cole, a complicated protagonist struggling to come to terms with her sister’s Roxanne’s death, to Cage Shaw, Roxanne’s boyfriend, accused of her death, to a trek back in time to the dark beginnings of the Cole family and the mystery that haunts their family seat at Blue Gate. With its gothic tone, engaging characters and deft pacing, this debut novel displays a new talent bound to thrill and entertain us for many books to come. I look forward to them all.
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  • Shelly King
    January 1, 1970
    Don't you just love a book with a dark family secret? I do! This book is full of atmosphere, plot twists, and characters who pull at your heart. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and wanting more. Read it. Just read it.
  • Charles
    January 1, 1970
    The thrills unfurl with delicious languor right from the first page of Tara Goedjen’s debut novel, The Breathless.Tara draws on her teenage years in Alabama to conjure a murder-thriller infused with the miasma and mystery of the Deep South.The tragic and unexplained death of teen Roxanne Cole, discovered on a beach one year ago, still baffles the community and her grieving family.Most assume that her boyfriend, long since vanished, committed the crime.Yet when Cage turns up to Blue Gate Manor lo The thrills unfurl with delicious languor right from the first page of Tara Goedjen’s debut novel, The Breathless.Tara draws on her teenage years in Alabama to conjure a murder-thriller infused with the miasma and mystery of the Deep South.The tragic and unexplained death of teen Roxanne Cole, discovered on a beach one year ago, still baffles the community and her grieving family.Most assume that her boyfriend, long since vanished, committed the crime.Yet when Cage turns up to Blue Gate Manor looking for her, with no memory of the past 12 months, it sets off a riveting, spellbinding gothic turn of events that stretch across generations.Cage teams up with Ro’s sister Mae to unravel what really happened on that beach – as well as parse the secrets of Roxanne’s little green book.Why was Ro obsessed with something called “the Raising Ritual”? What is her grandfather hiding? And will Mae and Cage discover that the quickest way to get over something is to have something even worse happen?Once you’re engrossed in the mystery you won’t be able to put The Breathless down. Great plot, great characters, great dialogue – Goedjen nails it all.For my money, The Breathless is just as readable for Young Adults as it is for adults at large.Love the cover too!Can’t wait for more for this exciting new writer.
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  • Jen Ryland
    January 1, 1970
    The Breathless is interesting and atmospheric. It's not an in-your-face, page-turning kind of book, but the kind of book that slowly weaves its spell over you.Mae's sister Ro died almost a year ago and everyone thinks that Ro's boyfriend, Cage, killed her. But things aren't that simple. Mae finds a little green book that belonged to her sister and begins to unravel a twisted tale of family secrets that goes back generations.I love all things Gothic and I'd call this Southern Gothic. This book wa The Breathless is interesting and atmospheric. It's not an in-your-face, page-turning kind of book, but the kind of book that slowly weaves its spell over you.Mae's sister Ro died almost a year ago and everyone thinks that Ro's boyfriend, Cage, killed her. But things aren't that simple. Mae finds a little green book that belonged to her sister and begins to unravel a twisted tale of family secrets that goes back generations.I love all things Gothic and I'd call this Southern Gothic. This book was creepy and atmospheric! You'll need some patience for this one but I think the payoff is ultimately worth it!Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com or check out my Bookstagram!I received a free advance copy of this book from the publisher for possible review.
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  • Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
    January 1, 1970
    You can find this review and others on my blog http://www.shades0fpaper.wordpress.com “But a single flame is not enough to hold back the world’s darkness. […] Though when a light goes out, it can be raised again. You just need a book that is like a box of matches.” Okay, this was a roller coaster of a book. The Breathless was one of my most anticipated books of this year (I know I have a TON of anticipated books), so I was beyond happy when I got an ARC of it and picked it up. I completely forg You can find this review and others on my blog http://www.shades0fpaper.wordpress.com “But a single flame is not enough to hold back the world’s darkness. […] Though when a light goes out, it can be raised again. You just need a book that is like a box of matches.” Okay, this was a roller coaster of a book. The Breathless was one of my most anticipated books of this year (I know I have a TON of anticipated books), so I was beyond happy when I got an ARC of it and picked it up. I completely forgot about the synopsis by the time I recieved the ARC, I just only knew that it was like a mystery/paranormal book. Now I’m a chicken when it comes to horror. I don’t like it. I get so paranoid it’s not healthy so when I started the story, I was scared, guys. Because it seemed like horror to me.Fortunately, it wasn’t. Or at least it didn’t scare the hell out of me. It was creepy, don’t get me wrong, and there were times when it was a bit scary, but nothing that made me DNFed it. It was more the atmosphere and the setting, I think. So I would say if you’re like me and want to read it but are nervous that maybe this book is going to be to scary, don’t panic, It’s not. It’s more mystery than horror. Which was perfect to me. “Neither girl realizes the life is both good and bad, dark and light… the way it has been since the beginning of time. Neither of them can see the shadows swirling around them, hovering close, because shadows are drawn to the light.” Saying that I was confused while reading this book was an understatement. I didn’t know what was going on, or what those characters had to do with the story, It had three POVs, two of them set in present time and told by Mae and Cage, Ro’s sister and boyfriend, and the other was set in 1958 and was told by Grady Cole I. So yeah, I was hella confused and didn’t know the connection between those characters or why I was reading from a perspective that wasn’t in the present time. But… I kinda liked being that confused. Because I got to know all the whys.I had mixed feelings about those characters, tho. I really liked that our protagonist, Mae was an artist and loved to draw. I don’t usually read stories about artists, so I didd enjoy it so much and I empathised more with her. I would have loved to see more scenes of Mae creating or drawing, but I guess it’s a personal preference.I’m still not sure what to think about the other characters. I liked the part that happened in the past, because I feel I got to see more about the roots of that family and the problems they had (their lives were a drama show, let me tell you), but Cage was such a weird character I still don’t know if I like him or not. There were certain scenes that occured that made me cringe and not in a good way. They made no sense to me (well, maybe they do now) and it was a turn off to me. “She wasn’t a girl who touched or let you touch her. Like an animal that way, like water that slipped through your fingers.” I really liked the ending. It was a bit twisted and dark, but still it was a happy one, given the nature of the story. It was different, and a bit unexpected. There was something I would’ve liked to have an answer to, though. It was something not really important or meaningful to the story, but I still would have liked to know the why.Overall I found it quite fast and addicting, maybe because of the mystery fact that the story had. I, of couse predicted a couple of things before they actually happened (I’m not surprised), but still I had a good time and enjoyed the Halloween-y atmosphere and the plot. And all that family drama.Actual ranting: 3.75 ⭐️
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 16%It was just so mehhhhhhhh. I honestly wish that I had more to say, but all I have is that I bored. It seemed intriguing, but the moment that 3 different points of view were introduced within the first three chapters, I was just not as interested since there were so many storylines going on. I couldn't find myself intrigued to even read the pages other than to flip to find if I could find something more interesting. Again, nothing really wrong with this other than I was completely bored. DNF @ 16%It was just so mehhhhhhhh. I honestly wish that I had more to say, but all I have is that I bored. It seemed intriguing, but the moment that 3 different points of view were introduced within the first three chapters, I was just not as interested since there were so many storylines going on. I couldn't find myself intrigued to even read the pages other than to flip to find if I could find something more interesting. Again, nothing really wrong with this other than I was completely bored.No crowns because it's a DNF and a Snow White rating.
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  • April D
    January 1, 1970
    A potent debut novel that left me craving more. Full of mystery and shadowy suspense, I found myself unable to put the book down as the hidden heirlooms and buried memories subtly surface. As the plot unfolds, back and forth between parallel histories, answers to long forgotten family secrets are revealed, but not so glaring as to underestimate the imagination of the reader. Days after finishing, my curiosity lingers...
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  • Joel
    January 1, 1970
    This was such an enjoyable read. The dark, twisted southern gothic atmosphere is layered with contemporary touches and real people problems - an alcoholic father, a grandfather dealing with a stroke, sisters growing apart. It's also a meditation on grief and loss and the meaning of death. But more than any of that it's just a fun read. The plot was extremely twisty. I'm usually pretty good at predicting the endings of books, but this kept me guessing almost until the last page, and I'm still thi This was such an enjoyable read. The dark, twisted southern gothic atmosphere is layered with contemporary touches and real people problems - an alcoholic father, a grandfather dealing with a stroke, sisters growing apart. It's also a meditation on grief and loss and the meaning of death. But more than any of that it's just a fun read. The plot was extremely twisty. I'm usually pretty good at predicting the endings of books, but this kept me guessing almost until the last page, and I'm still thinking through some of the twists days later. Highly recommend giving it a read if it even slightly sounds like your cup of tea.
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  • Kathy Martin
    January 1, 1970
    I abandoned this book at 58%. I was confused about what was happening and didn't connect with any of the characters.
  • Michelle Cameron
    January 1, 1970
    This was beautifully written, super atmospheric and full of gothic mystery. It kept me guessing until the very last page! Like the best gothic books, the dead characters are just as alive as the others.
  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this book! It was a perfect summer thriller to read late into the night. I finished it in a matter of days, and toward the end, couldn't put it down (literally carrying it with me in case I had a minute or two to read throughout the day!). I could so vividly see the scenery—the muggy forest, the creaky old house, the dusty barn... really enjoyed the Southern Gothic vibe.
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    Roxanne Cole's death has been extremely hard on her sisters Mae and Elle. They can't get over their grief and no one really knows what happened the night of her death. Her boyfriend Cage, ran off that night and hasn't been seen since. Almost a year later, Mae answers the knock on the door to find Cage standing there. Where is Roxanne he asks? He has no memory of that night and Mae isn't sure she believes him. Something is not right! Get ready for a strange tale. Lots of interesting characters, f Roxanne Cole's death has been extremely hard on her sisters Mae and Elle. They can't get over their grief and no one really knows what happened the night of her death. Her boyfriend Cage, ran off that night and hasn't been seen since. Almost a year later, Mae answers the knock on the door to find Cage standing there. Where is Roxanne he asks? He has no memory of that night and Mae isn't sure she believes him. Something is not right! Get ready for a strange tale. Lots of interesting characters, full of suspense, haunting and downright creepy. This is the author's debut novel and she's off to a great start. A page turner for sure. I received the book for free through Goodreads First reads.
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  • Anna Priemaza
    January 1, 1970
    A boy who can't remember if he's a murderer. A deer that drips blood through the woods. A blond-haired girl who keeps showing up and whispering of secrets. A century-old book full of forbidden magic. A reader's heart that pounds and pounds and pounds as the pages turn faster and faster and faster. The twists.The darkness.The fear.Holy crap, what a book.
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  • Stephanie Ward
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars'The Breathless' was another book that I'd been dying to read and ended up falling a bit short. Don't get me wrong - I loved almost everything about the novel. There were just a couple aspects that left me wanting more and it never came. But I'll explain that below. Just know that these are solely my issues and opinions - they don't have anything to do with the book itself. I'll break down the major aspects that stood out to me:Plot: The plot for this book was dark, twisty, and had SO m 3.5 Stars'The Breathless' was another book that I'd been dying to read and ended up falling a bit short. Don't get me wrong - I loved almost everything about the novel. There were just a couple aspects that left me wanting more and it never came. But I'll explain that below. Just know that these are solely my issues and opinions - they don't have anything to do with the book itself. I'll break down the major aspects that stood out to me:Plot: The plot for this book was dark, twisty, and had SO much potential. After reading the description, I knew I had to read it. But then once I started getting into the story, it just got better and better. There are so many fantastic ideas: magic (dark magic at that), possible necromancy, hidden rooms and loads of family secrets that went back generations. I was fully sucked in from the very beginning and I easily slipped into the world the author created. Like I said, the plot had so much potential and could have got in so many different ways. But what really bugged me were the questions left unanswered and a lot of things never fully explained. I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so I can't go into much detail. But the ending (epilogue) wasn't a huge surprise to me - there was quite a bit of foreshadowing and hints throughout the book, but it left gaping questions of who had done it, how and when had this happened, and why had it been done? Just explaining that part would have given me a lot of closure instead of ending with a feeling of being unfinished. Several other parts of the story, which some other readers might not care about, left me wondering as well. Especially parts about what happened in the past. What happened to these people we learn about? What about the cryptic drawings and "equations" in the book that were always being referred to? I thought for sure those would be explained and would help answer questions in the story line - but they weren't at all. Maybe that was to let the reader form their own conclusions and ideas? I don't know, but I personally wanted the gaps filled in so I could finish the book with the satisfaction that it had all been told. Sadly, that didn't happen for me. If these things would've been included, then I would have adored this novel and given it a much higher rating. Because I honestly loved everything else about it - but these holes left me wanting answers.Characters: The characters were all pretty well written, especially Mae. We get to know her the best. We also get to know Cage pretty well, and even Ro on some level. The other secondary characters were pretty two dimensional and had minimal defining traits and characteristics. But that didn't bother me a whole lot because they weren't the focus of the story.Writing Style: Here's another huge point for me when it comes to reading a book. Writing style can easily make or break a book for me. The author chose an interesting style when writing this novel. The story is written, in the majority, in the third person. Usually from Mae's point of view, but sometimes from Cage's. There were sections from the past mixed in that told the story of a young man named Grady - one of the first family members to live and grow up in Blue Gate Manor. Those parts help to give the reader a history of the family, the house, and the magic surrounding it all. I really loved reading these parts of the book and I think it gave the story a little something extra and different. Lastly, there were a few little parts that we written in the first person point of view, but almost always refers to a "we" instead of a singular person - and we never learn who these narrators are. That was another part of the story that bugged me. Those sections were fascinating and would've been a fantastic addition to the story - if only we were told who was speaking. Were they ghosts? Spirits from another realm? Again, I believe if this was revealed during the book, then I would've understood it much better and loved it more.Overall, this was a fantastic YA gothic paranormal novel that is definitely worth the read. Although I had some issues with it, I did really enjoy reading it and recommend it to fans of paranormal, gothic fiction, fantasy, and even horror.Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • ☘Tara Sheehan☘
    January 1, 1970
    If you like stories that are dark, twisty, suspenseful, and full of gothic style plot lines with the kind of intrigue that drops the temperature around you just enough to make you feel a little jumpy then this is the book for you. Goedjen delivers a complex tale full of secrets with beautifully detailed settings and a smooth way of switching the story between different time periods as you journey into the family lore.Her richly detailed world is haunted with compelling, unique characters that he If you like stories that are dark, twisty, suspenseful, and full of gothic style plot lines with the kind of intrigue that drops the temperature around you just enough to make you feel a little jumpy then this is the book for you. Goedjen delivers a complex tale full of secrets with beautifully detailed settings and a smooth way of switching the story between different time periods as you journey into the family lore.Her richly detailed world is haunted with compelling, unique characters that help push the mystery surrounding the death of Roxanne to become more than just another simple plot device. We can feel the pain as the characters are left reeling to discover the truth and deal with their grief in the process. I had friends going to see the new version of It this past weekend but I couldn’t make it and decided to settle in with this instead; by the time I was done I didn’t feel cheated out of missing a creepy, horrific time at all. I’m running on only a couple of hours of sleep as I was up until almost 2a needing to finish this and jumping at every weird sound I never realized my home makes that late. How could I not get into that goosebumps kind of mood when presented with a story that includes tragedy, death, creepy mysteries, magic, crumbling architecture and the Deep South all elements from the perfect Horror movie.Life and death, the ties that bind family and friends in this life and the next are all examined through the lens of her realistic creations. Despite the prevailing darkness of the story she still managed to piece together some beautiful writing that will capture your attention and make you want to read this cover to cover in one sitting.
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  • Jessica Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    One of the best debut novels I’ve ever read! THE BREATHLESS is a complicated tale exploring sisters, family, and loving those who hurt us the most. The non-linear storytelling kept me flipping pages as both storylines were equally compelling. Set in a crumbling mansion deep in the woods of Alabama, the setting is beautiful and at the same time truly frightening. Mae is a strong character and Cage is a dreamy love interest. The suspense had me reading late into the night - with all the lights on. One of the best debut novels I’ve ever read! THE BREATHLESS is a complicated tale exploring sisters, family, and loving those who hurt us the most. The non-linear storytelling kept me flipping pages as both storylines were equally compelling. Set in a crumbling mansion deep in the woods of Alabama, the setting is beautiful and at the same time truly frightening. Mae is a strong character and Cage is a dreamy love interest. The suspense had me reading late into the night - with all the lights on. I love an atmospheric gothic mystery and this gorgeous debut delivers on everything it promises!
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    There was a point in the middle where the story started to pick up and get interesting but then it all fell apart again by the end. It was pretty easy to guess who the "bad guy" was going to be from the beginning but then the author kind of excused all of his actions in 2 sentences and it was all solved way too quickly. I don't feel like there's any kind of real closure or even a point to the story.
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