Shouting From The Inside: A Review of Holly Seddon’s Try Not to Breathe




Try Not to Breathe is creepy in a realistic way. Although the story line concerns events in the past for Amy, the victim beaten and left to die, it is a crime that occurs all too often. Seddon to this reader shows why it is important for today’s teenagers not to grow up too fast, what can happen when youthful “bets” or challenges go awry. For this reason, and though there are parts that would not interest teens, I would recommend that more sophisticated youths read Try Not to Breathe.

Try Not to Breathe is also a story of addiction, how it breaks down a person and what it takes for that individual to take back control, even if it is baby steps, of their life, and what that actually means, in terms of what you cannot get back. Alex is lucky in a sense; she gets a second chance at a lot. Many never get to see the other side of addiction.

Try Not to Breathe is also a story of how a mother’s love for her child clouds her judgment, her perspective. It is the sin of thinking little so-and-so could not possibly do what others say he has done. It is not realizing that you can never fully understand what drives a person, what makes them tick, what makes them act, and ultimately what they are capable of. It is making your family, your other children pay the price for your willful blindness. It is about not stopping others from becoming victims in the future. And, ultimately, your so-and-so pays the price, a price that he or she might not have to had paid if the rose-colored glasses had been removed.

Holly Seddon is a gifted writer of realistic contemporary fiction that transcends the line between adult fiction, YA, mystery, and crime fiction. The beginning was a bit hard to get into, a bit disjointed for me but once I got used to the characters’ voices, the story flowed. I did not feel that any part should have been left out; Seddon’s wrap-up/fix of Jacob and Fonda’s marital difficulties worked. The one thing I will say is that I kind of always knew the identity of Amy’s attacker, in spite of all of the red herrings or “usual” suspects, though that part is essential to show how investigative journalism arrives at a newsworthy story. All in all, a great piece of fiction.


***Copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.